Michael Martin Shea
from THE IMMANENT FIELD
The first time I had sex I was too drunk to remember it ⋅A political machine made entirely out of babies ⋅ The first affair occurred in a different time zone, or in a different zone of time ⋅ On the train, a politic of still-living bodies ⋅ Zoning laws prevent the poor from occupying our sense of nation ⋅ On the train from Portland I ate a pot brownie and kept picturing my body careening from the window ⋅ The zone of the law inverts what it calls our real lives ⋅ What music makes is not imaginary ⋅ I’m calling on you, lord of the tropical nausea ⋅ The garden house was the full sum of our outer imagination ⋅ I’m calling on you, lord of the remote handjobs ⋅ I’m thankful enough not to have the outward signs of perversion ⋅ Lorded over like some kind of porcupine nocturne ⋅ I’m thankful now for the deliverance of babies ⋅ Like some kind of pork rind straight from the mini-mart ⋅ Abjection delivery service is available for an additional fee ⋅ The Martian experience was cancelled because we couldn’t get along here ⋅ The artist must always resist being in service to empire ⋅ Cancellation of our grand narrative was met with resistance from originating parties ⋅ The artist’s relation to the object of art is one of both service and pity ⋅ Taking pot shots at our grandest achievement: the bank ⋅ The object of art is not to lay prone in the backyard while the morning glories wither
from THE IMMANENT FIELD
A line continues forever regardless of our feeble presence ⋅A tenuous attempt to prove my capacity for human emotion ⋅ Presently, I don’t think about death so long as I’m moving forward ⋅ I capsized my little boat in brackish waters and waited for the warmth ⋅ I moved across the country to live with a beautiful and fearsome woman ⋅ What houses of warmth we offer, wringing our selves ⋅ I’m in love with a woman who lives in the bathtub ⋅ The house of our elder lords is itself a minor shadow ⋅ Love does not extend itself as a purgatory for other loves ⋅ The minority of my art is a result of my utter comfort ⋅ Pages of work only prove that I was alone with myself ⋅ A comfortable robe robs the artist of productive fire ⋅ Disrupted and alone, suffused and alone, throwing our cell phones at the wall and alone ⋅ In church, I was told to be “on fire” for god without explanation ⋅ A casual case of loneliness can lurk in any apartment ⋅ “Poetry isn’t about anything” is a way of explaining that I have no idea what I’m doing ⋅ I let myself in using the key under the mat and promptly went about searching for BDSM paraphernalia ⋅ A presumption of knowing is in alignment with the holders of law ⋅ I let myself believe that the desperation of others secured my future ⋅ I know the shadows that come with internet porn ⋅ The future belongs to WalMart and all its naked stockholders ⋅ I named my first child Pornografica, after her mother
from THE IMMANENT FIELD
What the collective wants is often boring, like the movies ⋅I was called upon to donate my body to the artist’s fund ⋅ Just wanting a more engaged and loving society has never stopped a drug war ⋅ Once, she called me “babe” ⋅ I was engaged to a fabricated life plan ⋅ She called me “drummer boy” ⋅ The fabric of my days grew pills from over-washing ⋅ She called me from San Antonio to say that she’d been assaulted ⋅ Fabricated currency still buys the lives of real artists ⋅ She called herself a cheater but it was the afternoon and I was too drunk to understand what she really meant ⋅ The artistic temperament is no license to be a negligible asshole ⋅ A proliferation of pronouns precludes the easy separation of the sections of my life ⋅ Temperance as faith in your natural abilities ⋅ A finite sectioning as required by our fallible senses ⋅ I am not able to see my life as a continuation of object-states ⋅ Where are the space rangers who promised us infinite planets? ⋅ I’m the guy with the shovel who’s yelling “We don’t have to be afraid anymore” to no one in particular ⋅ The space required for communal action restricted by zoning laws and apartment-style housing ⋅ I’m the guy sharpening his shovel in the bathroom and dreaming of exotic pizzas ⋅ The death of our parents had us zoned for re-development ⋅ The absurdity of my life does not necessitate digging a big hole to fall into
Michael Martin Shea lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. A former Fulbright Fellow to Argentina and current managing editor of Best American Experimental Writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Conjunctions, jubilat, PEN Poetry, Pleaides, RealPoetik, Tammy, and elsewhere.