What the Cyborg Wanted

He wants to go back to school to study bioengineering.
I ask him why.

My brain is like a computer, he explains,
fingers connecting with the keyboard
tapping sheer excitement across the distance,
and my trauma, my nightmares, my bad memories,
all of these are a virus
wreaking havoc on my operating system.
You following?

Yes, go on.

I want to have the world's first digital brain.
I want to offer myself up as a sacrifice to science,
the experimental human with a
hard drive in his head.
I want to discover a way to install new software -- 
reboot, so to speak.
Wipe the drive or just delete the corrupted files.

Okay, I say, though it isn't okay.
I can't quite put my finger on it.
He continues.

With this technology, 
there's a chance for me, still.
Think about it: Cyborgs can't have PTSD.
Cyborgs get to have machine dicks, hard as steel.
Cyborgs don't have to feel pain if they don't want to.
His typing comes to a pause.
And I don't want to.

Something stirs in the pit of my stomach, something primitive, animalistic
a gut-knowing that one can only have with organs and blood.
Computers aren't perfect, I try to tell him.
It might not be any better
than what you are now.

But just imagine!
he says as he removes his skin, implanting wires where his veins used to be
Imagine me, made of light and information
he is putting screens in his eye sockets
anything to avoid seeing
anything to feel alive
instead of this tolerating this mortal, rotting flesh.

No, my love, I try to tell him.
We are from from merely mortal.
We exist beyond these bodies --

but he is not hearing,
he is removing his scalp
trading precious grey matter for volatile wires
sleek metal
uncharted territory
sparks flying and whipping
surges of pixelated light
flash behind his screens
his machine jaw shifts and tremors and attempts to
say something
oh god please just say something --

I watch
with my eyes made of rain.
Oh, my love.
You forgot that computers can crash.

Or maybe that's what you wanted.

memento mori

I don't know how we got here
or how to get back
and I can't shake this feeling
like we've been here before
because the air smells like war
like lost things and like searching
and like being lost
your eyes roam the corners and walls
expecting a memento, a trigger
something to answer the question
why is this so familiar?
you start to walk forward but
be mindful,
it wasn't pretty the last time
there are bloody footsteps leading into
the next room
as you trace them, I follow your lead
your footprints fit perfectly into them
how strange
in the next room,
is a dead body propped against the wall
a dead body with "be mindful"
written in blood across its face
and I suddenly can't
how we got here
or how to get back
because the air smells like something forgotten
something being remembered
and being forgotten again
and I can't shake this feeling
like we've been here before
maybe the answer
is in the next room


We wrote this together.

The first three lines are mine; the rest belong to Roman. We wrote this together.
[trigger warning: eating disorders]

hipbones like horns
and a voice like a fingertip
teasing a wineglass

i recognize
in the calligraphic lines of her
cheekbones, hands, spine
the divine
and bow
to her
dark, sinuous, unearthly godliness

my child, my lover,
she says
alluring incestuousness
breaking the shell of myself open,
a time capsule

my child, lover, comrade, confidante
to those who worship
i give
seven kingdoms.
the four winds.
a porcelain throne.

if you will inflict yourself for righteousness sake
cleave marrow from bone

if you offer your heart
plucked from the open maw
of your heaving chest
martyr, saint, sacrifice
you will resurrect a goddess,

arrayed in a blood-red robe
and chains of gold.

vow to me in sickness and health
in life and until death
i will be yours to have and to hold.

i will chisel your flesh into a sculpture of splendor,
play a bow on your skeleton
showing you the symphony of bones
save you from the rabid crowds
who foam at the mouth, and throw stones
don't look back, become a pillar of salt
instead come with me, come home.

no earthly needs or desires
we'll sit precarious on old church spires
preaching to the damned
congregation of your many selves
but they, revolting, will have you felled

and i will catch you, angel
with me you are never alone
i will cradle you as you take your last fragile breaths
and will write perfection on your gravestone.

-Roman Darius



[for a friend]

— exposed to a room full of empty chairs
rows and rows of nobody

— shouting truth atop abandoned buildings
town: long motionless

— a prophet, echoing

— a tree, falling
dark green demise

— doesn't want to feel like he's chasing ghosts anymore