Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Trash, Issue 37, January 2014)

Rob Halpern

Cavities of Light

Like a slab of light, his body bursts into this field of white. Now it’s cooling down as my thoughts about him find their heat. The skin expels strange radiance, these blanks wherein my writing hovers. Dead aureoles, like mortal trash, they make my tongue enlarge and my face breakout, each organ yielding a noisome fluid. Metal salts condense in the blood and amplify intensity. I need to believe this sentence follows the existence of something, a plosive hum or drone, an object in my head, whatever cuts on facial planes. Under grave prismatic glare, the tissue peels away, passing daily with my urine. The intestines shed internal slough, and we can see it pass thru his rectum. Dead light emanates from such vague humors, concealing intravenous holes on his right arm and anticubital fossa. Such light is thrown upon my cornea, as the image stretches to inconceivable peripheries equal only to the surface area of rentable space where the appearance of military cargo becomes my own veil of particles. Subcutaneous fat cushions the emanation of even fainter waves, while the garbage that his organs make sublimes into profit, each marketable product sharing something of value with a tank. The arterial trachea, esophagus and tongue peel away in turn, as the body rejects each membranous surface, like a memory of home and the first bed I came in. What language overcomes the distance between this visionary space and the rational zone of the coroner’s report to which his body’s destined. Yr piss emits the same radiant glow, diffuse and fuzzy, dividing luminous flux from the body’s planar surface. For a moment I take his open skin for the source of my sentence. Serial sectioning of the brain reveals yet another scene of brilliance, as both stem and cerebellum emerge from the body in candescent gowns. On first sight, his light resembles a quality known to enhance the satisfaction of office employees, while allowing cannabis to grow strong and healthy, the same light needed for breeding poultry. His body’s predicament, being equally irrational, like the albuminous skin of an egg, erects its figure anterior to every gaze. Upon further sectioning, the cerebral hemisphere lets go a bulb of fire in a muted haze that dampens the atmosphere around this resting surface. A veneer of carbon waste, how it slumbers in our speech, the way his body dreams me here. The gurney no longer exists on solid ground, his body being an incorrect sexual object for which I ought to be sentenced. And so a meaning hangs over us, the structure of corporeal space, a crack between what we perceive and what we say. Instead, I make a little souvenir of hair and teeth glowing with residual heat, turning my pocket into a reliquary, my fantasy, his mausoleum. The body is thus secured inside a bean-sized hole, his limbs taxonomized, his face covered with luminous sores betraying a smooth pricing surface, a constellation of lesions through which the light moves in patterns that allow me to read the report. Plasma scrims through pores of junk, a beautiful pyrotechnic sun, a spasm of glass exploding from his skull. A needle-like beam protrudes through the epidermal tissue, and even wider bands transport the dura mater, each organ arrayed, bearing some concealed relation, now mechanically rendered visible. His penis, semi-erect, a feather of light now touching me gently. Cranial nerves spawn white arcs of joy, each of which perplexes, but whose quandary reveals true radiance, no evidence of trauma. A haptic rose, my dead give away. As always, the scandal is hushed in deep reserves of light. The secret of his sacred beam’s no secret, but absolute exposure to rule, whose measures my darkness defies. Anyone who has looked directly at the source knows that this is only true.