Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Sword Swallower's Assistant

The Sword Swallower's Assistant is dedicated to Heather Holiday. Click this link to hear an Indiefeed pod cast performance of the poem.

The Sword Swallower's Assistant.

I wink-
you ready,
steady, pull.
Don’t go side to side.

Don’t think of the blade as a tongue
or a flower. Don’t think of thrusting,
or think of me as a truffle. You’re not rooting in a forest.

You’re not running from bulls. You’re not getting struck by lightning.
Don’t think of labyrinths, or twisting paths to heaven. Look me in the eye.

You’re no shaman preist. Don’t cry out or make bird sounds. Don’t dream
of waking on coals or taking it to the hilt. Don’t, don’t, don’t go side to side.

Blade into mouth, epiglottis flipped open, alignment, placement-
go- blade into glottal chamber, behind the prominentia laryngea,

the voice box, past the pharynx, through the upper esophageal sphincter,
down the esophagus, between lungs, nudge aside the heart, past the liver,

relax the lower esophageal sphincter, blade kisses the bottom of the stomach.
This is no time to get creative. Don’t think of the sword as your manhood.

Ladies and Gentleman,
see me bang the sword?
Bang it on the ground, soild, it does not bend!
It’s perfect inside me, ant eater, high heels, fire breath, silk panties.

Step right up!
See the freaks!
Want to be the sword?
When you pull it out,
spit clings to the blade.
Tug on it,
to get it loose
feel my insides
grip the steel.