THE CHOICE IS REAL ❋ Jayson Keery
This work won The 2021 Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. You can order the published collection here.
What whispers have you? Circle secrets. Candle to the chin.
Woman-shaped shadows walk the lawn. They call it gossip,
what we do. Windchime warnings, as they haunt the
parameters of our picket fence. Our picket, performing the
chore of protection. Our fence, a slight string of sighs,
insinuations. A flutter of freckled moths form a mosaic against
our window, shield us from their gaze, carry whispers to the
wind, searching for other fences and flames with which to kill
ourselves, over and covert again. Bitch hunt. They call it
complaint. We become the trouble by invoking its name. They
tell us we are poison and therefore vaccine. Drain milk from
our bodies. Dig graves in our lawn. They call it lies. Hysteria.
Throw dirt on the herstory, Freud’s flaccid exposure, we were
all just touched by Daddy after all. Funny, how they want to
hear the names we whisper, never those we shout. Our fence,
the whites of averted eyes. The mosaic is a picture of our tits.
HAVE IT YOUR WAY
Let’s say I’m turned on by the ball pit. At Burger King,
we call it Play Palace. This the type of memory that shivers
tinsel when touched. I am encased, in a glistening globe of
soft-boiled plastic. Dewed sweat dripping like flies. Behind me,
the nervous twitch of netting. Before me, a slide. The pit. The
children shrieking at the balls. The parents.
It is perhaps pertinent to note here, I too am a child.
I am safe in my perch. Poised for a sensual descent. I must
permit myself this pleasure. I’ve had a hard day being a child.
The pit. The parents. I watch them watching. Children from
the waste up. There is something to this. A strategy, yes. For all
I know, their genitals are plastic, smooth like baby doll. Like
the balls glittered in spit. Bleach-fume oblivion, a hot breath
out the mouth of the slide, beckoning. I take a last look
through the porthole. The chaos of children who snuck fries
into the pit. Greased pagans slinging spheres of primary color.
Creation. Now is a good time to tell you, it’s Christmas Eve. In
my mind, all of the children are some sort of Jew-ish. To me,
Jew-ish means me, means something uninteresting and
elsewhere. Who else would be here, on this day, in this
shimmer of moment, between things. The palace. The parents
are the christians and their crotches. Curious that there is
something rather than nothing. That all of these children were
made for what. For their upper halves. Their mouths. For what
goes in them. In. Are they really having it their way. These are
the sites in which we are taught choice. I slide. Friction tickles
out a suggestion of body hair. Pursuing my fullest pleasure, I
lick the plastic interior. My tongue crackles, bubble wrap. I’m
safe. Swallowed. For a moment I forget form. The words I’m
held to. Then. A rush of panic. The prismatic light growing.
An arachnid forcefield spindling into my groin. I land. The
sticky pit slow, infuse me into its sugar-sweat and oils. Pleasure
when I feel nothing. I want to slip a ball into my panties. So I
do. Have it my way. The smooth fupa of a Ken doll. Or fuck
it, why not Barbie, if I push in. Pop. Pleasure. My momentary
shiver cut short by shouts. Children, alarmed, drop their fries.
But it is not them. It’s me. The parents. I am told to split,
meaning, to go elsewhere. To get out. Out.
THE CHOICE IS REAL
I wake up most mornings
to do what.
Dress my genitals for
occasion. What odd
twat cravat. A
Hanes their way.
Fruit of the looming
Will I bite.
I wake up
to find I am
asked to stand. Like
brothers and sisters.
The scroll of psychic
pinpointed my ambiguous
organs. I’m a match. Struck
and drafted into a
Keep it boxed and brief,
boring means boring into
the Man. We’ve got work to do
being normal and all, given
birth with no receipt,
this way. This certain way.
As if we had no choice.
As if we had no bodies to
move from. As if children
had no bodies. To move
from dream to cloud to
the rain somehow real
against my window.
I can stand it, the thought
of her here with me. Baby,
I know she wants to show.
Something of a tender
thong song drifting