Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 24, December 2012—Trans / Queer Issue)

Ariel Goldberg
The Captive Audience

Through the Veins of a Dry Fountain

I've been walking through spider webs accidentally, undercover inside a question.

The knife sharpener is coming down the street and it worries me.

How do they ever make enough money?

They make money off people running out of their houses with knives.

The knife sharpener’s truck reads grinding service: scissors, gardening tools, and lawn mowers.

I want people to stand up, face me, and accuse me of things.

The grates of the stove might as well be the central gap of my harness when fully crusted.

I read a headline that said they now have neutral footage as if that could be such a thing.

I sprayed stain remover on my white jeans after I dripped bean juice on them out of hunger.

I had forgotten I was still wearing the pants and the chemicals seeped on to my leg and burned.

Drawers of old pens haunt me.

Drawers of old pens are in most homes as a motley arrangement of the discarded, free, and inexpensive.

The things you don't throw out turn in to judgmental storage loops.

I listen to my parents end the Mourners Kaddish early, instead of mumbling through forgotten lines.

I took a bath without a stopper by squashing a tupperware lid over the drain with the heel of my foot.

I don't understand the trashcans that use a metal net pattern.

The construction wants deposits to leak out in a permanent sludge.

A single flip-flop, tissues on stilts, melting soft serve, dental floss as a fang over the edge.

Whoever it is to blame, the morning still inherits a concoction of bad breath.

I point to dog shit that is exceptionally large or mushy as if to proclaim the best sculpture in the show.

A band-aid that slipped off at the bank teller counter, customer side, remains an attraction.

I invent news.

I watch a backpack splayed open as if it woke up from surgery and had to run for the train, deciding to risk the experience of all spilling out.

I could also describe human desperation.

I was surrounded by people cutting their nails, but they didn’t try to collect the curved hard matter.

They were letting it go like the spit from a performer’s vowels because that is part of the training.

To see the hair hanging off the brush when the brush isn't in sight is the new magic trick.

I pretend to swallow an eyeball by making the impression of an oval on my cheek with the point of my tongue.

I learn of a character who gets their picture taken every payday as a ritual in a different time.

This is the difficulty of shuffling thick long cards.

I cut the deck but the two stacks are just bent and flapping until I shove them together.

To see someone wave and then not know who they are waving to.

I shrug because I’m in public. I don’t need to know.

I saw someone wearing a neck pillow walking down the street like their nap was a portable throne.

I find globs of dog shit flattened as if the trail was meant to be adult hopscotch stepped on perfectly.

I learn the spelling of tear doesn't shift letters with different meanings and this feels remedial.

I grow strong by taking a multi-vitamin after it’s hung out in my pocket with coins that almost make a dollar.

I’ve travelled to a party with an overripe melon dripping out of its peel in a baby carriage.

I come with the props of unfurling electrical wire you can bite on, unlike the tongue, chewable to the point of degradation.

I hear it’s good practice to take a picture of a doorknob before you take it apart.

An umbrella left at home or an umbrella turned upside down or an umbrella thrown in the garbage can.

Gum deposited in an empty water bottle becomes a display case for the brain.

I am waiting for the picture to be submitted to a machine so it can tell us the word for the picture.

For example: What's the name of that tree?

A scrap of paper falls out of a book and scares me like when the door slams shut from a draft.

It’s not really a ghost.

I yell at the drops of water that fall from the sockets of the ice tray to the floor.

The numbers for the buildings don’t seem to be written on the exterior when it’s a major avenue.

The security guard wants to make conversation.

The dentist wears mini lenses on his glasses, which makes it very hard to look him in the eyes.

Just because the person rolls down their window doesn't mean they will be able to answer the question.

The leaves of the tree grow to cover the sign until only an edge of its shape poked out.

The rocks on the beach are a gift shop compared to the dead bird on the sand, half feather and half flesh.

I spotlight my face with a flashlight when I cut stalks from vegetables in a garden at night.

The toothpaste spit that dribbled down to the skillet in the sink might harm it.

The kiddy pool is half deflated and shoved like a lazy sandwich into the corner of the roof.

None of the colors speak loud enough.

I say I’ll come back to this in the daytime.

I say I’ll get a flash for alternate lighting or the indoors.