Bones in Birds, Weakness in Poetry, Murder in Kansas

Three poems by Taylor Gorman

Bones in Birds, Weakness in Poetry, Murder in Kansas

Politics of Fire

In the beginning, everything was volcanoes. The whole planet populated by fire. You are one of these fires. No body, no skeleton of char underneath, only the vulnerability of fire. You burn for years until something happens. Life with gills, life with lungs, life with government, etc. These humans, you notice, are nothing like fire. If anything, they are the absence of. You start to like people, though you have no comprehension of human emotion. So, you get into politics. You start kissing babies, searing their small bodies into darkness. Every hand you shake becomes skeletal. Horrendous, you say, absolutely disgusting that this should happen, that people should be maimed from your body of fire. This will never happen again, no one will ever burn. With this promise, people love you, people salute you. You are given money and American flags. You start burning down schools. You are elected governor of Kansas. You are given babies to kiss, again, and you burn them to death, again. Sorry, you say. Never again. You keep killing. You burn the entire state until it look like a stew of bones. It looks like the graveyard you are. Re-election.

Birds

You can tell everything about a fowl’s body by how quickly it allows you to break its bones, tie the legs together, and wait for the flesh to tighten against the ribcage and darken. What I mean is, should there ever be an answer to poetry, and do we deserve one? To answer is to give it language, and can you? Remember that this has bones, a structure. At least, it did. I don’t expect an answer, even from myself. Should we underline the meaning, italic the silence? Breaking silence, we say, as if you could push your hand against nothing. I’ll tell you everything about silence, I promise. Do you want it to be this way? You can always change your answer. Every poem has an answer, some are just disappointing. But who am I to take the magic from this world, and you to take this world from me? Take the poem and press against the joint of the leg — do you feel it? Hear the bone buckle, the ligament tear towards your movement, your direction. Is this what you wanted? Hunger: this is how we find meaning. Why are your bones breaking? Tell me. Will they make me choke? Do you promise? What is the point of these questions? Tell me, why do I want it to stay this way? I’m sorry for asking. Tell me, who is the hunter, who is the beast, and who cares? I mean it. There isn’t enough weakness in poetry. Or too much, I don’t know.

Birds (Neutered)

You can tell everything about a fowl’s body by how quickly it allows you to break its bones, tie the legs together, and wait for the flesh to tighten against the ribcage and darken. Can you? Remember that this has bones, a structure. At least, it did. Should we underline the meaning or italic the silence? Breaking silence, we say, as if you could push your hand against nothing. I’ll tell you everything about silence. Every bird has a silence, some are just disappointing. But who you to take this bird from me, to snap its neck? Take the bird and press against the joint of the leg — do you hear it? Feel the bone buckle, the ligament tear in your hands. Is this what you wanted? Hunger: is this how we find meaning? Why are your bones breaking? Tell me. Will they make me choke? Why do I want it to stay this way? There isn’t enough weakness. Or too much, I don’t know. Tell me, who is the hunter, who is the beast, and who cares? I’m sorry for asking.

Three Poems by Nora Hickey

Taylor Gorman’s work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Passages North, Cutbank, and The New Orleans Review. He received his MFA from Wichita State University. He currently lives in Louisiana where he is the Reading Manager for the River Writers reading series.

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