Black Muscle

By: S.E. Smith



The trick is just golden to say golden to see things
             So others see them
Black muscle cut from the arm of a god
On wheels on the street parked illegal

I was never good never bad just drunk
             Or asleep
You know a job is a heavy thing and that is why
To have one The lace splits over my thighs
             In old places I find myself bent

In old ways An ancient intelligence is required
             The hairs soft or knitted together
A pillow for the headache a cave I made
From eating air

I feel optimism on a highway Finally I have found
             The place I buy
A long black dress and change into it in the bathroom
It is me now I buy a fountain drink
            Without sparing a single miraculous

Thought My arms golden reach out to set
             The cigarette on fire one of many
Today And am comforted by my last badness
Its skull is thick with ridges

Oh the comfort we can bring each other
              I have killed in my mind
Killed and set fires but the surface is just
Well-known continental shrugging
             My best animal

Weak in the teeth I am on the side of nothing
The one American who really means it
             I don’t want this
Teenagers taking pictures in bed licking
Their pet shadows Whatever

Beguiled me was cheap and did the same
Thing to everyone else
             It worked great
On an empty stomach My heart is larger
Now medically speaking than it should be

I’m hiding my fists even from some flowers
And blood I shouldn’t believe it born in ribbons
            We stink
We like to strike these ShurFine matches
The waste the filth is millions sure but I work
             On a volume that seems natural

How to get enough sun on your gold lion
             Medallion Versace belt
How to feel the vibrator through the panties
Convincingly How to braid the tree noise
             Into something old
And which shivers its menace

These are my problems but then again
             I am exceptional
I know a little bird says feck! feck! feck!
All day like a drunk made to drink water
Like a sweetness built out of spit

You may be done but I am not ready
What a thrill What a thrill Above
            My station beyond
My means there is a little olive tree
And the crags and drones sailing

Someone is always painting the scene
            More purple-ish
Some holy color like football Some poky
Sheen like oil I can’t even believe it
And then dark dark clouds roll

Above it and the light is a toothache
             But only when
I try to look in does the landscape spoil
From my stool in the hall
             I strum upward

To fail However being such like that
             Is a power
What can you try to wrestle over
Your watchband rotting on your tan
            Your cross-eyed blimps
The Swedish Army

Feck! This place is lit by a sad little
             Law taped up
Over the town and all over it the soft castle
             Of the last night
Before it snows not stopping for months

There is a law and its light flecks on the dolts
             And me
Because I am one of them At the gas station
I would find the bottle with my name on it
             Go home and listen
All night to the white boat coming up the river

And there is no more sun because there is a law
             The saints moo
About this All the water torching through my heart
             Never good or bad
Just drunk or asleep I loved only my pain

I don’t love it anymore I feed it pie
             And strangle its features
I wake up in the dark I go out
I will talk about just anything on the phone
              I will tell your fortune

There is a law That is not your fortune
But you will need to feel it
             You will need a black muscle
             And shrub
Of stars




S.E. Smith is the author of I Live in a Hut. Her work has appeared in FENCE, jubilat, Tin House, and The Masters Review, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh and works as a taxonomy analyst.