––"from Venus Edamame"––
Soon, the classical plagues were resurrected.
Blood covered the land, insects, darkness;
famine, Ebola, parasites inhabited the people.
And it was a wild time.
And to make it even wilder, new plagues were synthesized,
which were eventually symphonized,
which was, by then, our way.
Plague Symphony was lauded with every honor,
performed in churches, on major television networks.
As a child I memorized Plague Symphony—
everyone had to—note for note, beat for snare for beat.
And as I grew I began to inhabit it more fully, corporeally,
I wasn’t just listening to or playing it,
but I began to eat it, bite by chew, sinew, gristle, gland.
I lived in it sexually and religiously,
progressing from tattoos to scarification
to skin grafts of plagued flesh.
I worshipped plague, seduced it, sang.
And then, I was over it.
I wondered how I ever enjoyed it at all.
I felt such shame, having posted so many things about it,
blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, such embarrassment at
having desecrated my body.
I threw myself before God,
begging for any cure.
But God had changed too, had lost his innocence.
He’d just sit there, listening,
rubbing seraphim wings all over
the segments of his locust body.
And it was glorious.
And soon a Plague of Wires, this new beast,
had crawled its way to him
and plunged its selves into his legs
before surging up under his skin-soft chitin
and interfacing with his eyeballs,
which were humongous.
Then, plagues were breeding in the wild,
learning from each other, how to kill, how to deform,
how to melt from Plague of Sunsets to Scorpion Boils,
giving each other new, tender names,
and you, my little Charnel-Flower,
even learned how to grow tiny human hands,
and tiny human feet, and maybe even a
glittering little human soul, if you’re lucky,
but still, you’ll face many hardships in this world.
You’ll have to study hard, and practice your skills.
You’ll have to solve huge puzzles by pushing stone cubes
onto pressure plates in the right order.
Accomplishing that, you’ll have to fight
the huge skull reaper that will emerge from the steel gate.
DONALD DUNBAR lives in Portland, Oregon, where he helps run If Not For Kidnap and edits poetry for draft: The Journal of Process. He is the author of Eyelid Lick (Fence, 2012) and the chapbook Slow Motion German Adjectives (Mammoth Editions, 2013).
If Not For Kidnap: www.ifnotforkidnap.com
Draft Journal: www.draftjournal.com
Eyelid Lick: www.fenceportal.org/?page_id=4406#t2
Slow Motion German Adjectives: www.mammoth-editions.com
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