Poem for Eels
From the stillness of no normal comes
the harm –
the coral reef is bleached in its death,
but there is no normal; eels continue to slip in
and out of the brittle white gaps, their home
headed towards a little white collapse, no normal
affords the pitiful blight mishaps.
The normal boy looks at the stillness of the coral
and does not see anything not normal.
From there, the normal boy
becomes a psychofag; from there, he is lost
in the jagged woods, he thinks
the trees love him (please love him),
he holds pine needles close like the smell of
a new car, he crashes going the wrong direction
and gets off without a ticket.
I am running from the shrapnel,
bits of skin sloughing off
until I am painfully, palefully white
and there is nothing left to slough off.
This does not normally happen,
but when not normal happens,
it is best to let not normal happen,
so I just go out dancing.
I dance, shove my jagged collarbones
into the chest of a stranger (boy, white, normal).
He says there is no normal; I pretend
to believe him, we grind informal,
I bend but don’t leave him. he deepens
his color through me, in bed he looks right
through me, we get white then wipe and sleep in.
I am normal when I kiss a normal face
(this one is skin colored, has freckles).
I held his face with my fingers and
my fingers looked like bones; soon,
we are just bones together, bound together.
And normal bones are white, normal
bones are clean, normal bones let me
shift to somewhere in my life where I am alright
if the light is white and there is
nothing normal left to write.
The light turns white when the white boy
writes me to ask me on a date. For me, a chance
to be normal. For him, a glance across my face
to take in everything that is not normal.
The great white boy makes his great white choice
and I will become his great night toy.
My stomach does flips like it’s full of eels.
I arrive and I am flimsy, flippant, fucked up,
fighting against the urge I have to let my eye
be drawn to the blank space of his blank face
like an eel to a hole in the coral.
I feel immoral as my attention slips
into the emptiness, the default place
that stays open and waits for something
a little more chromatic to fill it up.
I am a little too chromatic to fill him up,
his body so normal, dry and white,
and mine so slippery, wet and blue from the water –
I slide into my sliding place and rest inside my resting place,
building up the strength to act
normally, just for fucking once you Goddamn Idiot.
I want to fill this space in me that is normally empty,
but that means looking and feeling horribly empty.
True enough, it should not be white,
but soon enough I’ll forget what night is like.
The normal white boy is everything between
ultraviolet and infrared.
I carry inside of me only things green,
multiple violent feelings dead.
I wish that were an accident,
but light is never an accident.
Light is never an accident because
it all turns white in the end, so long as
we are talking about what we normally do –
The way things should behave.
The way I should behave on this date
is obvious, bathed in white light – normal.
I squint at the bright and think about
what would be normal. The eye
normalizes to light through
contraction and dilation of the pupil,
a black hole in the coral of the face.
Eels slip in and out of my vision while
I try to focus on his normal eyes in front of me;
normally the blue iris would dominate my vision,
but right now his eyes are all black pupil,
and under fluorescent lights I know
that this might be because he likes me too.
My sight turns blue as I stumble and feel
and try not to mumble any more
And yes, it has been a short time in the grand scheme,
but I do not live in the grand scheme.
I live in Connecticut, the whitest state in the country.
I fall into my whitest state of fun-speak
to try to make this white boy like me
like I am normal.
“Are you feeling this right now?
Do you like it?”
(Does it feel normal?
Why can’t I stop looking at you?)
The date ends, I go home,
I tell my friends I’m not alone.
You’re the stranger white boy
emitting dangerous white noise
that keeps me from committing
to my own color and for some
reason I still like you.
Soon I’m high on York Street
but you’re on High Street.
I’d hike to your street,
but it’s yikes on Whore Street
as I learn that your sheets
are not normal with floor meat
like me inside of them.
I look at the reason that I still like you,
hold it in my hands like I held your face
when you were just white limbs dancing
and I was just the right him glancing across
the room until you crossed the room and
let me hold your face in my hands.
Facing the reason in my hands, I hold it
up to the light, hoping it holds inside of it
an explanation of why I still feel inside like
eels and tides are churning when I think about
your eyes’ dilation, and I hope the explanation
But the reason is covered in white.
I turn it over in my hands and try to understand
what else it could be but white. I try
to place it back into its homeland but
the reason is covered in white.
Shocked like the eels inside me were real,
I drop the reason. Crushed under my heel,
I turn away from the bright white light.
And now I know why your eyes
dilated. You did not feel joy for
the eel boy you could have dated
if he were a bit more normal, a bit
less shaded. But there is no normal.
Your eyes turned black as soon
as you saw me, and that’s not normal,
but there is no normal.
I stood there, brilliant and vibrant,
reflecting and refracting light out of my eyes,
my collarbones, my fingers,
and it all is going in the right direction,
hitting your face in the right direction.
This white boy got up to leave when
my light hit his eyes and he realized
I have no space in me for him to fill.