smell of traffic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 22, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 22, 2013




the truth was that i smelled like traffic.

that guy like grease, that one like chili, that one like rubbing alcohol.

good smells shouldn't smell like anything, or simply don't make a dent in the sweat.

the worst man smelled of boiled chicken and nectarine-colored rubber bibles.

many women are spectres or phantoms of scent. i'm not sure any of them exist in this capacity.

i'm not sure any of them are animals.

overall, we're a great slaughter of dander and skin and scent rushing at breakneck pace

to sufficiently stain ourselves over the terrain.

everywhere is our territory where technology can be stretched and paved.

the oblivion mark between forest and pasture, the incremental sliver most creatures cross

in order to escape, feed recklessly, or die, that was for us.

also for rats and pigeons, who soon invited cats.

we needed more limbo like this, and got it.

pavement was an important evolutionary discovery that was soon employed everywhere.

perfect flat glistening segmented hierarchical death planes stretching from environment to environment.

uneaten by the sea, unmarred by organic pustules. using legs became easier than ever, really too easy. now we just gyrate and roll.

asphalt had a fumingly acrid, clabberous odor which nearly choked us to death.

eventually, we trod it down to a whiff. you don't notice it anymore. maybe sometimes in August.

once asphalt was purified, we turned to other smells. we made war on the malodorous.

plumbing sucked the fluid and waste right out of us and into a self-cleaning underground sac. vegetation was mowed down to an innocuous peach fuzz.

food was cloistered, sex dehydrated, sweat prohibited, dirt evacuated, must was barely a memory.

dairy was strictly confined to non-urban areas. mold is still a terrorist threat.

but the unnameable core of us cannot be cleaned. some wretched, sour part of us cannot be exorcised

and it echoes in the scent of the chili-stained man,

looms threateningly in the paper-thin scentlessness of some women.

and where am i. i am no christ-reeking man and i am not among the vanished women.

i am flypaper for our chemical excess, a leper aberrance unpitied; the unfortunate exhaust

of our evolutionary splendor is eating me alive and usurping my guts.

i smell like traffic where there ought to be none. and i ought to be dead,

though sponges don't know they're alive.


© Copyright 2020 Caroline Michaud. All rights reserved.

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