A Psychological Asana
For today, or maybe even an hour, or no
longer than the time it takes to read this poem,
put aside “profession” as another word for
“persona.” Stick your naked hand in the chamber
pot of your identity and swish around
the contents, though they be old. It’s okay
to be afraid, to be thoroughly aghast. Note
what sticks and what repulses. You’ll have time
to scrub the sludge off at the end. Do not retreat
to the injustices of childhood. Do not splash
around like this is a game. Reach to the bottom,
stretch into the cold until you’ve made contact
with what lies down below. You may need to be
elbow-deep in order to press your hand down flat.
Once that’s done, let the contents settle. See
if you can withdraw your arm without rippling
the surface. Watch the muck drip from your fingers,
plink, plink, plunk. Take a breath: what stinks is
what’s ripe as well as what’s rotten. Shake hands
with the very next person you meet as if to say…
To Be or Not to Be on Ganymede
Exist at an outpost or risk the black hole,
this is the choice which lies before us,
whether we consign ourselves to staying on
the biggest moon in the solar system
or rocket ourselves into the vast unknown –
phasers and light sabers blazing – even as
we recognize our post-colonialist fervor comes
with a human bias. To analgize, to coma,
to nothing less than less then less unless…
The unconscious is a poor escape from pain
for the body was built for pain as much
as pleasure; the mind, for emotion, not logic
alone; the seventh sense goes undiscussed.
To disappear, to close one’s eyes; to close
one’s eyes and ears, to hibernate the soul
in a slumber inundated by images and urges
engineered by machines that fall outside
control. What dreams may come? And will
they be ours or will we foolishly think so?
We’re the idea made flesh in a flash, eternity
atrophied, the Sufi grain of sand (or salt?)
by way of Andromeda and the Small
Magellanic Cloud. With blue pills, sexbots,
and misapplied data from HAL, the system
has failed us. Immeasurably. Our purported
progress has been stripped of love, and law
as a merciful thing. Where are the stars
not destined for oblivion? Why do we giggle
at the cyborg clown in a bromide codpiece?
Or is this a case of the chronic hiccup?
Indubitably, there’s an afterlife outside remembering,
nostalgia, and the prayer. There are other dimensions
and forthcoming forms of existence as sure as
there are other religions. You may not find yours.
No need to rush. You’ll find out what’s what.
You’ll see what’s coming as soon as it’s done.
The Hollow Vessel
So this is what? A regulated rising to reveals
already shown? A triple-checked subsistence,
an unchecked poisoned power, a cushioned seat
that boosts one off the floor but fails to break
down nonbiodegradable remains that feed
the fire and the flood? So this is home?
Because the radiator clanks out the ice-cold breath?
Because the central air cools prison walls?
Because the keys most valued are ones which are strictly
meant to unlock doors to realms hitherto half-known?
What good’s a safe deposit box which cannot
hold what can’t be written down or cut? Where
is the key that unlocks lives in houses made of glass?
A literary grantee of the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation and Curious Elixirs: Curious Creators, Drew Pisarra is the author of “Infinity Standing Up” (2019) and “Periodic Boyfriends,” two collections of homoerotic sonnets published by Capturing Fire Press. Additionally, he was a participating poet at A Gathering of the Tribes two-day reading marathon at The Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet As It’s Kept and has had his poems published everywhere from “Food & Wine” magazine’s website to “Analog” sci-fi magazine.
Image: Beinahegut, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons