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Ollie Schminkey, performing at Icehouse in Minneapolis, MN.
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Each inhale must also leave the mouth. Funny how, if left to our own devices, We would create so much carbon dioxide We would die. Funny how all the things we take in To keep us alive would kill us when we let them out. For example, at a party someone says, "I would die for another piece of that cake." "At a party, LOL I'm going to have a heart attack." "I would die for that cake. I would die…" I do not clip anyone's tongue. I do not make a guest of my grief. I'm looking for spiders but no one cares. I do not say, "If you're dying,
then you've probably lost The motor function to swallow a piece of cake." I still remember the feeling of my father's corpse, His soft hands growing stiff. Ha ha, growing stiff like a dick, right? See, I am the life of the party, The life of the party because I am alive. Okay, but I'm funny, right? And I go to therapy, so it's chill, right? I sit on the couch staring off
into what looks like empty space But really I'm looking my father up and down and I'm stuck in this feeling, The feeling of when he had just died but the oxygen was still going, Whirring and puffing until the nurse said, "I'm just going to take this off since we don't need it anymore." And what the fuck am I doing at a party Where no one wants to talk about my dead dad? Stupid! And I think about where that oxygen must have gone after he was dead Into the nostril and then,
stopped by a closed throat Fighting against itself,
back up the way it came Or was it more like a flooded basement,
Seeping into places you didn't think it could seep in, Going nowhere, ruining the carpet. When I was little, Sometimes I would find salamanders
in the basement during the summer rains, Their puffy slippery bodies sliding through my small hands. In the same way, I find grief in the wet corner of my mouth, Yellow, the color of draining blood, White, the death in his fingers, Yellow, the color of macaroni, White, as his eyes rolled back, Swallowed by the rest of his head. (applause)