Kory Oliver


Mysteries of the Spirit World

A white woman
Wrapped in a dusty
Peasant dress
Like a thousand dying
Rose petals pressed against
Her skin
Tells me she can advise me
About the spirit world
How to commune with the
Souls of dead things or ghosts
I tell her I don't need any
Ghosts anymore  
That there are too many already
Waking up alongside me
Casting clumps of shade on
The still clean parts inside of
My mind
The yellow flowers perched
On top of my grandmother's
Dialysis machine
Calling out to me in a withering voice
Crying over their dead babies
The halo I tried to pull
On top of me like a shield
The crush of plastic and glass
Raining down from the heart
Of  my mother’s Madza
Like the hand of God
I tell the white woman
That the look on her face is not naive
But she is not grateful
Outside of my building
She is screaming about ghosts
Like a human symbol
Of this irradiated life
A naked sky that pops
Then fizzles before slipping
Back into the earth
Pleading for something I can't

Jesus Never Cried

Is the thought your ancestors used
To reason with the whip
Of sass and hair
Left in the wake of master's great
Which is to say a dumb heart and dark power
Is the cause of a lot of pain on this earth
How we accept the sky
That is not a sky
And its burning pollution
And glory, and love
Is the thought
You reason with like a hymn
A solemn choir
Is the thought  
You use to reason
With a white
House, a mouth wide
Like something sacred
And this is your kingdom
Hope curled into a soft kiss
Jesus, just think
How he never cries

A Thing

I am saying a thing and communing
with a spirit
My dark body splayed
Across a soiled heart

I am saying a thing and throwing
myself at the sea, at the earth,
At a God, at a thing I feel

And can’t.

I am saying a thing and resting
A thing that is so vulgar
That it makes you feel old

I am saying I am a thing that can’t
Say what I want to say, any longer.

I am saying: why do you think
I write these poems. Why do you think
I go on about the spirit and the soul

Again and again in the same way; forever.

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