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Perhaps I Should Breathe Now
Deep in the Night
Shift and Return
Through Clouded Eyes
Dionizing Thought
Unsteady Barometric Pressure

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poems & stories

Breathe Now

Perhaps I Should Breathe Now
By Phlip Arima

the water I am floating in is still, it and I
are the same temperature, the ceiling is only
a few breaths away, there is an indefinite possibility
I might start to think, the difficulty is deciding
on a suitable subject

schools have bars guarding their windows,
cameras look through titanium-infused
atmospheric disturbances, the music
on the radio is hypnotic repetition,
names and numbers are always

sex is a risk I constantly take,
holding the genitalia of the big boys
on the block, phosphorus death lights the sky,
a socialist framework with a capitalistic attitude,
speak with eyes protected, hide underneath
over-stuffed pillows

in the commercials all the women
have double-jointed pelvises, tender hands leave marks in
desiccated flesh, metal detectors line the doorways
of classrooms, the today in my mind has no
external expression

a chimpanzee without hair
tells how it once was, a light goes out,
a television turns on, herb gardens in cities
produce flavourless leaves, the tofu I consume
is mostly synthetic

I open my eyes as far as they will go,
the muscles in my forehead spasmodically quiver,
I imagine they communicate with another dimension,
something that lives there taps into my thoughts,
perhaps I should breathe

now every number contains a gig of information,
pharmacologically hyped clones have
replaced thinking people, lingerie is made in
every colour, the ceiling is smooth,
impersonal, opaque

a bubble
is trapped in the small of my back,
it's like a pet gerbil that does not squeak,
doesn't run in a wheel, doesn't eat or excrete,
to give it value i must find it a name

let the white collars
stay stiff, let the riot-cops
shoot, let the rope binding my elbows
to my knees tighten like a snake
constricting prey

a kitten purrs,
all advertisements promise
relief from some

moving my toes creates tiny waves,
they bounce off the walls and
return to their start,
they don't make much noise,
don't have any colour,
they stop being as simply
as they became

the music
on the radio is saturated static
these are my papers, they show my infection
within tolerable limits, ten minutes alone is
all we need, knowing your name
would be a quaint touch,

I should breathe
uranium fallout, stealth,
if I open my mouth the water will get in,
the sound in my throat will be trapped forever,
the hope that I harbour will turn a dark green

the bubble moves, the ceiling shifts,
hair from my body sinks through the water,
I want to roll over and watch it swirl,
it might make a pattern that has
some meaning, be subject
for thought, reveal a name

for a gerbil
value is measured in american
dollars, teachers click televisions
to blatant commercial, thinly fleshed faces
look up at the night, satellites network
with one another, the today in my mind
has no external expression

all numbers succumb to one
and zero, a group of children
torture the kitten, bloodstained lingerie
floats near my hand, refugees eat photographs
of homes they once loved, the men in the commercials
all use the same face

perhaps I should breathe now,
kick and scratch and screech at the water,
tighten my fingers into threatening fists,
stand up in this box even if it means I crack
my head

outside the window gunships circle,
inside my mouth my teeth are aching,
my tongue is swelling, the music on the radio
is beat without rhythm, all the pillows are crushed flat
from years of abuse

space stations in the sky represent progress,
the children giggle, the water cools,
pressure in my ears forces my eyes
shut, my toes are numb
with paralysis

I am constipated
and aroused, I am hungry
and frightened, I am beginning to see the aura
of all existence: hope turning green, I want to believe
the promises are real, perhaps I should breathe
now the bubble

has imploded, my infection increases, other dimensions
are beyond my reality, the numbers on my plate
taste the same as poster paste, the today
in my mind has no external
expression, I have

lost your name, the kitten is dead,
commercials are remastered with digital sound,
deep in my bowels tofu turns sour,
there is an indefinite possibility
I might start to think.

By Phlip Arima

body lit red on bed,
the fantastic convoluted complexity
of an empty singularity, wire reinforcements
beneath cheap lace, shapeless anxiety
dancing with eyes shut, leather laces
running up waxed legs

the stale scent of desire
trapped in the sheets, whispered words
bouncing back unheard, a plant on the floor
reaching for the window

a majority rule
without consideration for the individual
sour with sweat, a dollar buys a pound for not more
than an hour, a light grows dim, a pen runs dry,
a percentage is paid for effective service

she is called incredible, she is promised
a palace, she is left alone without
a hug, one shadow turns to three,
turns to infinity, the mirror on the ceiling
constantly distorts, image does not
reflect the thought

the sound of groans echo back
from other rooms, every act is a trial,
the victim forever found guilty

there is a memory
that lifts and liberates, a child
once laughed while sitting on daddy's lap,
in a box near the bed is an award
for good spelling

at dawn there will be
a short reprieve.

Deep in the Night
By Phlip Arima

pre-dawn drizzle
on a tattooed soul, expectation
amputated from faith, inside a skin
less innocent than old, waiting for the angels
to fall from the sky

rapture and thrust,
high-strung and hard, little things dying,
moaning in the crowd, the heart seldom beats in
rhythm with wisdom, dreams like serpents
twist with thought, the nature of fire
is to always consume

high-strung and hard, high-strung
and hard, inhale the fantastic, cough and choke,
teeth can be broken chewing on hope, in spiritual chaos
angels die, feel the storm slash
through the crowd

know that the gut can
seldom feel just, just rapture and thrust,
high-strung and hard, inside a skin less innocent
than old, the inarticulate caresses cerebral
anxiety, listen to the voice of
an urban world

lonely concrete, electric light, hustle
of a squeegee against cold glass, something
for throat, something for vein,
something for under
pulsating tongue

amputated from faith, rapture
and thrust ,rapture and thrust, ideals are anchors
slow to rust, potential is myth, future
flux, beat in rhythm, dawn
burns the crowd.

Shift and Return
By Phlip Arima

if is the first word I learned to say
I read my horoscope everyday

this lottery ticket is going to win, I can drink more
than I could at ten, the walls are thick, all mirrors lie, I walk
like a robot, I talk with machines, all the virtues, a few select vices,
the floor is long, the ceiling is wide, under my hat is synthetic hair,
mass advertising shapes my desire, it looked good in the window,
it's guaranteed, tell me a story I'll hear what I want,
each ache can be medicated

if funds are available, I pick out the breasts
I'm going to get, control-alt-delete, I once saw a book
with pages and ink, my watch has a dial for every time zone,
this food was grown with twenty-two steroids, these condoms taste
like passion fruit, a game of bingo begins every hour, I had ice cream
for breakfast, cake for lunch, nothing on the menu
looks right for dinner, I am listening for

a sonic boom, hit the return, shift and repeat, tell me
a story, I'll pretend to listen, the sign on the door says this way
out, drugs are cheaper than buying new nerves, I deposit my children
in private schools, these twenty-dollar coins are made of aluminum,
it looked good in the on the mannequin, it's guaranteed, I beat up a machine
at queen and bay, the walls get thicker, the floor gets shorter
plastic plants last longer than live ones, I got my teeth

at a second-hand shop, the delete key on the wall is smooth
and faded, this lottery ticket is going to win, the contacts I wear
make mirrors look better, I picked out the penis I'm going to get, exit
signs glow all through the feature, today is the beginning of the end
of my life, I saw a religion that just might work, the forecast
for tomorrow has not been decided, I have a condom
stuck in my throat, everyone says

they like my hoarse voice, smoking a cigarette
makes me a rebel, ten fewer pounds I'll look intelligent,
control-alt-delete, my nerves are louder in lightless rooms, I consider
a loft in an underground building, all the virtues a few select vices,
I sell my body for more than it's worth, it looked good on the
computer, it's guaranteed, tell me a story I'll repeat
it better, the walls get thicker, the floor gets shorter

if is the first word I learned to say
I read my horoscope everyday

a low pressure front slowly moves through the region,
get the eyes right, see in fluorescent, overwhelming
information, I tint my lashes to match my nails,
sexualize the moment to change
its value, hit

the return, shift and repeat, wind rising stains
on my underwear, I blindly scrub a thirty-second
spot, swallow a list of affirmations, all the virtues
a few select vices, contaminated rain feared
and expected, the delete key on the wall is

smooth and faded, I paint my lips thick, the sun
is turned off, the screen refines apathetic disposition,
electronic relaxation increases the tension, a low
pressure front slowly moves through the
region, stiletto heels dogmatically

march, acid rain pits aluminum siding, vinyl
foundation perfects my face, the creatures
with property dig themselves in,
all the virtues, a few select
vices, I lie in a puddle

denying the dark, count the threads
in a designer suit, sexualize the moment
if funds are available I use extra-strength
generic deodorant, photocopy menus without
permission, fact verification

is a futile task, overwhelming information, a professional
manicure would make me feel safe, I knot my tie straight,
rain to sleet, a low pressure front slowly moves
through the region, personal power
is a commodity

I cannot afford the study of ethics
is considered immoral, the hungry forget it is crucial
to hunt, I polish my teeth, the walls get thicker, the dark
gets denser, a thin sheet of ice covers the puddle,
I add more conditioner to my hair,

if is the first word I learned to say
I read my horoscope everyday

each ache can be medicated to change
its value, all the virtues a few select vices,
the street is only a few steps away, another
credit card should arrive

today, hit the return shift and
repeat, each and every one of us
is the enemy, I saw my father watching
from the mirror, tension describes

a complex pattern, I feel the sickness
at the edge of each eye, my watch says the door
will no longer open, tell me a religion
I will believe

the parts I hear, control-alt-delete, I so
want to sleep, this lottery ticket has already
lost, overwhelming information, the floor
is gone, the puddle

is solid, I download all the colourful
catalogues, key on the wall,
nerves as loud
as a sonic


Through Clouded Eyes
By Phlip Arima

blood on the floor does not surprise, blood on the wall
does not frighten, blood on the bed
is basically normal

a dog leaves its dirt on the moral
high ground, crates of food fall with designer
bombs, the name I was given is not one I use

a nerve is cut to interrupt blush, a nerve is cut
to reorient shame, a nerve is cut for fear
control cannot be maintained

rent paid with credit, cosmetics
with cash, a beauty queen smiles in a soiled
gown, the dog returns to sniff its accomplishment

the same commercial in a variety of colours, the same
commercial on every channel, the same commercial
selling different products

a coke is swallowed every ten seconds, high-paid diplomats
haggle over prisoners, brothels employ
the uncrowned contestants.

Dionizing Thought
By Phlip Arima

teeth-ripped nipples corseted in leather, steel beast throbbing
between my legs, mercenary partner up and downloads, wind sharp
cold, engine heats, bliss disintegration makes children scream, a long
way from anywhere I want to be, fine grains of sand cut
into my face, the established look on with immoral
indifference, subtle paranoia, clutch and let
go, limited throttle

control, rubber on road, adrenaline licks from the edge
of a memory, muscles contract across stiffening joints, monstrous
cherubs, race toward me, mimic the children with sardonic laughter,
taunting cackle, disdain, sneer, I quickly disappear into opaque
feedback, an arid environment flirting with fire, behind me
I sense a half finished burial, the skin that I bite

familiar, intense anti-intimate gistless sex, the choking sensation
just prior to crying, starless sky as flat as the earth, stock photos sell
lust from polychrome billboards, tailpipes burn a searing white,
in the distance I sense a psychotic break, salt streaks back
from the corners of my eyes, review mirrors begin to
crack, feedback absorbs romantic desire, hot
razors entice

every synapse wirelessly linked into the machine, the memory races
around my conscience, I pray for vindication instead of escape, the
cherubs take on the guise of policemen, body proud, selfish,
horrifically pierced, abuse will inspire the children
to be violent, fire starts to burn from a guilty
hand, I look from the road to left
and right, watch people

in infatuation, see voracious creatures
violently surface, push the revs into the red, loosening bolts
near the ends of their threads, wind sharp cold, clutch and let go,
foreplay, flirtation, deionizing thought, I pass the displaced
hitchhiking on hope, refuse the temptation to slow
the engine, reduce my needs to binary
language, vanilla comparison
of silicon

ideals, control the machine through
nerve-shattered circuitry, the children grow
cynical and drop into vanity, chic punk, feedback, masochistic
anti-emotional routine sex, the memory expands my
frontal lobe, geriatrics look on with senile
acceptance, I lie on the tank and twist
the throttle, open my mouth to
challenge the cherubs,
whisper the name

I want to forget precision
calculation of speed and matter, sordid erotic
aspiration, screams that are never fully mourned, barely
living scrub on both sides of the road, wind sharp cold, taillight
dark, I imagine an audience rioting for justice, listen
to the engine rise in pitch, clutch and let go,
orgasm, post-play, deionizing thought,
the flesh that I chew
has a texture

I know
overdrive, hypocrisy, brutalized
trust, fine grains of sand reduce visibility,
insects die against my lamp, I skid from the feedback
into reality, speed wobble, frame-shake, fire
from the billboards, the cherubs attack
with help from the children,
the memory I swallow
will not be

Unsteady Barometric Pressure
By Phlip Arima

broken glass breath, sacred shine, screeching jazz, glistening sweat, hot
with the sad-shake symphony, which death to die today: suffocation
in the silent scream, an aneurysm on the rush, liquid blind
and inhalant deaf, rock-n-reggae-techno-roll, tonguing blood
from frigid diamond, fatal nuance, a pirouette in fashion
flash, all in white gone black, city boxes, towering steel,
the fast high feel, bliss piss and night sweats and
five hundred stations to choose from,
which death to die today:
weird crazy, corporate bored, dreamy catatonic
helpless wish negotiating, amphetamine memory coming on
like the slow song at the end of a high school dance, barometric pressure
unsteady, eternally searching the popular shroud, brain lame and
sexually haunted, this is a religion that has no church,
this is a service subject to taxation, this
is a recording that will be repeated
until the power fails, which death to die today:
psycho-social orgiastic burn-out, masochistic martyrdom,
stitched in a pattern that has yet to be designed, a talk with god
on a spook-tapped line, randomly bookmarking every site on the web,
another drink of throbless panic, hot with the sad-shake symphony,
bliss piss and night sweats and barbiturate dream kicking in
like pseudo punk at an angry demonstration, clouds
of indecision, barometric pressure unsteady,
choose a new diet, a different cosmetic,
a colour that does not reflect the light,
which death to die today: accelerated decadence
decay, coughed up through kill love dreams, addicted to
the repulsively attractive hallucinogenic visions
of angels smearing distortion
across the horizon like
operatic euphoria
on a flood-lit stage, embrace the manipulating
apparatus, taste the corrosive kiss, search for a partner
that hasn't a face, age, name, date, place, history
is the score the music

a fantasy realized is a dead dream
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