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145th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: The Lesions of Genetic Sin

by Bruce Boston

loosen your collar your tie
            & let the bruised &
bloodied vocabularies
    of the urban night descend between
your cool shirt & warm belly
      like hinged scraps of living meat
leaf up through the poles of a dead telegraphy
       & let your body lie like
a lingual corpse
(mummified to fibrous desiccation
                  & ossified to sledge-splintered bone)        
      impaled on the pinnacles of a brassy skyscape     
      a crime, she screams, a dirty sham
        as you give her back her time-thorned flesh
                          the knotted tongue  the open fist
the canted thighs  the clenched kiss
                          the eyelids smudged with kohl
            the lashes clumped by bodysalt
      'til sight is rendered in disparate jigsaw flashes

like a city that changes its sex so often
             it has morphed to a jaded spaceport
      where the ejecta of the not-so-known universe
               gather to calibrate their stellar deviance
like a building that changes its floors so often
you are imprisoned in an reiterative elevator cycling
      where your destination & your departure
                        can be three-d graphed as a single
            temporal echo & spatial ululation
like a small boy crippled & maimed
         & given a beggar's bowl
            & sent forth into the streets
                        of the teeming metropolis
            to be rescued by some
      purportedly beneficent nonagenarian
            who employs   skin grafts   collagen   prostheses
          to transform this adolescent monstrosity
                        into an adroit & perverse paradigm
      for his/her own divine/demented satisfactions:
the brood, she screams, the spattered blood
      the family, she seethes, the homespun homilies
as you give her back her brittle mindclasps
         in a blinding entrechat that flash/scours
                    the vile-urchin-argot graffiti from the
            entablatures of capital invention

when we descend iron staircases
            into the celebrated dungeons
      of the spiral nebula
            at the moment of canonization
when we whisper & laugh &
brush shimmering tresses
                back from seamless brows aware
     the entire cosmos may be watching
when we try to answer the questions that
      have been imposed upon us
                        by unknown interlocutors
        in hours of isolation so utter
the metaphysical weight of a notion is overpowering
       all tropes are reduced to contortionist conflagration
    all similes & metaphors conspire to dovetail
into a single explanation/extirpation
       beyond the tangents of cellular comprehension
      the transliteration of all we have learned
                rage-flagrant in blue peonies:        
the corolla's velvet violet insistence
                the stalk's violent heliotropisms
      pollen's bombcloud trajectory
                              parsed by slo-mo-holo cam
                        in graceful articulations
               speechless as orgasmic clarity
     enough, she sighs through parted lips, c'est fini
                   as you give her back all the dead petals
         she once gathered from the gardens of the moon
                   (finite compost fragments coalescing
        to a shifting teleidoscopic symmetry
             that redefines the lesions of genetic sin)

First appeared as a signed, limited edition broadside from Miniature Sun Press, reprinted in Strange Horizons

See all the entrants to 145th Weekly Poetry Contest