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Two Poems by Bret Yamanaka

An image is a seizure of likeness

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
May 17, 2022


I am alive in my image which is a kind
of naming        a kind of claiming
of my erasure       A two dimensional
effigy flat in its ability to procure       Alive
in ink         Alive in printed skin separated

from flesh by glass tongue of convex mouth
Multiply me in salts       in gelatin       Bathe me
in sulfur        Paste the curls around my neck
on every street corner       I will feed newspapers
for weeks        Reduced to the most vague description:

female    pierced    of    thin    black    short
with    hair    descent    ears    Asian

Details bled from cathode tubes onto leaded glass
Licked clean by hungry sockets         The eye
is a loathsome jaw        Devours naming till bloated
with light        Snap your lids       Gape again
That which you consume will never leave you

An image is a seizure of likeness         You hold
me hostage at the back of your skull hoping
to be the first to swallow me whole          I am afraid
of captivity        I am afraid of absence         which is not
absence any longer        I am here        Spit from celluloid

onto frame which is a fixture of me
on the page which fixes loss         onto space
by displaying my claiming       I am alive
on telephone poles          I am alive
in the windows of grocery stores         I am a