A bird with human knowledge is doomed Flight is impossible when you understand flight In the nest, offspring develop complexes After dreams, Freud interpreted birdsongs For the throat, currency is phlegmatic despair For wings, currency is altitude and air flow On the ground we are vagabond and bankrupt What can you trade for an atmosphere that doesn’t burn How high can you go before time becomes a knockwurst - a thing that enters through the mouth and leaves through the ass To ask Why? assumes a godhead That knowing has a beginning That the beginning begins with a body Feeding worms to your children suggests love But it means duty It means the ethics of keeping a thing alive When a bird looks you in the eye it feels nothing When you look God in the eye he feels nothing Feathers and fathers are right when they say Your body is always in the way You are attached to your desire like the chalaza to the yolk Without desire you are either depressed or enlightened When you cry you are a lawn flamingo When God cries he’s a velvet painting of God What more is there to understand in a world of constant departures Every action is a symbol for ruin All of our feelings are kitsch
Meditations on the Devil
To lead one astray, you must offer an ashtray, Morse code. Somewhere to tap out the sediments of a once glowing hope. * Imagine a newborn, still wearing its sweater of blood and vernix. Imagine, with its first breath comes its first knowledge: death, like a cord, around the neck. This is the house I live in. * Such a delicacy, to eat a man up to his waist. Sometimes, when I’m caught, people call me woman. I do not correct their mistake. * In another world, murder is a ceremony of golden wounds and violins. There is no other world but this. Every sin deserves a pageantry of music and teething. * When the body is a den without light, the spine is a snake, the heart is a snake. To shed one’s skin is not a rebirth. It is the body’s violence distended, gleaming. * A selfie of the soul looks something like this: a suit of yolk-string, phallus-pink scarves, a halo of whispering flies circling eternity above the skull. * Death is an endless swallowing of stones, a heaviness any Sisyphus would trade for a black hole. * God does not understand how any of his creations could become symbols for evil. A goat hoof is a goat hoof is a goat hoof. A wing does not become more than machine. * The infinite will of God is only a fish – unhook it.
Meghan Privitello is the author of A New Language for Falling Out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015) and Notes on the End of the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). Poems have appeared in A Public Space, Kenyon Review Online, Guernica, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Best New Poets, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, & elsewhere. She is the recipient of a NJ State Council of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.