Organic Scalpel

Like “In a Station of the Metro” in a corset,
Like the cyrillic for J Dilla + the kanji for heart-shaped nipples,
Like flames inside of a .wav,
This book is instructions for cyborgs making love.

Though most cyborgs can make love in the traditional manner,
It is common for this to be an uncomfortable experience,
Not only physically—cyborgs contain heavier, non-organic matter—
But much like two mirrors pressed together,

Like a geode used for a cyborg’s heart,

It is recommended you talk to your partner,
Explain not just what you like, but how you’re feeling,

Like how we are textbooks for each other,
Like how cyborgs can just plug in to each other.

Like their machines talk better than their hearts can.

Kings, Martyrs

Everyone, may we live long enough to be nostalgic for certain seasons,
Unsure how to respond to emails, as there’s no “like” button.

All politics are local, all religion’s local, in the novel
9/11 didn’t happen, but we still go to war.
Only two of my students remember peacetime, most don’t remember
9/11; she’s like, “I was five...”

Countrymen, may we live longer than we once wanted to.
May we live until each breath is pixel, and each pixel cliché,

Like my grandmother, who has forgotten almost everything.
Until one day we forget our grandparents, parents, and children.
After guns are outlawed, only criminals will kill themselves,
Only extraordinarily ambitious criminals.

Y’all, let’s live a long time even after we die,
Long enough to learn how to eat our way back into our bodies.

Epithalamion Anthropocene

As much a message as an EKG as a lesson:
The world will remain your ally
As long as the world remains.

You’re surrounded, but in love with everybody;
In debt, but so is everyone
You’re in love with.

As much as massaging the heart:
An MRI of your head while you imagine me
As if I never died.

It is no wonder love is still so popular!
Like wind chimes silhouette in my sternum,
I skin a few photons, mush them into fondant.
Like our eyes meet and my mind becomes cake,
It’s IRL while we don’t both forget it.

Bronze Glitches

As someone partially internet, I am ideally suited to repaint the tumor.
As a priest for the FBI, I am the ideal Myers-Briggs type.
As something ceaselessly repeating, like a heartbeat is an echo
Of something in utero, I am the ideal priest for your village.

As a Hawaiian with significant beachfront holdings, I am a strange echo,
As when “I like you” is heard as an eyelid lick, and the warmth of it
Is heard as a sizzle. As one is moved to repaint the screen
With a new lover’s Facebook profile, waves ripple at the second

-floor window. It’s how looking out the window, one can almost
Imagine there’s no window. How cancer becomes the heart.
If you imagine a screen so bright no prayer can get through,
Or staring through the screen to the sun behind it, you can see

How seeing your lover in love with someone else too is similar
To the joy of watching her eat ginger candy, rice crackers, or roe.

[ ]

I think of the dichotomy still inside me
I think of the dictatorship still inside me
I think of the dictionary still inside me
of the disciples of the blowtorch, and the burnt archangel

I think of the diet still inside me, and the solarium
rendering at the edge of me, and the ginger, and the diesel,
and the heat still inside me, an extreme kind
of realism inside me, dicing me, cauterizing the dice, diphthong

of whammy bar still inside me holding my head
down under the surface of the pool,
and I think of the breath as it bubbles
and I think of the voice inside it

and I’m still inside me
and I’m still inside me


What makes money make money?
Like an applause sign flashing the whole show,
a single red rose, like a plastic bag, digests
itself into a fist.

What makes people make money?
Milks tongue into cup, mints stainless steel
into chastity belt? How he never
sees the sun except when it’s about to set.

"What did the dollar say to the other dollar?"
“What do you call a dollar wadded in a hole?”
“I dunno, what?”

Like the interrogation of a staunch conformist,
Like the amputation of his eyelids,
Like the ceaseless price to see anything he loves.


    for Hannah Pass

I scratched the middle of my forehead with my mitten…
Sunlight crashed in a snow-covered field.
Just food coloring, not even real snow.
I pointed at the back of my head—

I crushed the middle of my head with a Lexus,
full plexiglass body, leather seats like compacted snow…
“Don’t touch the car,” I said to the tourists.
“Don’t move the victim,” I reminded them—

I fell in love with a certain part of my forehead
and thought about it all the time;
glaciers fucking just off-screen.
I glued memories to the clouds,

or mornings, I glued mornings, or snowballs felt
through clouds in my mission…

Endless Natural Pleasures

[She untied my clit as easily as
I understood God]

[And I became a memorial]

[And when I felt the blanket bloom into static
across her back, and I pushed past her skin and out
into the mouth around us]

[And when I felt her cock throbbing as my own muscle
and her hair twining my veins
and I decided to let the mouth eat me]

as completely the world slows down to sunrise

crawling over everything like silver birds

instead, I found even myself

looking through tall

slices of myself

The Shade Shines So

O where does my heartbreak throb, get
gristle, throng knuckle? Where do my
eyefuls assault? Yawning, coughing,
numbness. A lottery of senses.

Where does my defect twitch, my
lotus-eater act sentinel? Gasping,
gulping, snorting. Sans remuneration,
why does my labor comply? How wet

is my gurgling, how fatal the gurgling
of my navy? When is my compersion
my fabric, skin, meat? Lo-fi, sharpen, vignette;
a palace of nurture. Or where does my

breath make void, my voice-over
sing my nation into sweetener?

        —July 4th, 2014

Donald Dunbar

Donald Dunbar is the author of Eyelid Lick (Fence Books 2012). He lives in Portland, Oregon.


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