No. 8-9


Rachel Loden  


                     after Desnos

I lived in those times. For a thousand news cycles 
I have been dead. Among the giant smiling 

Austrians I was a girlie man. As diaphanous as Bush’s
brain, as feverishly sensitive as Cheney’s heart.

I lived in those times, yet I was free.
I watched the armored cars, the windflowers, the sky,

all moving past me, achieving their balance.
I drained my glass of sludge between atrocities.

Living people, how have you coped with your luck?
Have you cleared away the old heroic city?

Do you regret the days when deaths were fungible
and traded zealously among the hooded slaves?

Manly men, think nothing of me. I am dead. Nothing 
survives of my spirit or my intolerable maidenhood.

My Subject

Second fitting with tutu, sequined crown, pink parasol. Tightrope across the laboratory. Singing: Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal.

Small contretemps. Ambulance to the Med Zentrum in Bad Ragaz. Subject tearing at bandages.

Sits up in bed at last, stares blankly at the Alps. Disconsolate.

Says only “All the kittens are still blind.” Meaning?

No change. Tear vials: one centiliter.

Can she see me behind the two-way mirror?
Subject spends day at Rosenklinik belting out the Volga Boat Song. Then shyly asks to see “Monsieur Jolie.” God help me. 

Subject belligerent, attempts to provoke fisticuffs. Nightdress torn in brief struggle. Experiment halted till noon.

Must not let on that my feelings are increasingly inappropriate.

Cake flickering with candles on subject’s “birthday.” Trembles wildly, refuses to make a wish. Cake wheeled away. Repeat Tues-Fri.

Subject will not speak. Working furiously on crayoned “manifesto.”

Manifesto found in the Krankenhaus torn to ribbons. O my soul.

Demonstrators wrap the Institute in banners. Almost pretty. Subject oblivious, reading Heidi and talking disjointedly about goats and pie.

Police everywhere, but funding doubled! Subject relocated to the Advanced Laboratories, where we will continue our confidential work.



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