The Method[José Balmes, Realidad 10, mixed media and collage on wood, 1964]
A coffin is a poor substitute for a gag.
A voice grows larger in artifice: a child
pinned to a loom, a spouse crumpled
into bullet wounds on the porch
where every dog barks night’s slur.
The body finds its voice in a beartrap,
hurt, returning to the cause of every
terror and misery – the mistruth.
They are speaking from bagged heads,
gurgling their telegraph through black
water like a liturgy for the unforgotten.
Even from behind the yellow newsprint
is the law of transitivity—one voice breaking
through the obit, another taking the shape
of the voice to seal off the gaffer tape.
There are other lives waiting to etch
themselves on live grenades. The ash clouds,
the wailing, are drowned out by blood,
but murmur in the blood underneath, & so
remain as permanent as air, or walls, or
blood. Is this real: as in, does this correspond
to something outside themselves,
or does it last, even when they don’t think it?
They were asking too much about how the world
came to be so damp with blood, blood stamped
with peace, blood in the absolute center of things
like a dipole, until the pistols, sleek as Dobermans,
uncovered them. What was real against the wall,
do they linger once the last loud firecracker is spent?
Do they correspond to something outside themselves?
Rodney Gomez lives in Brownsville, Texas and works as an urban planner. His poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, Texas Poetry Review, Barrow Street, and other journals. He was a CantoMundo fellow and has received residencies from the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Santa Fe Art Institute.