P A R T     T W O

#nofilter, acrylic on canvas

#nofilter, acrylic on canvas

doug paul case

from Letter to the Aliens

dear aliens
the human body is built
well enough to withstand
routinely a number of extended traumas
the list of which could begin with childbirth and go
on to include paralysis and sleep
deprivation and lacerations and
emotional abuse and exposure
to inhospitable temperatures and
cancer and electroshock therapy and
automobile accidents and burns
and bullet wounds and it is
impossible for me to give you
anything approximating a complete list
dear aliens
I am trying to be clear
dear aliens
it is amazing to me
how I can be crippled with indecision
almost nightly standing in front
of my bedroom’s windows wondering
if it is too early to close the curtains
or if I should close them at all
which is ridiculous
because they need to be closed
to block the glow of the streetlamp
which would otherwise reach
my face where it lies on the bed
and sleep would be impossible
dear aliens
I have no idea why
dear aliens
so what if they get pulled early
there is very little to see out there
dear aliens
I live on the residential side of a college town
in the middle of Indiana
in the middle of the northwest continent
dear aliens
it is sleepy even when it is not
dear aliens
what is amazing
is that I have been lucky and
have experienced no traumas
prolonged or otherwise
during my time thus far on this
planet where thousands experience
them every day and billions yearly
dear aliens
what is amazing
is in my daily life I feel very little
remorse or guilt or empathy
I just go about my days feeling
only mild irritation about traffic
or the cost of muffins rising
and only when I sit down
here to write you do I remember
how I wish the body
would not have to endure as it does
which is probably why
dear aliens
so little ever seems to change


Doug Paul Case is a photographer and writer based in Bloomington, where he recently earned his MFA from Indiana University. He is the author of the 2015 chapbooks Something to Hide My Face In (Seven Kitchens) and College Town (Porkbelly Press). Other excerpts from Letter to the Aliens have appeared in HobartJukedPowder Keg, and Blunderbuss