Center stage in the Theater of the Observed, who am I to say
that my voice is pleasant or my manners abysmal? Or something
cataclysmal: a nexus of disaster, like knots that form spontaneously
in windblown hair, and you try to pass them off as incipient dreadlocks,
but no one believes you.
I’m reluctantly approaching the age when the light at the other end
of the carpal tunnel is a hot flash of … of loss of memory or …
or rage! that was it! when you find yourself in an existential backwater,
indistinct drifting forms slowly decaying in the sick conviction
of temperature gradients,
saturated with the metameric violet of an interminable hour
where the monitor screen radiates a sickly glare the ethereal hue
of Himalayan poppies, flecked with rows of suspect symbols
like maggots paralyzed in mid-writhe and just as capable of producing
an itching, irritated brain.
My soul is portable and an unpleasant shade of green that wants
embroidering, which I take to mean ostentatious lying. I don’t know what
to make for supper tonight—thinking of alcohol, but it’s too much trouble …
so I’ll just recycle leftover bad moods that won’t invalidate the warranty
on my liver and lights.
And when that fails to delight, I’ll come up with an enhancement device
to effortlessly trigger a slow roll into the next moment, temporary levitation
resulting in a mysterious accident: a loud splash from the room next door,
where you and your spotted dog run quickly to slip on that broken thing
melting on the floor.
F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com) and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Work appears in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. A Catalogue of the Further Suns won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest.