Mark Bibbins: Swallowed


When I see an escalator I have to kiss
everyone on it, don’t you? If you like these

pastries—our lawyer calls them perfidy rolls—
there are more on his helicopter.

He’s Serbian or something,
whole family wiped out

by his other family. But he’s fine now.
Drop a kiss on the cultural floor,

three-second rule applies. I don’t even know
who I’m kissing anymore, do you?

Sneak away to where the world snaps in half
and come back with sanctions, come back

with sauces, come back with Haribo,
come back with Inferno flashcards,

come back with the glottal nonstop.
Dear Ciacco, your flowers were delicious but barely

a lunch so we dug a new grave for the stems.
“Finish us up,” they sang, “or finish us off.”

Lie down in sewage to stay down; sit up
only for people-will-see-me-and-die–level fame,

smiling like your teeth are on fire.
Oh darling you know what they say:

why have one factory
when you can have five. Our lawyer always

reminds us, “Little hands, long hours.” Indeed!
If I could eat my voice I would, but I’m off

to seize the world, the inside of its machine.
This is the way Celan ends, not with a bang

but a river. Woolf, too; she goes out
the same goddamn way—

I mean, wind any creature tight
enough and it does what it has to do.


bibbins invisible exportsMark Bibbins is the author of three books of poems, most recently They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full (Copper Canyon Press). He lives in New York City and teaches at The New School and Columbia University.