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How Manifestos Are Made

By Arhm Choi

If I fail my mouth this story plays again.

Back home he yanks mama's mouth
round into screams, burns
her vocal cords to sing the real blues
of men who can't stand to be exposed
so stare the world down in rage
and red, not the toothbrush too hard red
but the red of knuckles busted by teeth,
teeth ground down into grit,
eardrums that vomit
sticky one note dirges red.
She leaves

her nightingales stranded in the winter
of his cold cocktail gins,
croaks out a song
when he bends her neck,
bruises a darker green
as the skin rushes together
in his fist,
a bouquet crumbling
in the relentless boil
of a man never satisfied
by just one song.

If I fail my mouth this story plays again
can't close, closet, or cease.
I must be the skip in the disk.
Be the fracture that makes the needle jump out
and land on anything but this.

Added: Monday, July 7, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Arhm Choi

Arhm Choi Wild is a Kundiman fellow and holds a MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been published in the anthology Daring to Repair by Wising Up Press (2012) and in Massachusetts Review, Barrow Street, Split this Rock, Two Hawks Quarterly, Peal, Otoliths, and Scholars & Rogues. She has been working as a teacher in New York City for the last five years, and has performed and competed in poetry slams across the country, including at Brave New Voices, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Michigan Theater, and Asheville WordFest.

Other poems by this author