Meals

Anxiety is its own prolonged unreckoning
this visionary script moves
like an old hand shaking
wild playtime kissed
into the layers of muscle
at home base
no less than being
still, we press on into the night

 

earnest garbage confession is its own reward
the pure mask of the total dream makes credits
for having big dreams credits for simulation
of dreams you did not want and now have
media vengeance lower than expected
but now with crying
tell me again how ends find origin
another spittle of meat enters the conversation

 

I see an array of husks just fucking there
in this featureless expanse below the stars
nerves make the song of themselves
trite by true purchase
they move out into forests and oceans
seeing nothing but the limit of our mutual touch
no growth within the object of mutual desire
held by letting pass, another down and away

 

in its container you appear
as an imitation of memory
steady without blinking
oh, that face marks us for easy words
I see a buttery knoll inside the shadows
it calls our name
it makes a famous town and a town famous
it forms against our special chance

 

it is behind whatever lifts the eye
already turning inward
it is a cutscene
breaking into regular light
at home base where
citizens of god listen to earthlings
sweating out the shining blue
pulling the sky from the directory

 

each from each recoiled in multiplex
nonviolent and understood
oh, lucky lung filled with oil
make an instant vanishing of this solar heave
and build from the coherence of crime
disexpressive notes for the future
there are lots of angry theory boys
crawling on the perimeter.

 

 

Pretty birds mock the turret
along this offshore bilk
it is an extraction point
it rots and bubbles
caressed by the spirit
of melancholic
pre-raphaelite philanthropy
and clean air jokes

 

small romances
along the trembling draught of sun
and its recompense
intentional computer junk
cuddles with ambient limb
seeking chilled duplex
“yes” by saliva biomarker
for content sponsor reply

 

even darknet emporiums
find truth in permanence
opening mouths to the rain
from the perspective of tropical hangover
this prickle sits well
on bespoke therapy session
in which I broach
relational property of shit

 

played out against
softened ancient synth
the dad amazon reviewer
brought to his knees by China
his cardiac phrases move
like shafts of light
through the floorboards
he is unequipped to be held or told

 

plague year reconnaissance
was all I knew
palpitating in fresh plasma
the sun melted our heaven
that brain seat in front
nonchalant ooze from the happy middle
paused and rewound
like rhetorical objects

 

I tighten the chair
I leave the kitchen
prime aisle sleepover
departmental largesse
at cool waking permanence
sentry-level wage
meets micro-loan officer
on the bridge.

 

 

This is the weekend in biscuits
give me another
tell me again about
saturated crumble and the temples
smoothing over into sand
the rockets and the tax havens
oh, that hanky panky abyss is ours, too
dimming ancient gestures

 

for the beautiful ones
our excessive wonder at the stakes
under the big wish output
to end it all
dehydrated
we fall forever forgetting what it means
my gold sounds at center station
my moniker emptied

 

out of the metadata consort
for the dead
animated and drifting up moonward
there are actual workhorses down there
giant throbbing skulls scared of light
state worship gang awaits
post-guard swag to materialize
prepped for insect defense

 

slashed awareness collateral rubs new thought
baked into rabid cards
contorted by waste
knees basting in sludge
this myth detail
is a slow painting at high cost
in expansion with mistaken
love at its center

 

hands now folding
into a single line of sight
now clarity surmises
a climate of being
now the mental folds
become trace fictions
oh, benzene
sweet smell of the station

 

as a child you want to eat
desperate for system
shunt between the memorable buckets
of content and justice
present observation relic
of personal time
by an unctuous offer perplexed
at the immaterial hope.

 

 

Warm behind the navel
of course, sincerity
of course, foreign bodies
by money efficiency
what matters will not work as such
by gamified shiny event
a delicate chrome artifice
rises from the echoing fog

 

it excretes on the dawn bypass
this world built by great expectations
chip by chip
slug by slug
bit by bit
just a tug
when they turn into hot dogs
expect violent radiation

 

you’re the best around
nothing’s gonna take you down
finite clip of ancestral code
inside holographic cube
carefree and bound by no particular thing
the comorbidity of love’s destiny
its semantic volume
its completion rate

 

feeling is weak
automatic and alone
an old dry path recurs
over distant ages and alien disease
the hand’s motion, its pre-articulation of home
against the hesitation of life
where we want to mean it but don’t

 

last weekend went well
regret before action must be time-travel
it feels like pure fire
oh, those sensitive ice sheets
at the limit, there is no vast purge of bits
exhausted and subtle with wind
wound out like throats in fields
we wander without crystal or gas

 

another VR classic
3D-printed hands making paper cranes
something about flowers
rows rows upon rows rows of physical health
whatever it could mean, it doesn’t
the door propped
the handle vibrating
fat’s elementary return, fizzling in.

 

 

Surfaces that bullets pull themselves into
when the sea flushes streets
the time is to die, but now is
so don’t even off yet
or cut it, mission toy
this is only fake once
the rest is one of many,
luminous mistakes

 

within subcutaneous holds
rust fills the lungs
and protein packs emerge
from faraway modules of success
whose blood runs against sucrose
sweet tongues upon metal view
rising fantasy in these
your sweet appointments

 

together once more
switching from note to note
space alerts to embryo time
stars unknown to signals made upon them
there is no deceptive part
of the I which does not submit
to attention demand
its integrated wage and surplus

 

its form of death in time
labor of the grave
assassinations now
ghosts praying on wealth
here is the mark of ours
where the call name utters its echo
only intelligible hydrophobic units work
the bodies just right

 

pinched and softened
oceans drag us up and over
the server’s creative moments
we’re the last wave of behaviorism
modeling desire on automatic labor
why good while bad rich
undercommons
shadow empire

 

time sits in the hollow of the body
much less felt once like more
deep history like tacit belonging
the scene hastened by misreading
it’s at the end
swapping spit and blood with parents
that you tussle with the moonlight
and crave the sun.

 

 

Today excites its tiny message
within each cell of each column
by populated terminals
by self-driven seeds
moved to a slot
reserved for decay
the field spits three clouds
into the amber horizon

 

faith on the right
math on the left
love in the center
lugubrious and porcine
talking to hold the past
in formative blue feeling
only your own skin
the holes in the walls move each year

 

in this place of first permission
dry hands held to the face
our tiny company repeats
the self as a refraction of bacteria
bloodlust shining toward the privacy well
gut-like at the bottom in terror holdings
people like shapes attempt to intersect
I held the stream close to our faces.

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Ryan Dobran

Ryan Dobran lives and works in Philadelphia. He is the author of Old Business (Golias Books) and editor of The Collected Letters of Charles Olson and J.H. Prynne (University of New Mexico Press). He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. Previous poetic work has been published by Barque Press, Face Press, Critical Documents, and Shit Valley.