local_library A Letter To My Brain

by Michael Broek

Published in Issue No. 161 ~ October, 2010
When the brain asked, “Are you saturated yet?”
                                  “Are you saturated yet?”
I thought I had misheard, maturated, pasteurized, stratified, satisfied, 
the echoes of my lobes, random thoughts: tree – vagina – coffee – vagina
Bakhtin, did he get laid – chocolate muffin – another word for vagina –
rattling like box cars at the train depot, clank, clanking
together a syntactical long-haul express, destination my tongue,
                                   but the third, enunciated, “ARE-you-SATURATED-yet?”
unmistakable. It was the yet that chafed, sounding Faustian,
an affirmative signaling, well, that I would wake up
                                   no arms, no legs, no eyes, nameless, wordless,
banging my bandaged head against a hospital bed in Morse Code:

          tap, tap, tap, long dash, long dash, long dash, tap, tap, tap

because I had Boy Scout Morse Code, which was like menu French, only
I'd get it wrong, O-S-O for S-O-S, the doctors scribbling OSO on my chart,
from Oslo.

“Yet,” frightened me, too much like bet, fret, het (if I said hit like a Southerner – het)
so I did what Proust wrote all young men do
when faced with a question of mortality, I skipped it: minused “yet,” like paring
off a misbehaving limb.

“Are,” a form of “to be,” also a letter of the alphabet, and I am, after all,
dependable sources report.
“You,” a synonym of “yew,” which grew in the field next to my house when
I was a kid, also a letter,
so I minused these, too, too imprecise, ontology succumbing to philology,
confusion to action, which is why men start wars,
took “saturated” as my especial problem, devised a definition:

earth following the hurricane, just before the dike bursts,
Polyfil-stuffed toys swirling in the mud; blood, maked-up lips;
                                   Scarlet A's; seaweed green, the color
of all the thoughts of all the creatures hunkered inside a coral blossom;
the cat after the rain; the neighbor locked out of her house; the bride
before the wedding night – the groom after; your artichokes stuffed with
bread, garlic, lemon, oil, delivered while I lie in bed; the moisture
between your thighs and in my beard,
yes and yes and yes. Dear mind, dear allusive brain, how many buckets
                                    does your spongy matter hold?
Where your questions, when spilled?

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Work from Michael Broek's manuscript, Moby-Dick as an Allegory of Our Bed, has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Literary Imagination, Parthenon West, MiPOesias, George Washington Review, Del Sol Review, and Fourteen Hills. He has received the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a Poetry Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts.