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June 9, 2012
By , Princeton Jct., NJ
Air is too small; breath sticks
Inside a chest heaving too fast, calming too slow.
Red there brown here and specks throughout
A black hole spinning in the middle of it all
And all around not one inch free.

When primeval man became too large, he spread out
His arms and cracked the world
That was an egg. Strain after strain now
Tearing at the narrow bonds that keep us whole and tie us down
One strip tears not quite clean; a ragged flow gushes in its absence.

Press harder
Go down and not across –
Where? All around not one inch free …

One square inch
To breathe, to think, to revitalize
The sun blocks out the life.

What traps it? by choice or not? Questions begging answers
That never come through
Too little room for sound to land.


Thirty-six cubic inches, used too solidly for human breath
Thirty-six, no more, and forever less –
Never again but always again
Breath catches
Thirty-six, no more, and forever less …

The air is too light, landing too softly and too freely
Laughing too easily
Running too gently
Playing with the constraints, teasing at the edges
Straight lines sink into haze
Thirty-six cubic inches and never more.

Nothing circulates anymore
Lying still, and flat
Heavy but still too light, too terribly light
Thirty-six cubic inches, never more, forever less
And all around not one free
Stall
Pushing against human consciousness
Pushing against sanity, freedom, happiness
As if to choke out time …





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