An Ode to the Black Brigade of Cincinnati (1862)
When Joseph Johns flies to a site where thousands of honeybees
may be waiting, he mates with several males in flight. A male
honeybee mounts Joseph and inserts his endophallus, ejaculating.
After ejaculation, the male honeybee pulls away from Joseph,
though his endophallus is ripped from his body. Why didn’t you
pick up the phone? The next male honeybee to mate with Joseph
removes the previous endophallus and eventually loses his own
after ejaculation. Male honeybees are only able to mate seven
to 10 times during a mating flight. I never meant to hurt you.
After mating, the honeybee dies quickly, as his abdomen explodes
when the phallus is lost. Even honeybees that survive
the mating flight are ejected from their nests, as they have served
their only purpose by mating. Joseph Johns mates early in his life
and only attends one mating flight. After several matings, Joseph stores
100 million sperm in his oviducts. It’s just that I don’t know how to love.
If Joseph runs out of sperm in his lifetime, new generations of Josephs
will mate and produce their own colonies. Joseph Johns controls the sex
of his offspring. As eggs pass through the ovary to the oviduct, Joseph knows
whether an egg is fertilized or not. Teach me, Joseph, how to love.
Unfertilized eggs become honeybee honeybees, while fertilized eggs become
honeybees and honeybees. Joseph Johns lays his eggs in oval-shaped cells,
which stick to the nest ceiling. I promise to be true to you. Drones fill these cells
with royal jelly to stop the larvae from falling. Soon-to-be drones eat royal
for the first two days, while soon-to-be Josephs eat jelly for all the days to come.
I promise to be true to you! Joseph, who spends his time laying eggs inside the hive,
could live for several eons. Workers who labor during busy seasons cannot
survive as long.
When the Play Ends, We Have Learned Nothing about the Protagonist
When you say all hands on deck do you mean
that I am the deck or that I am all these hands, trying
to approximate hands. Guess how long it takes
to get from genuine to wicked. I spend / eons hanging off the mouth
of a bottle, enthralled by the fight: I swipe
two to the left cheek one
to the right, for good grace. It is only infanticide
if you finish it. Blight, there was blight
for miles & miles & an entire generation of people called
the police when they heard the noise next door.
I was lonely when you were on vacation so I touched myself thinking about
the sentence fragment. Choose your own
disappointments. Amass them in your secret place. Burn the house
of your body down. You are a faerie in plain-sight you are / dead now. Remember,
nothing I say is good enough to say
quietly. You sound like an untuned Steinway
when you let me down & every time you cum I’m in
Orion’s Belt, eating pink stars eating them up / full up eating them up. I spend /
hanging off that mouth of a mouth of a mouth. Today, at the park,
I watched a kid fall off the swing. Everybody loves
the sunshine. His mother ran
to save him but he was already
growing daisies all over his body / every place daisies, in every socket.