robert zverina

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Where am I? I'm rattling around, rolling in a cage, muzak plays, I hear her talking to the butcher. "I need a whole pig..." Oh my god, now I remember: I am a coconut.

It's a long way from home, here in this supermarket, but I've just been picked and a new journey begins. What the shit, anywhere's got to be better than this. They're weighing me as I fall back asleep.

There's something you should know about me. I mean about coconuts in general. Our lives are very internalized. Most of what we know comes from inside. We're hairy and hard on the outside and that's the way we like it. Even when we're hanging together on the same tree and a warm breeze knocks us together making faint music we can't wait to retreat. We were meant to be solitary. If I could float alone in the ocean for decades I would be happy, but that choice was not given to me. Coconuts may be beautiful, pure, and sweet, but we know our limits. We go where we're told.

I'm split open with a machete. Well, hey, it's a party.

Sloppy, very sloppy. My milk is spilled but that's just blood under the bridge. When my flesh is cut up to adorn tropical drinks, I can suddenly see, my consciousness divided into distinct sequential flashes like flipping through channels of a TV as my perspective bounces from drink to drink. I'm in a backyard hung with lights-it's very pretty.

Most of the time I'm near people's mouths, riding down in glasses as they sip their straws or nibble at me. They're hungry for each other but reluctant, divert their attention to my husk on the cutting table. Some have never seen the likes of me. "So hard and hairy!" they coo, touching my old shell. "Hello!" I want to scream. "That's not me! I'm over here, in your drinks. This is my flesh, this is the real me." But they just toy with my halves, hold them up like a bikini, afraid to reveal too much of themsleves.

Humanity is wasted on people.

God, give me a body like theirs, just for a minute, then watch out! I'd be the life of the party. I'd take any one, it doesn't matter which. That guy in the shadows, hiding behind his glasses, nursing the same drink all night, always feeling like a stranger. Or that woman over there, laughing too loudly when nothing is funny. She's not shy but everyone she talks to thinks she ought to be.

It wouldn't matter who, just give me a body and I'd fuck and be fucked by everyone at this party. Don't they see their bodies are husks to be used up? That their essence is just there to be eaten? Maybe I'm drunk. I hate them all and want them to love me. I want to throw up but how can I without a mouth? Maybe once they eat me and I'm riding low in their bellies I'll be able to guide them towards one another, come as close as I can to bringing the pieces of my sundered flesh together. It would mean an orgy but that's what you get when you ingest a bit of the south seas.

I start to go down, chewed up and pushed through long dark tubes pink and slimey. I'm inside again, the shell this time is soft and hairy. The lights and skin and need for union are quickly forgotten. I heave a coconut sigh of relief and for the last time in my life fall asleep.

feb 9 2001

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