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I’ve been chasing the septic, the abscessed,

the wild and purulent. Disease is a grand

stand-in for lustfulness these days. A quest

for what others give away free. Not bland

pornography –– Promises of what might

happen. Let them exhale. Even the most

chaste and vestal can still hack & cough. Light

me up, dead man, with fever. Some still boast

of their prowess; as if the age of swing

might go back as before. Not with these lungs.

Not with this immune system. When I pull

on your hair and say, “you’re sick,” I’m being

literal. When I start to speak in tongues

that just taint I’m spewing, by the soulful.