In the Alien's Abdomen

Credits: first published in Yes Poetry


In Joshua Tree and Marfa and in Whitefish, Montana
I want so desperately to remain a little naïve,

to call a comet by its Latin name, to misconstrue all
my observations

At the bottom of the Stanley Cup everyone is everyone

At The Topiary of Terror—an American bar in Reykjavik—
my love pentagram consists of assorted conceits and the Virgos

resist the last sips of beer

I type them all A and they laugh and laugh and laugh and clone
extinct reasons to proceed with abandon

and I inhabit that abandon like mitochondria,
the alien storyless given that keeps on giving

One by one, I escape the places I have become over the course of a trillion seconds

After the datarush, its core-sampled sites far from resemble
any proto-Eden I’ve ever read a paragraph about on the internet

In the secret labs in the secret hamlets the facts are fudged clean
and lustrous

I await them with undressed wounds


I open the folder called Featured Exotic
Obstacles & Their Peril
and find my friends
Fissures, Rivers of Lava,

Whitewater, IEDs in Postwar
I open the folder called Balance Beam
but it hasn’t been invented yet

except in Star Trek
so I do my favorite thing and wait
for it and then I point the beam at my eye
because I’m a jackass and I cross

the beam into my brain
I open the folder called Simple Invented Things
and find Fire, Penicillin, Paroxysms
of Indifference I Fly Into When Suddenly

Whole Seasons I’ve Tried To Discard
Show Up Again In Ugly Words
Like Duende
—What a trash word, that—

And the beam lights up all my neurons
like comets with spacecraft crashed into them
And fresh souls pass through puberty
and make music that makes me

feel like Leonard Cohen
And a trillion parties are thrown and I go
to every single one and ghost
And I am a mysterious exclave

There are traces of radiation in my soft tissue
I respond to attempts at communication intermittently
and the swords and the sorcery and the process
and the progress are my life

I perpetuate the legacies of marble
sculpture and paradoxical thought
I am ecosystem, empire, archive, the concourses,
the fountains, the annexes, and there is no looking

back, there is nothing to look back at,
and I open the folder called Nothing
To Look Back At and the hydrocodone glistens in my blood
like shoals of piranhas


Dear Diary, the new spell is too wordy
despite a certain acumen that shines

through like definite threat,
expansive, gripping threat

but this threat is not for me
wish though I may myself luck in

casting it elsewhere
What orbit-decaying metamorphoses

will search my soul over, find
its Groom Lake and infiltrate, Diary

When will the pretty lime crumble
in my hands like a ‘zoic Period, title

a textbook chapter and subduct into oblivion
O user manual of treacherous subheadings

I read from you in ancient English
inside a circle of crushed uranium

and wait for my gods to talk to me
through the radar, through wrath,

top secret clearance, dark arts,
helicopter blade, retina scan, green candle, axolotl,

poison dagger in the alien’s abdomen,
through all pure, all-consuming languages of possession

Love, Peter


What the future
monitors my wants for is self-serving


What the fuel
left to its own devices

sleeps in is darkness


What the fungi
advances is delay

better loved

What the fullfillers
deprive us all of is after

after after what the comes

after the whatafter

after the afterwhat the Funnel of Love
whose swan-shaped gondola idles

and tranquilizes the harmless the
innocent Earth gravity the loyal crust

the devoted mantle harms the martyred core

After what I wait for is what I fuck for
the etceterine and the abbreviative what
waits for me always and you are
its guardian

its zinc arrow

its authenticated credential

its ventriloquism

Peter Milne Greiner
is the author of Lost City Hydrothermal Field, a hybrid volume of poetry and
science fiction short stories published by The Operating System. His work has appeared
in Motherboard, Dark Mountain, Fence, So & So, Big Echo: Critical Science Fiction, and will be
anthologized in Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight (forthcoming from University of
Arizona Press). Peter teaches at a high school in Manhattan from his kitchen table in Brooklyn, gardens on the roof, and is working on a new book of poetry and other forms about the paranormal.