this is your life

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Your job is your life, and your mom
is your life, just as I am (or was)
your life.  Your money or your lack
of it is your life. The food prepared
and ladled onto plates is your life,
the beds, the pets, the clothes – your life,
your secret huddling your life, it is all
your life, you can’t cross out your life, you
can’t conduct erasures on your life,
you can’t be drunk every day
of your life, you can’t put a cloud
of smoke around your life, this is
it, this is your life, the past bleeding
pathetically into the present that blossoms
out in turn into inky (petulant) shapes of futurity (grief).

This is a poem. The cool thing about poems
is that they are ambiguous. They may seem
to refer to a specific person or situation, but in fact
they are generalizable.  That is why we are able
to press the language of others into the service of our
own expression.  This is your life, this expression,
and what, exactly, is life? Some kind of sticky
protoplasm. Life is short and squat,
or vaguely meandering. It is also fierce.
Life mutates, loops and rewinds and feeds
back. It is on infinite repeat. It forms patterns.
It jerks. It jolts. It sneaks. It shudders.
I am both afraid of it and not afraid of it.
Sometimes it makes the shape of explosions.
Sometimes it is rags. Sometimes it is verdant.
It’s all…life. Sometimes it takes the form of
someone who is almost brainless. Life
has too many sisters. Life wiggles in
confusion. You know what I mean
about life. All language is the language
of others: saints, adulterers, children,
liars, mothers, thieves, wives, inner beasts.
Life without language would be
unimaginable. Life isn’t language
but it constitutes itself in language.
Reflects back to itself in language.
What if a life took the form of a text?
Would it look something like this?

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