my brother MATTHEW SIEGEL wrote a book called BLOOD WORK & you, oh, you need it.
The electric body
changes like a sky bleeding peach,
gray feathers and smoke –
– a body circular as the earth,
water and air,
rivers surging through.
run laps inside
like a Psalm
to an electric body-
At sixteen something broke inside me
in the gym locker room. I’d never wear
those shorts again. Breath swept
from boiling water.
My body is a series of bodies:
now & before
I realize how much blood
moves within me.
I wear this living skin –
wear it in the sunlight,
in the forest, in the city –
wear it like a suit
of metal, a suit of gauze –
my face of abalone, of straw
apart in the water.
Dr. Green wore black vests,
had no skull. I could see the folds of his brain.
My mother told me how he kissed with his mouth
open. Waiting in my underpants
in his office I stole gauze pads, tape,
a plastic model of an inflamed colon
to show my mother how I felt inside.
It was hard to make her laugh back then.
His eyes, I really remember, sad like a horse’s eyes,
ringed with dark just the same.
Then came Dr. Chen who quietly examined the surface
of my tongue that day in his California office.
He laid me out on a table, touched my ankles,
wrists, neck with his starfish-hands.
At the bottom of his clear mug,
a bag of green tea bled into hot water.
He marked Chinese characters on a chart.
He told me even in English, I wouldn’t understand.
The first time I take the shot, I jab myself
in the side of the stomach, over an old wound
invisible to me. I shake a little as I pinch the skin
and wait for my body to finish sipping
from the thin needle. The doors to my body swing
open. Air rushes through the hallways
all the lights flickering on.
I want to make music
from what isn’t broken,
make memory disappear
like medicine absorbed
in the blood. I want to whittle a whistle
from my bones. Tenderize the sky.
Smear with my thumb
God’s purple night makeup.
Hello, hidden pain. So strange
how you resemble my old face.
Won’t you come inside?