A season of slime
Through the early pandemic, blame: bat blood
spread across a city’s chopping boards.
Ash paste smeared on all palms
and instructions to wail.
As if everyone drove oil rigs into lush mud.
As if everyone makes trunks seep with both hands.
As if the workers who droop behind counters.
As if those locked in dorms and pushed into trucks.
In the early pandemic, I watched a video showing
how to completely cover your hands in black paint.
Of course it symbolised soap, but I couldn’t see past it.
Black ooze from dispenser nozzles. Black handprints
on my pants, mask noses, lift buttons.
Lumps trickling down the dark back of my throat.
I don’t think people are a virus.
I do think some of us are snotworms.
Snotworms live in the bones of dead whales.
Glue to the corpse they can’t live outside of.
Dribbling out acid to melt and thus eat.
Growing grand off what falls from the nose of the dollar.
In some myths the world begins as slime:
a slurry of mud, divine sneezes or cum.
Stretched between a god’s fingers and shaped into crystal.
I’d give anything to be held between a man’s hands,
kneaded, awakening, fresh prints in my skin.
So much life starts in slime: amoebas, people,
salp colonies with phlegm nets, fresh balls of new slugs.
So much slime from inside eggs,
between bodies and joints.
I will stand with my dredged legs, my columns of snot.
We can rise ever dripping, ever gathering our muck.
Touch our palms to the dream, and then handle that clear gel.
To some new pull and toughening,
some faceting flash.
Violent Attack of the Living Ghost!!
Limb from limb and nose from nose;
I rise from myself like a sticky mist.
My body beats and squirms behind me.
My body stumbles like meat behind me.
My body has plain nails and wears its pants.
My body acts like a stunned virgin, the slut.
It pockets and wads its joy like old tissues.
Moves between buildings like a pale mantid
bending its knees with the swaying leaves.
I scatter and peer through every window.
I lay a ghost neck over grey fence and hedge.
It’s been so long since you reeled me back in.
Laid your nipple on mine, your tongue to my throat.
So long since I found myself seated inside me.
Spoke in a room with the windows flung open.
I tug my body through crowds
like drag car parachutes. I cross country lines
as it sweats to the news. I board and board buses
as my body pants, seated. People part
all around it like air or white fire.
I screech and paw at the shower
as it stares from the floor.
At dinner it smiles.
I wreath my mother’s hair and hiss.
She smiles at the meat, the cut of its teeth.
It eats like there was never a problem on earth.
Jack Xi (they/he) is a queer, disabled poet. A member of the writing collective /Stop@BadEndRhymes (stylized /s@ber), they have been published in OF ZOOS, Wyvern Lit, Perverse, Freeze Ray, Cartridge, and several Singaporean anthologies. jackxisg.wordpress.com