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Councilmember Nick Licata
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"Words' Worth" Poetry Readings

Poets at the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee of the Seattle City Council.

by Julie Larios

Outside the skin
of course nothing is in.
It's under the membranes
mind begins.
But don't be surprised by blood,
don't be surprised by anything.

Outside the skin
lies everything other: feather
floating there, drop
of water, air, chlorophyll, carbon,
Bach's math, Blake's lamb,
and our children singing.

Of course nothing is in
the leaf's green cell, nothing
I see. We ask ourselves, how blind
is any body to its breathing?
Something rises, falls- it might
be a man's chest, or a tree's shadow.

It's under the membranes
the mind's wind-up works hard at its tick-
tocking, we hear the cuckoo every hour
while the primed pump gushes,
a scene stealer that gets away with murder until

the mind begins
to whirrrr and tip, to govern.
Not everything inside is chaos, of course-
in the bones, marrow;
around the tongue, ice
warmed to melting.

But don't be surprised by blood
if blood does come, soaking
sponges, rubber gloves, stainless steel tools
on a tray, the tile walls and floors,
the closed-circuit screen.
Blood has its bloody ways.

Don't be surprised by anything
the body does, in fact. Later, in recovery,
tilt your head back, look into the hard skull
and listen-do you hear something new
in the background, a white noise?
Do you hear that other body, humming?

-- end --

This page was last updated: December 18, 2003
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