An old man is playing fiddle in my head.
At least that’s what the doctor says,
pointing, as he holds my MRI to the light.

He must be eating the same hotdogs
my nephew microwaves. My nephew sees
Bob the Builder everywhere—smiling

in sauerkraut, sawing in the drifting sky.
Afternoons he names me Bob, knocks
my knee with a plastic hammer. I’m half-

naked, shivery with chicken skin,
napkin-gowned. But I don’t laugh
because I think the veined cobweb

looks like Abe Lincoln’s profile on the penny.
So let’s pretend I’m not sick at all.
I’m filled with golden tumors—

love for the nurse who feeds me
to the machine. The machine worse
than any death—the powerlessness

of a shaved & strapped-down body.
Even in purgatory you can wear earrings
& though the music might crack a spine,

at least in that torture, the tears from your arm’s
needle marks are mouth-wateringly sweet.

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?