mike youngnerve_bios_6.html


for Daniel Bailey

Here in the overcoat of my heart you're a burrowed parakeet.

My anxiety's the phantom gut lump kind. Sometimes you turn

hands and hands in a kind of sign language just outside the

frame, and this is the style of exchange I'd most like to learn.

How much curry versus coconut milk? Is everybody made of

history and aesthetics? What's the practical amount of

guilt to carry if you love the way a stranger touches her

lips at an oh-shit recall? Why is my arm not a lilac tree?

Are we human or are we dancer? Life is never over being

cute with me. All in a sudden I'm sure the whom of us

is pre-set: checkered skirts, gestures of private demand,

like how the boy rakes his temples to think harder

which means I'm thinking in terms of infinite level design,

like where each Non Player Character has this agenda

dreamed up by some minor programmer and advertised

on the box: The People You're Shooting Also Have

Schedules! Listen: the world arose from a system of

small boredoms. Hundreds of Gods on the payroll making

pet projects of oil spills, cliff swallows, a floating couch,

a ball of stardust said to hitchhike Arkansas backroads,

fish with whiskers and the taste of lemon. Of lemon?

Of yellow. Tell me that taste isn't deep in the code,

giggled in by some guy in charge of beta testing

photosynthesis and noticed only after the game

embarks on its viral release. Daniel, I stole that whole

idea from Douglas Adams and what you really need to

know in this endless commercial failure of an MMORPG

is that the original point of the game was the ocean

and how to make that ocean lead to different things.

Each and every person then is just an Easter Egg,

defined by gamers as a feature you cheat to find,

as a bug that you are too in love with to report. 


for Carolyn

Right away there’s thinking. Right away.

No matter how much I want my face to moon

with no contortion, leave all talk to voiceovers.

Hands take after purrs. Nicknames remind us

mostly of the fun inventing them. Every beach

fire is a kind of desperate flag. Cops pull over a

riding lawnmower, and the man won’t turn it off.

We walk the dike that crosses I-91. Headlights

pan like reasons. We’re keeping warm. Cars aren’t

fireflies, which is not even how I feel. “Funny isn’t

the same as being happy,” I tell you. Duh. Neither is

that. A family of tiny arsonists live in burned out

delivery trucks behind your neck. They are your

bad pillow. Hands wobble. It’s never been infinity

with me. Infinity is something I can fist bump.

It’s more like when I chew the top off a lightbulb,

and there’s no blob of light to hold. Carry. Get

close. Let me eat your eyelash like a mission.

If we plant it in a divot on my cheek, maybe I’ll

grow your love of coats. The lay of your wrist

when you’re tired. What plays in your head after

you gnaw my finger, look at me, teething the skin like

wrapping paper you want to save for next Christmas.

Sometimes I know that I don’t know what’s going to happen

next, but I know exactly who I’m going to be with when it

does. This feeling is called kiss me. This feeling is called hi.

But maybe you’re not thinking of anything. I’ve thought

about that. We’re on a hillside. Night grass. Grass face.

And the sky is clear enough to see exactly how you feel.