Evangela Shread

Radio Interference

 

1

In the ether of dreams static noise superposed

on head highs & heightened to compromise in

 

a vial or is it vile to have slipped off one skin for old

blisters freshly picked at Railroad terminals reveal

 

micro-tears in tendons creaking bone to bone &

tears have carved valleys in my wrists paved by one-

 

way interstates that need toxins to reverse Drip

mélonges of meds make me an infant again Up

 

next Amy Winehouse unmuted over an intercom

off-white Phased out in checkboxes & numbers

 

from Not at all to Always Philadelphia owns this

piece of me ghost-facing on dorm roofs pulsing

 

Weezer through the dynamo of half-night seducing

strangers in the bowels of a city with its back to

 

tomorrow & I stand on the yellow strip a mile wide

below 30th street hoping not to be seen Neon bulbs

 

for every ICD code electrified by Nothing to track

now but the days since I siphoned every breath

 

into highs & lows measured out against a cork board

tacked up with strips of my flesh stitched back in

 

simulation but only while it lasts

 

2

In the future the Earth is slow-roasted in the bulging waist

of the Sun if not sooner (perhaps we count years in drone

 

strikes) Nat Geo program depicts an underworld under huge

swirling storm all red glowing (so maybe us sinners go to

 

Jupiter after we die) & I don’t believe so maybe I’m that part

of the sky stars avoid I think Every sentence an analogy: if I

 

am a planet the surface of me deep inside clouds of titanium

but when you peel back the crust another universe breeding

 

carbon dusk (to think that there are diamonds beneath

a hellfire) & something like it so close to a red giant like

 

a dachshund nuzzled up against the breast of a mother

so hot it hurts to touch (the mother being that drugged-

 

up sexed-up fantasy of fucked-up poet) but I’m more tweaked-

out than poet I believe a universe nested in each universe so

 

as to believe galactic emptiness is the way a diamond throws itself

into light to make more dimensions of light (where in one Sunday

 

morning is not reliving the night I surpassed the end of my body

& pretending to regret it) yesterday I tripped on acid & some guy

 

with Jesus hair told me where suffering becomes celestial

 

3

I can’t give you the satisfaction of ending

on a period Call it furlough instead A resolve

 

to resolve nothing more permanent than a feeling

That everything has an axis and it is spinning

 

off it for example This world out of an embrace

with space itself & you are caught somewhere

 

in the exchange of smoke for powder & one

cannot exist without the other in battle so

 

Open swallow release your finger from the dial

& listen to the static as it dies away Away from

 

your head spinning off its axis is Your neck is

the thing that supports your habit of being kissed

 

in all the wrong places Your body an antenna

satellites orbit and now you signal something

 

close to quiet

 

 

 

queer girl

 

i.

queer girl prays to god herself. queer girl in the front seat of a ’99 Chrysler, hair pulled back, eyes level with the steering wheel & learning to ride the joystick for the first time. queer girl on couch in front of therapist among half-assed corporate nods to queerness. queer girl exposes a mind in layover overlaid with overpassing trains full of bodies never sanctioned in the bedsheets that morning & any day now waiting for someone to depart for her, always apart from her so few of them she waits for one to become a part of her. queer girl’s joints creak bone to bone as she holds up a platform of bodies touching & disengages the one against her palm. a few wheels spin the right way & it is time to go. the light flicks to green & queer girl is caught in the exchange.

 

ii.

quiet. disentangle from the spine backing the book of all your yesterdays.

unlearn your hands to start: the base of your fingernail, the skin that binds

the nail meets the page meets the binding, & tear out the pages. ink your

name in your grandmother’s tongue when you remember the letters of an

alphabet you only learned through the stages of her depression, inherent

the names of addiction as the ones who held you when you held your knees

to keep from giving into one long spasm of sound, then quiet. then ringing

again, & an apology for something you can’t even name. maybe you’re sorry

for taking up too much space on the bed so they have to sit at the end of your

body, cradling your head. maybe you regret that there is an end to your body

& that you want to find it. tomorrow finds you stained on the sheets, condensed

sweat, a name traced the last time it rained in vapor clinging to the window,

waiting for someone to tell it to dissipate again, & maybe not come back.

the ashtray still on the night table. you promise to sweep away

the burnt ends when you go.

 

iii.

lately, night has seemed more like emptiness than a fabric of stars.

rejected daughter left home to repave her veins

with each new expatriate of her body.

baltimore has since become a vacuum,

soundless without the matter to cry into.

words can’t shield a bullet

but they can carry rivers.

 

 

perhaps the cosmos is already populated & we are late to realize

we are not alone. maybe they live among us. maybe no one

has to explain to them that gender can make a body queer,

or show them a rainbow where red is the first line in a paragraph

of oppression. maybe they’ve whispered the names forever

grounded in orlando, as if in purgatory, bodies craving wholeness

instead remembered by the hole between their eyes.

the current of america is immutable.

barrel of the gun always aimed downstream, capitalist trash

lodged in the rocks, caching minerals. man kisses man in gay bar

& the last thing to enter his body is a bullet. woman holds

woman’s hand in north texas & man spits slurs in her face.

man wears dress one day & blood the next. in america,

the night sky is a t-shirt punctured with bullet holes for stars.

 


Evangela Shread is a writer from Swarthmore College.


Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: