Andreas Fleps' Poems




Exploding Head Syndrome


As I am wading into the sacred

amnesia of sleep, 

                                    I hear a gunshot,

and my whole body jerks 

                                               wide-eyed,

like a recoil from all the nerves

                                       beneath my skin

firing off at once. I hear belly-deep

                                                   groaning

in the middle of a flowerless field

                                             of a thought.

I close my eyes again, waiting for

                                          my heartbeat

to regain its composure. Hopefully

                                         the screaming

stops by morning. I don’t have anymore

                                           blood

to give and every bandage has 

                                           lost

its adhesiveness and I am all needle

                                              and no stitch

and I will not lie to you about having

                                yards upon yards left

of invisible thread, which some 

                                            call hope.


Jonah 4:3


I’ve seen calloused breath,

leathered radiance. I’ve seen

how we are all in knots, yet

aren’t holding each other tightly.

I’ve seen the drowned who died

of thirst and those wrung dry of

everything except a heartbeat,

and eyes like shattered glass-lenses. 

I’ve seen a spine ask the body

if it could slip into something

more comfortable, even though

all things ever felt has streamed

through its hands. I’ve seen people

fall through the cracks of their futile

prayers, and minds like gardeners

devouring their own flowers. I’ve 

seen over 10,000 daybreaks and how

we wake up in ever smaller pieces. 

I’ve been told one day, I will be an

image, a word, a name; a memory

teetering on the edge of someone’s 

tongue, waiting—no asking—to 

tumble back into the world, but I 

want to be swallowed into the pit

of oblivion’s stomach; to have the

darkness unpack my heavy eyes for me,

like some strange mercy. I am the cramp 

between the ribs where light runs out.


Sacrament


Make a supper

of your body;

you will end up

in the world’s belly

anyway.

The blood in your veins 

is already wine; 

every pore of you 

is a cup.

Your flesh 

is already bread;

you’ve risen from

nothing. 

You will spill

and you will break

and you will be 

consumed—

This is communion,

the unfortunate

blessing—

How we save the crucified

by feeding each other our

crosses;

how we die 

into each other’s

mouths,

the crumb of a name

more filling than a 

feast.

Holy, Holy,

is your taste,

heaven licked

from the lips

of hell. 


Snake Eyes


In a dream,

a snake bites my hand

as it's slithering away

from its inauspicious skin,

and I suddenly see

everything through

two bloodshot eyes of poison.

I then rage down 

rapids, curses foaming 

at the mouth,

on a raft praying

for a river’s heart

to stop,

and I wake up to a 

waterfall of 

breath,

my right hand 

throbbing

between my teeth.

I was taught to count

my blessings when

feeling unlucky, 

until the guilt swallowed

me whole. 

I was taught to make

peace with my sins

through violence. 


Winter Breath


The snow begins its

descent 

in large flakes

as if the heavens have been 

torn 

apart

like one of my German Shepherd’s

squeaky toys, 

and the cotton stuffing fills the living

room with soft dismemberment.

A breath reclines in my lungs.

I remember sitting in my mother’s

green, Ford Explorer after school

on the way to soccer practice,

the sun leaving the grim party early

through the frosted window

I created with the warmth from

inside my chest, and doodling on 

my breath was the same as wiping

the fog away. 

And after weeks of a deep, grey

freeze, the sky clears its throat,

as the wood of a home contracts 

and expands, and what sounds like

cracking is really a breath.

Sometimes I see the snow fall

as quickly as it melts, 

and I think: This is a life. A breath. 

A wondrously heavy

weightlessness. 









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