(from “Hard Work” by Rody Lumsden, Poetry Magazine, January 2009)
Straight labor often to smell yourself,
rot being inevitable—invariable meat juice
(a non-stock phrase I sucked from the mouth
of a girl from the burg of Onalaska).
And I have licked myself, especially when I spilled
maple syrup down my arm in an IHOP
in the CD. I drank syrup (are condiments drunk?)
in the CD, too, with all its dead cinder brick.
Seen myself? In mirrors, idiot, or, looking into my Web cam,
fat as any Star Trek obsessive full of Cheetoos,
Picard leotard full of Big Gulp, trigger finger itchy from blasting pixels.
I cannot speak fluently in my own language.
I don’t even know what it is called. American?
Have heard from the call center I am hard work
(as hard to get through as Merchant Ivory), though once
a guy in a suit told me I was unbelievable.
I have smelled my insides. I admit I have touched my loin.
Reverse the letters and it is lion. In the network hive,
the DMZ, pulling fiber optic, I pulled more than Cat-5.
I left the closet as chipper as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu.