Dan Machlin

Dear Body:

Whether my mind to my knee or a chest as hollow as a creek bed, these are the questions I am always asking, trying to mutter an answer to. If there was one popular tree on my property, it was the dream tree. Arms spread out in full growth, no shading here. But what do I know—I was a city boy raised in the sky. Now I am wandering into the eternal justification some call lethargy.

This body, he said (as if this specific body had a house, a housing). No, we were not just pleasant beings gazing into the sun, slightly tired and not yet hungry, having eaten lunch much too late.

And who is this “we” anyway—I was alone—tabulating the pros and cons of my history, sitting beside the ache in one’s arrogance meets devastation—this non-man, a rupture.

In the beginning, the land tore itself apart in volcanic ebulliences and simultaneously collapsed inward into tectonic concavity.

It was I who was being carried—a saint in a glass box, lord of Liberty Island, rabbi of abandoned parks.

I did not try to curry favor with the locals, though they tied me to the grammar with their hammers.

Insignificance, a pre-populated field whose minor chord inspired complaints about lost wages.

It was as if, here I was in you, my body, waging devastation on a foreign body—deformed bodies of state.


Dear Body:

We tried to type the pattern out. Each of the letters so perfectly repeating that I stored them on separate index cards—

As if to tell time through lack of ego—as if an envelope to be discovered later after death—a kiss in a movie.

I was never a professional.

I would tell you I’m a writer but always unwrite houses.

I too have been there to the ship addressing topics.

How specifically I unheard this story you would look sad in:

on May 2nd remember—the rainy day, the day of shadowman—

I was going to save you part of a brioche but you were late and I ate it all myself and you never knew it existed.

I undressed for the millionth time and you didn’t laugh but instead we examined each other as separate entities.

“Hell” you said, “I’m done with writing I want to hold your life in.”


Dear Body:

There was a time when I would suggest an expurgation—but you would not be open to an expurgation—

There was a fleeting feeling of confusion in my text—but when you came around again you wrote a lengthy text in your own right.

I never had faith that this letter-writing campaign would undermine our intimacy—

Instead I would buy pieces of land near “forever-wild” forests in the hope that I would never again need to experience “closeness.”

Not that is to say closeness itself but rather the concept of “closeness,” as when Julliette died and there was this unhealthy silence.

A hush fell over our tomb and expressed outward over the meadow and gray buildings.

Dan Machlin is featured in Tarpaulin Sky. Dan Machlin reads from Dear Body. He is the author of 6X7 poems (Ugly Duckling Presse 2005), This Side Facing You (Heart Hammer), and In Rem (@ Press). His work has recently appeared in Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Cy Press, Antennae, Crayon and The Portable Boog Reader. He has also collaborated on a full length Audio-CD with cellist/singer Serena Jost (Immanent Audio) and contributed companion text to several visual art exhibitions in New York City and Germany. Dan Machlin is the founder and editor of Futurepoem books and a current curator at The Segue reading series at The Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.