Caring Is Still Creepy and Modest Mouse B-Side by C.J. Miles

Caring Is Still Creepy

Is there a pill to make me not be this?
(I’m asking for a friend.)

My grandmother is in the hospital again
And this morning I woke up bleeding

In reverse. It’s the most miraculous thing,
Being so lonely and not caring.

Build a wall, build a wall, build a wall.
Send the war. In fifty years, they’ll be storming

The beaches of Tennessee. So arm the penguins.
Arm the algae. Arm the arms of the octopuses.

They’re throwing jellyfish at all of language.

They built a wall, they built a wall,
They built a wall. So put me at the top.

Tie a rope around my neck.

I read the instructional manual.
I know what comes next.



Modest Mouse B-Side

I dreamt I fell asleep at the wheel and woke up in a diner
In Antarctica. There were penguins everywhere.
They were folding napkins, chipping ice
With their beaks and dumping it into glasses of pop.
The penguins told me, I’m cold even when I’m sweating.
I told them, My soul is quietly disintegrating.
I woke up still dreaming. And in this dream
Death was coughing in my face.
Death didn’t even cover its mouth.
Death is rude, uninvited, but still, I welcome.
My soul is quietly disintegrating and soon I will
Disappear. An urn on a mantle, an ashtray
On the patio table, everything is the same even
When it isn’t. Summer leaves too soon but who
Is to complain? Who is to blame? Florida is sinking,
They’re trading insurance cards for a wall,
Such a glorious wall, and my soul disintegrates
Even more. Look at the dust settled
On the unopened books on the shelf. That’s me.
The books you meant to read but the TV
Was always on, the sound so loud you couldn’t hear
Death creeping around the corner.


C.J. Miles is the author of What Is Anything Without Pandas (Ampersand Books, 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Forklift, Ohio; Five 2 One Magazine; Cease, Cows; Jet Fuel Review; and Unbroken Journal. He currently lives in Iowa with his wife and can be found on Twitter at @cjmilespoet.