“Hypertension” by Maya Castleman




Each bus line a grime-filled artery,

Each soup line snaking concrete corners,

slithering in human filth like wet soil,

wet and thick and fast like noseblood;

Each baton beat, each bullet, a warning pulse of the overfatted ventricle,

not unable, unwilling to double-circulate.


In the Superior vena cava,

Each scaffold-skeleton laughingly, mockingly, rises,

out of the ashes of fourth generation family albums and one-eyed teddies,

out of the red and gold ashes of bodies, trapped behind blocked doors;

But the self-blinkered purebreds rename this death: Phoenix,

    rename this war: Progress,

  rename my heart: Theirs.


I’m worn out on outrage,

Learned-helpless, shocked dog.

This aint blood boil and fist fight,

It’s chronic.


Maya Castleman is a musician, poet, and proud San Franciscan. You can check out her music at www.mayacastleman.com

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