Paul Siegell


Life inhales 
Life screams breathes screams 
        transitions separates
Life appoints parents gets assessed a gender a name
Life gets pictures taken captured has no clue
Life cries hungers roots but fails to latch has no words

                    Life lists gets carried away 
                    Life weights heights gets tested wails 
                            whimpers gets swaddled
                    Life comes back 

What drastic calculus is this—What immeasurable layer 

of the fractal Life sneezes roots yawns plays its tongue  
Life squiggles overwhelms grunts poops gets sung to  
        smells so good

                          Life pleads 
                                  needs to be changed changes 
everything	  Life sleeps

How do we exact our gratitude—What the hell do we do now

Life coos cries pees farts finds its tootsies in its mouth 
Life hiccups terrifies gets tested whoa gets tested again
Life can’t keep its head up
       wraps a softness around a pinky screams 
       gets rocked kissed shooshed 

                    Life cries roots sucks   
                    Life sucks

Life took symphonies of dimensions to finally arrive

                    Life finally sucks 

X-OUTER. (FOR JEN STRAUSS AND ERIN CLOUD) “My cousin’s cousin drove truck and he just got killed. I assume it was an accident, but he got run over in a rest stop by another truck.” “Moving makes me realize that every time I say, ‘I have nothing to wear,’ I’m lying.” “There are fried plantains in the kitchen,” they said. “Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder arrested in $60 million bribery case.” @helpdesk how do I delete a dead Slack channel started by an ex-employee? There was nothing there. Damn fried plantain false alarms. GAMER. (GREEN MUSHROOM) Before I think “let’s play” after I just lost some layers of skin, fleshed to mess; and although a sharpshooter, I’m often cautioned into protective gear when repotting my cactus: As I am come from soup, I just don’t want it to be spoiled. “Breathe in. Bug out.” It’s a recipe and I am comforted by steps. Less so by the turbulence of landing on a toilet with an insecure seat. After several failed attempts, it’s like questioning a sign written in Braille glued to a funhouse mirror, so, totally, let’s talk photography: In time, Jack Spicer wrote, “Vibrate with frogs” and as I’m the flop of rubber chicken that, yo, if I, like, only had one life left, you know I’d wanna shish kabob the most soap bubbles with it—1-Ups!—1-Ups! DEMYSTIFIER. (“SECRET CHAMBER FOUND IN ANCIENT PYRAMID”)
Paul Siegell's most recent books are The Tongue They Shared (Moonstone Press, 2021) and Take Out Delivery (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018). He was Pennsylvania’s 2021 Montgomery County Poet Laureate.
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