13 · 2010



from the series [specimen]


  by Mark Cunningham









My coffee is rich so I don’t have to be.  Now that I’m half-way through the hypnosis CD, I think I’m thin, but am I really thin?  You say “pah-tah-toe,” I say “water board the bastards.”  Cure Arthritis With a Raison.  As Emerson makes clear, there are no such things as artificial breasts.  We portrayed ourselves.  Pressure without quality.  It’s that roadrunner speed, it’s a blur, you can’t tell what it is.  Nightmares burn calories faster. 










I should have been suspicious immediately:  most people don’t have pi in their phone numbers.  We made it to the moon using a physics based on the calculations of somebody who’d just been hit on the head.  The dislocated shoulder I got when he punched me nonetheless gave me a fixed point with which to relativize space.  The Mobius Strip demonstration was charming, until he ended by saying, “A meal is satisfied in one long gulp.” 










According to the theory of relativity, time slows to an almost complete halt the nearer you are to an “experimental film.”  That’s right, Barbara Bush said at her birthday party, but then Niels Bohr couldn’t tie a cherry stem into a knot with his tongue.  Maybe in the beginning was the word, but now there just isn’t that much to say about it.  Squinting at the photograph of the mirror, he said, “Are we supposed to be seeing something here?” 










She said we must not confuse an individual with his or her task, which is just what we expected someone in her position to say.  It was a stare-down match, tense:  everybody knew that in the blink of an eye, one of us could blink.  He was told to write “Human beings are not insensate photocopying machines” on the blackboard one hundred times.  I laughed at their threat to articulate my skeleton if I kept giving them the silent treatment—in that pile of bones, they’d never figure out which were mine.  XXX is more exciting than X, so I figured $0.00 was a better deal than $0. 










Mark Cunningham has three chapbooks out—Second Story and nightlightnight (with photographs by Mel Nichols), both from Right Hand Pointing, and 10 specimens from Gold Wake Press—and three books, Body Language from Tarpaulin Sky Press, 80 Beetles from Otoliths, and 71 Leaves, an ebook from BlazeVox.  Read him in E·ratio issue 11



E· Poetry Journal


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