Manufactured to Perform

by C. Albert
criticalpoet.org
First Place, December 2009
Judged by Majid Naficy


I love how my organs are shaped
the same as anyone’s, manufactured
to perform: a heart that drums,
filtering twirl of kidneys, liver,
lungs that bellow on.

I hate how weak my machinery is
that a noise of germs, single-coated parasites,
scatter harmony. My tortured body
has become parts upon my bed. Nowhere
that doesn’t hurt, except my funeral.

What is it that comes back, silent as air,
to lift an invalid? Not heart, liver, kidney, lungs,
but a tenacity within the drum,
the twirl, the bellows.


I chose these four poems randomly as I was reading all poems alphabetically. To my surprise, not only do all four selected poems speak about the issue of death and dying, but, somehow, they also make up a whole and complement each other respectively. The first poem sees human body as a piece of machinery with a drumming heart, filtering kidneys, and bellowing lungs which only the tenacity of its parts can protect it against disabling germs. --Majid Naficy

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