Three Poems from the Future: Josh Fomon

Our human shores

Absence makes of me a skeletal transmission. A future silence hummed into the ether.

In a fog of salt, the marsh blesses the morning. Reflects all our history, our inhuman attempt at living, the sentimental idea of power. We see nothing until it reveals itself or we seek out how far we can bleed. Human instead of human, another caterwaul clearing.

But this warm morning we wash ourselves against concrete slabs decaying. We watch misshapen waves pour flotsam water over a rippled tide. We seep bleach, outdo the limits placed on us like the water-soaked logs piling on dead streets.

A flapping door wags its life awake—I step through the frame, the threshold that once stood here, once saw the ocean at a distance—the water slams it back close. Slams it open toward heaven. This music we search out, this magic humans hoard, but always this slamming, this brackish song, this throttling praise. This new way of living.

Our human shores

BE I AND BAD BRINES

HOLLYWOOD SO AFRAID OF IT.

The kind of new motion of mouthing through the motions.

SHIFTED WORLD’S GAZE TO IT.

Still won’t change a thing.

DON’T BURN TREES TO FIGHT IT—LET THEM GROW.

Like a sinkhole, we are told to wallow.

WARN YOU OF ‘GIGANTIC’ IT.

Because we call a horde, we expose a killing, its raw tendrilled frame, its long tall tongue.

IT: MORE DAMAGE THAN WE THOUGHT.

We did not take to think, could not comprehend immensity.

WHY DOOM AND GLOOM WON’T HELP US FIGHT IT.

Why we can’t even say it and the rest of its pallor.

THEY WON’T STAND FOR INACTION ON IT.

But we do.

IT IS NOT A FIX FOR IT.

Watered down, I became.

DEPENDS ON YOUR RICHNESS.

Extradition of the murder, passing the buck with our hands in mating season.

IT IS SHAPING LIFE CHOICES.

Yet life choices don’t shape it.

IT IS A NEW DISORDER.

Today, I learned how to mouth my reflection on a mirror.

AN INACTION THEREIN. WORLD GRAVELY UNPREPARED FOR IT.

A room lush with blossoming lilies, a predilection for flowers.

YOUR BRAIN CAN’T PROCESS IT.

But we keep making out with the mirror.

THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT IT LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

We never stop talking, never stop to listen to silence.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

DEFT, IN YOUR AMBIGUITY.

UNTOLD BENEFITS OF IT.

That post-pregnancy glow, that boarded up ship, a clown out of water.

NO, IT WILL NOT END THE WORLD.

I will end you.

WHAT’S YOUR IT. THE CITY WANTS TO KNOW.

Ball gags and fist chains, a tenderness so queer, I want to make you quake.

YOUR ROLE IN COMBATTING IT.

Your inscription writ into my bones.

IT STILL THREATENS.

How empty have we become.

IT. IT PT. 2.

The sequel of apocalypse. A sheared-bare promise.

THE ANIMALS THAT WILL SURVIVE IT.

And in misery, I will be with you, here or otherwise burnt into your skin.

IT IS MAKING IT UNBEARABLE.

We remake the world into an equation of seeing beyond.

IT IS MAKING IT MORE DANGEROUS.

So am I. So am I.

Our human shores

This is because I face uncertainty wholly—a glottal reciprocity—a swelling heart inside my voice I cannot sustain. It chokes me like a python. My throat lubricates gaunt swallows, trickling remorse where I once had obsessions. It’s a kind partner in how we approach the world—just enough sensation to know we are being strangled, but not enough to taste it on the way down.

I don’t want to live in this world, at least not at this latitude—ice forms on my mustache in an instant. My mind fogs like the marshy wilderness. Categorically unfit for the shape of me, I descend. Into what is swimming in just enough to feel cold blown into my rib, holding me at a distance. Lowly capital. Baptism in heavy water.

I’m here in this colossal mediocrity. Spelling my own name. My own disaster. It’s yours. Ours. A dream made certain into caustic augury. I’m certain we’re here trudging through the mist. That in the morning I’ll have reached you.

I write eclectic visage. A prize for the end of the world. Bound, bagged, wedged into your fissures, let me swallow completely this tragedy—the waves lacquered, the floods mounting, hirsute this way of living.

My enemy spreads me like a plague. Here, now, an infinity raged.

Chemicals entrenched in biospheres, microplastics at every reach. Technofossils of the dam’s breach. We said we were waiting. For what? An impenetrable memory.

Originally from Iowa City, Josh Fomon lives in Seattle. His first book, Though We Bled Meticulously, was published by Black Ocean.

Image: wxpr.org

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