Mark Dow


The first time my dick was inside someone else, starting from the outside, that is, it wasn't exactly in.  In fact, from the inside, one would have said it hadn't crowned.    
     The crown is where the crown would sit if it sat.
     A god who wanted no other god to block the view said, "Walk before me and be complete."  He meant after the cutting.  He meant you are you when and only when I see you and say you are.  Say you are you.  You are you.
     Six days of making stuff followed by a gap.  On the eighth we start to cut back, back to the nothing from which we come from, a little bit at a time. 
     Fast forward five or six hundred years ago some Jews left themselves intact to escape the Inquisition, which had followed them from Old Spain to New Spain.  Others in defiance practiced the prohibited ritual to insist that they were who they were, which they were. 
     Outside the J.B. Greenfield Chapel the year before our bar mitzvahs, a boy in my class at Beth Yeshurun Day School on Beechnut in Houston wrote in my yearbook, "Dear Mark:  I am a new man.  I am a woman." 
     You're really too much.  We wish there was less of you.  Mohel means front and is the one who cuts what's in front, out in front.  Italian mohels were buried wearing necklaces of foreskins.  Barren women ate foreskins smeared with honey.  In the old style, the mohel sucks blood from the tiny prick and keeps it in his mouth while he says the requisite words.  Some words are ordered and others come freely.  Sometimes these are one in the same.  Sometimes the heart or lips or mind or ear is or are closed to reason and fluidity.  We call this blocked or uncut. 
     Withdraw, obey, and disappear.  Now free yourself. 
     It's not that easy anymore.  There's been some accumulation. 
     Reuben's dick, Harry's dick, Melvin's dick, David's dick, Mark's dick, Steven's dick, Stuart's dick, Leon's dick.  Every swingin' dick.  Perfection means removal and all the rest follows.  The guests stand around with coffee and cake.  The mother hands the baby boy to the godmother, who hands him to the godfather, who hands him to the mohel, who hands him to the holder, who holds him in his lap.  The helper takes hold of the legs.  The mohel, with his left hand, stretches the foreskin and holds it taut.  With his right hand, he places a shield to isolate the foreskin and protect the glans from the blade.

Electric Bill

White on the blue is foam on the surface, which is air mixed with it, or sunlight reflected off or onto the billowed blue, or just delayed.  Or else is sky, or say where air meets water and blue. 
     The sea goddess is Yemaya.  White embroidery, aerated edge, along the lip of blue-green pleats.  The blue and white hold each other. Orange usually encircles blue, but Venus at its whitest blinks the blue that hovers alongside, a form of next to.  Each spirit or god in pantheon or bureaucracy has its own wavelength or office, channel or groove.  From 20,000 feet over the Atlantic in the daylight on descent, the tiny white arcs were countable but I couldn't count them, not stuck in time the way I was.
     A few blocks inland my neighbors' doorposts were painted light blue.  The adjacent walls were white.  On the back door's doorpost was a painted-over mezuzah, and on the front door's was the outline of one that had been removed.  Mezuzah is doorpost but has come to mean the amulet affixed to it.  It's mounted on an inward tilt.  Inside it is a rolled-up parchment slip.  On the inner side of the rolled-up slip are words from Deuteronomy instructing that the words from Deuteronomy written there be written there.  They are not to be read except when inspected to ensure they can be read.  On the outer side of the slip is a three-letter word which shows through an opening on the mezuzah like an address through the envelope window on your electric bill, although the window's hidden against the doorpost.  Shaddai, the word that shows through, three letters in Hebrew, is a name for a god and an acronym for Watchman of the Doors of Israel.
     Knock knock. 
     I want you inside me.
     In the alley outside the blue-and-white apartment's back door one afternoon a sabal palmetto caught fire from an electrical transformer it nestled.  The fronds sparked, flared, and sizzled in the daylight until FPL arrived with a ladder truck to take care of it and took care of it.    
     FPL is Florida Power & Light.
     Eleggua is guardian of openings and crossroads and therefore sits just inside the blue-and-white apartment, on the floor behind the door.  He's offered sweets because he is a child and protector of children.  Candy and small cups of sugared coffee surround him.  As a child he makes possible whatever follows, so the invocation to him always comes first.  First is usually previous.  No gods before me.  It says open the gate.  Please make what might be possible possible, if possible. 


     As a child I surfaced once in a bed at St. Joseph's Hospital, surrounded by adults and toys, a plastic horseshoe set, stuffed animals.  A soft and small blue dog was covered with yellow-orange, individually wrapped, butterscotch hard candies, crinkling and shiny.  As each one was removed, more blue vinyl showed.  I couldn't see the door from where I was, so when the doctor came in he was already in, and when he looked at the thread was the first time I saw it.  One end disappeared into the small sack, and the other end was taped to my thigh to keep the previously undescended testicle down, where else.  The suture thread was bluish and the room itself seems light blue too, when looked back at, and where else is there to. To find what's first one goes continuously back to the next preceding thing. 
     Behind Eleggua behind the blue-and-white apartment door was Ogun, who is a blacksmith and warrior.  An iron bucket of his for him was filled with nails, ax blades, and rusted horseshoes.  In the form of a river Yemaya carries these for him.
     Meanwhile because Chango, raised up by her, tried to fuck her, she lured him onto a boat and threw him into the sea.  He plummeted until she changed her mind and, as a seahorse, got up under him.  Carried him on her back back to safety.   
     Inside and outside, if they're anything, are back-to-back, adjacent to. 
     When there's no question that nothing's there, there's nothing at all. 
     My mother says that I was late, meaning she was, because I liked it in there.  Then she drove herself to Hermann Hospital to have me and she had me. 
     There's anxiety as well as safety in this exile here. Nevertheless the actual mother only leaves once. 
     The thing, which one, can be undone.   

Mark Dow

Mark Dow is working on a book of prose which includes "Dick" and "Electric Bill."  He can be reached at mdow(at)igc(dot)org.