Wednesday, February 9, 2011

‘Transmigration’ by Daniel LaBeau

When you wave behind the reporter
to get on the news,
you’re part of channel 7’s evening missive,
uneven parts dress, skin, shoes.
You send letters to yourself,
send yourself in letters
that collect in colorized pools
on our personal screen.
Closed in here, girl,

behind drapes, behind hints
of window and sun,
where we take up our heads
to see, with every sense
working at once,
it’s all you can do to laugh,
to collide with yourself
when you forget which houses
are yours.  You’re pictured

like this, this: under
traffic signals, light sprayed
across your hair, a red
giant condensing, defining
sweetly on the TV
5:07 p.m.  I see
you like I’d see a killer,
a president, a pedestrian
body of colors

which survive each other,
performance folded to
tape.  This is surely forever,
this will make you.
Make you last longer
than yourself, what you want
and I can’t give you.

I remember, you told me
about a church where a vial
of powdered blood from
a dead saint is kept.
You said every Easter
the blood liquefies, the seats
are full, everyone there
to see time disappear
into slow movement
and miracle.

We could shoot up
this blood, girl,
make ourselves
permanent in this world,
dig ourselves up one day
a year to smile for the cameras.
Our braided veins collapse
under spotlight,
get the shakes and hold hands,

punching at our pictures,
souls shaken into frame,
framing our angles, curves,
horizons.  There’s television
in our pasts, swallowing our childhoods,
hiding inside every memory,
television that runs all
through us, we can
make the stations change,
girl, feel them change,
in our hands, our hands,

We’ll prepare ourselves
with pancake make-up,
with hairspray, our costumes
modeled on dummies,
we’ll believe our lines
like we thought them
on our own, we’ll know
ourselves exactly, when
we become television.
It’s a show
where we’re created,
where stars explode in our living room
and we watch them hanging there
on strings, lifeless,
slow boiling, a space
where our faces
are sleeping before we are.

(published in Persona, 1992)

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