Suppose a rational man
Rations himself into an irrational man.
Construct his lifelike representation.
Take a snapshot of this pseudo-rational
Manikin. Paint an impressionistic
Portrait of the snapshot—speckles galore.
Now click a digital photo of the painting.
Let it go viral. With a fishing knife
Kill the man. With a sledgehammer,
Smash the manikin. Strike a strike-anywhere
Match to the original photograph. Gash, not slash,
The painting with the bloody fishing knife.
The math, primarily subtraction, is subtext.
Imagine squirt-gunning hydrochloric acid
On a handsome face. You are left with disfigurement,
The simultaneous mortality & immortality of the man
& his final image has a life void of the original
So transforms. Is it no longer real or just art?
Notice a homeless soul sleeping over a sewer grate
In a cobalt sub-zero sleeping bag, his head
Covered—his entire un-showered body zipped in.
You see the shape of his human form
& can only assume it is a man.
It could be a woman you suppose & maybe it is not
Even a person. You wonder if the man is
Not sleeping but dead: overdose or overexposed?
You come to realize which is different
From discovery—the sleeping bag is not a sleeping
Bag but a bronze sculpture painted speckled-blue
With a human-shaped-bulge apparently
Inside a sleeping bag. The title:
This is Not A Man Sleeping Inside a Sleeping Bag.
You are curious about the mosquito on the wall.
Is it part of the exhibit?
If you stare long enough
You can detect it is not an actual mosquito.
You think you hear buzzing. You do hear buzzing.
A continuous film of nothing
But raindrops on gray pavement
Is ten thousand black & white still
Photographs of organic eggs frying in butter.
The elevator is miniature (five inches high)
& the female watchman
(This is her part-time gig; she’s a Community
College student) says wouldn’t it be
Awesome if we could fit inside.
Which miniature floor would it drop us off on?
Ten thousand Asian children hand paint
Pebbles to resemble sunflower seeds.
A man dumps ten thousand imitation seeds
On the museum floor & on his hands
& knees selects the most pristine,
Only a loose fistful, & places them in a hermetically
Sealed hand blown glass jar. His knees ache
In that way knees indent when you crawl
Over pebbles. Turquoise toilets & sinks,
Avocado kitchen appliances from the 1970’s
With matching wallpaper & rotary wall phones.
The phone never rings but as soon as you
Step outside the phone rings.
Is it your lack or presence or a manikin that has not been smashed
Calling? Is it me or is it just me you ask.
Do all people actually die?
Is the mosquito transporting your hemoglobin,
A liquid segment of you, to another part of the globe?
The man sleeping in his sleeping
Bag doesn’t seem to stir but dreaming
People often don’t unless
They are involved in a nightmare.
Are you involved in a nightmare?
Of course there are microscopic
Elevators in our minds that don’t stop
On every floor. Of course as much
As we don’t label them, 13th floors exist.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could
Defy our perception of the unlucky?
You chipmunk-stuff this abundance
Of sunflower seeds & spit the shells.
You’re outside so it’s okay.
You’re inside & nobody is watching so it’s okay.
Switch: molar cracking. Switch back.
They are infinitely salty & you have convinced yourself
You are not thirsty, floating 32 days on a life raft,
32 entire days, after your aircraft has been shot down,
Invisible sharks circling, more an oval.
Each maimed beauty more beautiful than the original.
There is an actual fishing knife
& real fish skeletons & candy seagulls, the life raft deflating
So slowly you don’t notice the rational air escaping.