Joe Rupprecht: “dear nebula,” a poem for Bad Survivalist

Bad Survivalist: Joe Rupprecht

dear nebula

1. swarms milk the sky’s geometry

our imaginary cocoons
embrace dead pupas
socketed with small
pearlescent eyes

the dark spits a gnat
from my whole floating

panorama as
moths flap
interludes of
loving you

the way they hurt me
is on my mind all the time

I was in their hands for playing with
a show of force
enough to want
to leave myself

and say to liquid space
I’m sorry the names it bears
pour from the corner of lights
at the absolute horizon

where unheard
drunk strums gulp
my porcelain ladle
our invisible moon

scooping water into
dead flies’ mouths
as if my aloneness had
a crystalline motion

2. vertical commute

the moon has
a different light than
a sphere that
won’t resent

sentience wallows in
resentment as a must
take the way to work               routed

by landmarks of
recursive rage

flimsy moonless skies froth
swell to burst my iron bridge

the white flowers
flutter down my
moody cascade

it happens exactly like that

a hypnosis of coursing traffic
floods my day with sludge
I swallow it for money
and fame and money
and I swallow the wet
clumps of sludge
make my way to the
source of the clumps of
wet sludge and feel
bad in the silence
my meandering makes

3. a dream of outer space

we mine horrific clumps
of centipede nests
cohereing into a floating
sludge with the texture of wet cotton balls

we pull out centipedes and say ‘got ‘em’
we read their brains

sift our fingers through the
mushy dwellings
halls filled with distractions
we keep losing track of each other

the dream suffices itself when you and I
enter a locker room full of animate mannequins of ourselves,
and we pick a spot on the cold tile floor to lie down and die.

. . .

On the day preceding my dream I killed a centipede in the shower. I didn’t clean up its squashed body because the twitching of its legs made me uncomfortable.

4. becoming mannequin

which one of us here is liable?

the cold tile floor
in a house of plastic
wrapped furniture

which one of us isn’t coming back?

you come
to a house seemingly
far from the labyrinth
of any dream

you’re telling me
you wouldn’t break into pieces
every pane of glass
steal the knobs off
all the doors

they came into me

and into my mind
and they swallowed
my sludge and they
stole knobs off each
of my broken doors

why wouldn’t you?

5. letting go

I am always trying and failing to show you my aloneness

I love you when you don’t listen to me like the sky

it doesn’t have ears

the night after writing this I killed a centipede
I smashed it with the white pillar I stole from
the staircase it took so long to die I had to
smash it piecemeal

you’re welcome god
I love you god

if only you could hear this broken song

you would say it doesn’t quite add up

it’s a silly little staircase to nowhere

the stars don’t come down so easily

the pain will still be there in the morning

darkness swallows our moon faster
and faster each night until it’s gone

it’s always just exactly
as we’ve known it

the unthinkable
doesn’t stop
because we think about it

it’s always just exactly until
it’s never quite been
just how you would

and then you’d leave, god
you’d leave and say
keep trying

Joe Rupprecht is a poet living in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in Prolit, Soft Surface, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Full Stop, SAND, Peach Magazine, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. He tweets @heterofobe.


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