Beautification Campaign

Alex Lemon

Liposuction for everyone who can recite
the Pledge of Allegiance! Lip gloss, Lee
press-On Nails arrive weekly in the mail.
The turkey is always fat free & the cottage
cheese is nothing but protein. Helicopters
drop leaflets, but in truth, no one understands
the food pyramid. & so I’m inconsolable—
I can’t get rid of these love handles. The woman
in the radio tells me to eat more hearts
of palm but I don’t know
what they look like. Bundles of skin-
tight tracksuits are thrown on each stop
like the morning paper & I think gastric
bypass is the answer for me. I stay up late
& cut out coupons for Botox injections,
but there’s no money left, so I whiten
my teeth with bleach. I toss & turn in the middle
of the night, listening to Wide-Awake Sammy
riffle through the trash outside. He doesn’t sleep
& I can’t stop thinking about my love
handles. When I turn the kitchen light on,
I can see him out there—filling his bag
with recyclables, his belly with whatever drops
from the half-empty cans. At the table, I fondle
my love handles & tell the cat that I’m not afraid
of science. Cut ‘em right off me & feed ‘em
to the dogs. But I have to admit, I’ve been
disappointed—you can’t taste the range
in those free-range hogs. I say let all of the beef
be beef fed. I want night vision
after eating a plate of salmon. Let the teats
of cows drip with the sweetest honey. I want
my baby spinach made with real, 100% baby.

More by Alex Lemon

operation: get down

       It is very
       Common
              To have

       A cave within us
              To hide

       Away in when it all
       Seems hopeless. To cry

              Tears of mostly blood.

       To feed on the day-
              Dream in which

       Side mirrors shear off
              Of your car

       As the walled road
                     Narrows.

       To swerve might make...

       There is a saint for the down
       & out. A rock is a rock

              Is a rock & redwood
              Trees grow out
                     Of our chests.

       It is horrible & right,
              Here in this place. Dum

              Spiro, spero.
We're all in
       This shit together.

All Us Beautiful Monsters

The entire world wants
To pretend to be a foreigner
In a big box store & wander
The aisles shouting, endlessly—
But I am pretty sure that today
Is my day to not just be a guy
But to be the guy. A baby grows 
In each drawer of the million-
Drawered cherrywood cabinet
That is my head & to keep
This army of tender brutes warm
Before heading to the strip mall,
I put on your coonskin hat.
I swallow a fist of stones
You stole from the Alamo.
It is like it is each time—not
Just like returning to the womb—
It is as if the womb sucked me up
Into the starlight like a spaceship.
Nothing came before us, I suppose.
Tonight, we will once again forgive
Ourselves for the people that have
All gone missing while under
Our care. Fireworks will splash
The sky with a pink wave & we
Will both jump back, feigning
To look at what we’ve done, exactly
In the same way. Like lobsters
Hammering missives back & forth
With claw & rock, when it goes
Black, we will bang our fists
On whatever’s closest to speak
To each other about
The loveliness all over us.

Better Get Better

Each night, the suffer-
Gleamed stars above
Texas crush down & I do

Not know how to say
No thank you, please
To the jawing ghosts

That show up to gnaw
Furrows in my chest.
The wind whispers

Hotly. Nightjars
Polish the darkness
Free of moths.

I refuse to let go
Of my paranoia
Because it assures

Me that I am alive,
Living the dream,
A limited edition

One-life-in a life-
Time offer of bones
That glow in the dark.

Morning comes metallic
Over the lakes of blood
I bucket by bucket splash

Out of the window. Wiping
Sweat from my brow

I am like Baby, Baby, how
Lovely is all this glitter?