A Mouth, A Wound, A Word By Alain Ginsberg

A Mouth, A Wound, A Word

Tell me to fall in love with
the West, that this is the time
for my arms to become Pelican-mouth
open—I still eat fish, and I still
know all of the ways a thing can be gutted.

When I ask you what I should
yell into the Pacific, you remind me
I do not need to be angry, and I don’t get it. How
should I know any other way to show my love,
but split open, wide and gaping—a wound, a mouth.

The sister of my sister, which is
to say my home, which is to say
not family, but open arms
and closed liquor stores on
Sundays, is not a liar to me.
Speaks to me adrenaline, covers
everything in dust, doesn’t care if I eat at all.

I dissociate when I travel
often, mostly because I do not
trust myself to exist as someone looking
out for myself. I crack my neck, though
I will never become an owl. If I ask
you to count the freckles on my back,
I am asking you to become a home.

In Oakland before sleeping
you show me a bird skeleton in a vial.
In Portland I find multiple decaying birds
on streets named after other streets.
No one asks your name in the same
way they do not lock their doors at night,
which is to say they have never felt

You tell me to say nice things
to the Pacific and I still don’t
know how to say that I miss
you without bleeding, even if its
on the inside, even if I do
not know all the ways that
I am loved quietly, softly, without fright.

When I ask you why I will
fall in love with the west
and you tell me it is because
it is beautiful out there I know
I will never get it. The same way
when someone I get lost in tells me
that I am cute in Oakland, I hide.

The same way that I see an abandoned
car on the side of a field on my way to
Olympia, and I feel home in it’s chassis.

By Alain Ginsberg

This poem was originally published by Black Heart Magazine.


Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD whose work focuses on gender, sexuality, and trauma. Their work has been published or is forthcoming from Pressure Gauge, Black Heart Magazine, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Outside of writing they are most commonly found watching dogs or dog related content.

One thought on “A Mouth, A Wound, A Word By Alain Ginsberg

  1. What a beautiful poem! My favorite line – “How should I know any other way to show my love, but split open, wide and gaping–a wound, a mouth.” Truly beautifully worded and makes you feel like you are travelling while reading it.

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