Down With the Sickness

Two Poems by Ann Privateer

Brokenness

Wheels and spokes
Chairs and ironing boards
Left at the side of the road
No "Free" sign for these
No takers of broken things
That pile up, creating mounds
Unlike the shell mounds
Made by native Americans
From discarded natural things
We throw our stuff to earth
Too, stuff that never will
Disintegrate!

 
 
Overview


Historical, the big chart
Watching you
Still coherent, less
Amnesia than before
A Sound Mind
Exercises memories
Incoherent losses
Confusion and the like
Amnesia, dime tina 
All's fair in love
And war when dementia 
Wins or looses.

Waiting Room by Jay Passer 

 

you might think,

this’ll be my last 

Pink Lady,

the teeth, yellowing,

unconsciously carved over the 

years,

crunching solid flesh and

savoring the juice.

 

and what about that time out on the bridge at

3 am

when you dared me to climb up the barrier

and flail my arms about?

good times.

 

there's something lurking in the dark side of my brain

like an incoming aneurism 

or a blow

from some alleyway intrusion.

something not based on a 80’s horror flick

or old-age home visits to grandpa

back when I was prepubescent.

 

you might think, this

could very well be

the last New Yorker cartoon

I ever read

Two Poems by Tyler Nova

Grey Swan Song

 

Black-feathered factory girl,

Whisper from martini glass,

Giggle from booth shadow,

Smile reflected in shine of chrome-

 

Glide on coconut oil over skin and sink in,

Turn hair Harlow gold,

Weigh shoulder down with faux-luxe faux fur-

 

Clap-stab blood glitches piss on white self-deception:

Expired meat in a bustling market makes everyone sick, so waste it,

Throw out a mouldering carcass in cocktail-hour Calvin Klein

WhiteRoom

Dedicated to Saint Jennifer, Patron of Righteous Revenge,in memory of her too-human sister

 

Cassandra in silver,

Glitch and fade through sick pink ice:

Battered Wuornos twin stripped bare,

Pulsate and glitter at 3 am when

Trouble throbs under Hemera’s skin and

Worlds untold open, and the world told opens too!

City-lover tells secrets,

Catching in rats’-nest wig,

Poker-melt red nimbus warns-

Eating orchids at bottles-and-models parties,

Fashion-Week outsider, scry silence-cell window and wonder at

Denouement escape-

Dirt

Vomit blowjobs

Scream in ecstasy while they watch and splash a cupful of urine at turned back,

In floor-dirt

Little-girl animal headboard to a

Stained mattress-

 

Snowfall-

Static-

Hush.

Two Poems by HJ VandeReit

 

Stop

 

I.This weight this weight

weighing me down weighing me down

I sit I sit sit with the gnawing pain

Were I to say everything I ever thought

It's possible

The pain

Would engulf me

 II.It’s in my head

it’s in. my heart.

I didn’t seek

I still don’t find

answers did a dream come unto me

and rape what hope I had left

did a dream come unto me

and take me away

III.This wound this wound

opening and closing opening and closing

i pick at the scab pick at the scab

until it bleeds and I find I cant stop picking

i can’t

stop

It won’t

stop.

IV.Can I be brave

can I. tell you.

I didn’t know

I never knew

what to expect

ultimately

did you steal away my heart

it wasn’t romantic, did you steal

what little I had left

to give of me away

V.the thoughts the thoughts

running in circles circles in running

i obsess and chase the thought but

it never ceases to escape my fingertips

i can’t

stop

it wont

stop

IV.did I steal you

can I keep you

in the darkest corner, dank and smelling

of all my filth, of all my pain

can I keep you

there

with me

Warning

Take one pill every 12 hours.

 Would I take a fistful of you and chase you with a slug of vodka?

 Would I?

Would I?

 

Would I let the man-made concoction numb and tingle me until I passed out?

 Would I?

Would I?

Would the children be okay upstairs in the playroom,

 until someone walked through the door

Death Ride by Gene Avery

                      it's a death ride stoopid  
                   musta been Somthing'at you did 
                      no more Loopholes never 
                       nevr rilly were any ever    
                        It's a death ride, stoopid 
                      R.U. behind tha Wheel ?
                       are you behind tha Wheel ?

 

                                i had some $ 
                                 put it in the plate  
                              Pope told me "Stay in 
                            your pew, boy; your kind is 
                            not allow'd to Congregate"
                              'sa death ride, stoopid 
                             R.U. behind tha Wheel ?
                          are you behind tha Wheel ?


                   i had a gal, she wan't Quite tune'd to me
                       she was my pal, i told her "cling to me"
                                                           she didn't
                      she knew what i meant but she didn't

                              it's a death ride, stoopid 
                        musta been Somthing'at you did 
                             no more Loopholes never 
                              nevr rilly were any ever    
                             it's a death ride, stoopid

                            are you behind tha Wheel ?
                            are you behind tha Wheel ?

Three Poems by Matt Clifford

 

T o  C r a i g,  S u r g e r y

 

 Where there’s crying so too is there a knife to cut. The government collects tears with rainwater and uses them on mind control experiments. Thus far, no breakthroughs, but a lot of medicine and melted faces.

 

I am glad to know my friends are ok

I am glad they hide

 

Under pornography and feelings, behind lips and tells, where there is no cancer, there is no nothing at all, scalpel goes fearless with change and violence, digs a dream, displays the film, sells. Ducks cleaning by the poolside is a roadside. Give us this daily bread, wanna go for a ride?

 

Glad to know my friends aren’t dying

I am scared all my friends are dying

Hope one of them is Elijah

My name is Matthew

I am a ghost writer and minor character

 

Give a ball unto Caesar and a ball unto the Lord, give a cock to the cunt, scrape the ass off its chair. I’m kneecaps and toes, skipping church, I’m a brain and a heart, I remember those. I remember a rose is a rose is rose and my clothes are full of smoke and Gertrude Stein is still talking and now is the time to listen and I am talking and a rose is still a rose is a rose, they put one on the scar to keep the coke in the nose. It didn’t work, there are drugs everywhere, and a war on flowers.

 

Let’s do the immortal

Your morality is showing

What does death look like?

 

Like the list of accidents you didn’t know you were giving

Christmas sinning and easter living

Getting drunk before dinner

Like a saw and tree

Magnolia disease freedom pill

Where you going with that?

 

I want to go to the west

And to the south

Stare at my friends faces

Kiss their wounds

 

I want to go to the east

And to the north

Talk to family about memories

Hug my parents, say their prayers

 

I want to fuck something awful

I want to go where holes should not be

 

 

The god from the story proposed marry me

God does not accept nothing swiftly

It isn’t legal to marry an entity in this state

They said it was your idea

 

The tool from the surgery was sanitized and moved on to the next one. It has felt much flesh and reflected blood. We share insides. We embody the void. We spend three days on acid and who is talking our language? Not me. Who is the destroyer? Who is the world?

 

The soldiers shoved a sword through his ribs

and water fell out. A storm came and the temple.

 

They pronounced my friend dead at the scene

 

There was no waiting room

 

I gave them the news and walked away. When I was out of vision, I ran. When I was alone, I sat. Eventually I laid down. Finally went to sleep. I had a dream all my friends were in heaven by the fire. It was just on the other side of the stars, the simulation wears no sunscreen, it’s where the prophets burn.

Under spirits and learned limits, behind the terms and conditions of the body, where there is no poison for a lonely pole of hydrogen, I placed a thought and made delirium. When you wake up, I will stab you with it, rid you of the evil that was coming next, useless harmful shit. If you want to share it, I know some hungry realities. If you want to be rescued..

 

 

There is a poetic instinct to become a tree

W h a t  T h e  F u c k,  D a d

 

What the fuck is wrong with your heart?

Why did you put all that stuff in it?

  Nothing is getting through

   I need you to hear this

                       I love you

 

What the fuck is wrong with your heart?

They’re going in

They’re going to find out what you did

     There is too much salt in your lunch

                They’re going to take you out

I am so lonely I barely eat dinner

Skinny enough my heart still works

         I feel you

   You have been to the space I soak my liver in

  This is where I fail

 

What the fuck is wrong with your heart?

It needs your legs to move but your hip is ruined

It needs a ten pound vein made of the fat of our fathers

 Oh my god give it to me, rain,

What the fuck is wrong with your god?

         It needs a knife and a pill

         I got a straw and some scissors

         Got the money on a credit card

   Let me see the insurance first

   You can leave it on the mirror

                     Close your eyes count backwards from infinity

       This will only take a minute

Are you ready to meet your doctor?

                 Have you made peace with your accountant?

 

     There is no peace in the office

        That’s another story

      They ask how you are doing

                                  I tell them voice and insides

                               What the fuck is going on inside of you

                                                  You can’t even say

             You don’t have to say anything

                                    I know, I know

                          I read about it

             on whatthefuckiswrongwithyourheart.md.com

I got very scared and read the bible

Got more scared  listened to music

         Prayed to studied instinct

      Guide those fingers over that chest

Heal bloody sensual

   The rhythm of stitches

    Tie my family together

 

They said the scar was a real beauty

It will be months before you breathe better

                                     It will be there forever

          Haunting

                   What could have happened

         What comes

             I am coming home

             Stronger than you are

 

What the fuck is wrong with your home?

    There are ghosts to keep out

                                      The door is on fire

The television is broken   It doesn’t turn off

            The dogs are watching

            The dogs are barking

             Nobody sleeps yet the whole house is snoring

What the fuck is wrong with your head?

         What the fuck is wrong with mom?

        They won’t stop barking

              Stop fucking barking

The ghosts will hear and he needs his rest

      Have no fear it’s only the beast

   The phone is ringing   Unknown numbers

 There are police at the front door

              We don’t call the cops around these parts

  What the fuck is wrong with your heart, officer?

Did the cool kids say you could hang out?       

  Your heart is hanging out filled with the bullets

       of our presidents dangling by a spider string

            I don’t understand how they are walking

                   When you fear for your life, go home

What the fuck is wrong with your home, officer?

                             I’d like to go home now, officer

Where my father’s heart is damaged

           Mine is dark & weary

 

What the fuck is wrong with our hearts?

We sit in the living room listening shameless to siren songs

  waiting

     waiting

Interminably  waiting

             For the day to turn on

 Prisoners of our own hearts, the news

             Just give me the medicine

             Just give it straight

 

 

lo no go

There’s time

Do you want to watch a movie or

play a game or something?

C h a p u l i n a s  B l u e s

 

More electrolytes please. Megs of magnesium replacing the insides grasshoppers spent the afternoon feeding off of. It started with an itch thought usual- skin acting anxious at new surroundings, mind aware of its trapped presence, no pot to balance. I scratched my hair and it grew worse. Scratched my arm and it grew worse. My face grew itself, ears lost their lobes, flattened ankles, my thighs ass balls, covered in rash. Try a shower- cold cold shower. Dizzy. Toweled. The red has set in. Must lie down. I scratched my feet against the wooden bunkbed frame, possessed to act, opened cuts on my knees, and they grew worse. I used the bed sheet, the wall for extra force. Asked the front desk for medicine, suggestions. Never seen anything like it. Gave me anti-itch cream from Kroeger's, I applied it vigorously and a layer over.

 

It grew worse. They called a doctor. Natalie walked to La Farmicia for anti-allergia. I took two my eyes shut. Am I drowsy or shocking? Where is Dr. Hernandez-Hernandez (his actual name)? Can't stay open with it. Thoughts racing like mushrooms. Is Dana Carvey or Mike Myers a better fit to play a cop? I've seen Reed Bye drive his car, why does he want to split a taxi down Arapahoe Ave with me? Did the barbecue start? Are they cooking with starstuff? What was that password? Is a computer burning in the trash can? Hands turning to talons. The liver is definitely blue. Virgin Mary in a television, rounded dials, thirteen. I miss New Jersey I miss air conditioning I miss my mom. So hard to sit up and vomit. Must. Cough. Force. With thoughts of soft street meat Cubano sandwiches, greased eggs bounce, lumps of mayonnaise on cups of corn, the texture of chapulinas- darkened, exact, slightly smoked, full form, farmed eyeballs, served with chips and spiced salsa to scoop- remembering the mouth and spoon. They tasted worse coming out than they did going in. 

 

Hernandez say: Lay on stomach, alcohol, cotton swab, needle and shoot anti-histamine into back. This is going to last until it lasts, until every last bit is out. Gestures finger into throat. Is good to do. Writes a script for Electrolito. Over the counter sports drink with measurements of calcium I don't know how to translate when comparing it to Powerade. Coconut. Six hundred pesos for services rendered. 

 

It goes for hours. Strain elbows. Fall back on pillow. A bed, a body never felt so uncomfortable. There is no good idea on what I'd like to do. Music sucks, poetry is impossible. Weed is unavailable and worthless. Unable to sleep I halfdream fantasies of glasses of water. I want out, I want in. Tall fluid soak me and swim. All things must pass. The human body resilient, human condition impatient. When. When? Good god shit devil stick oh woah groan the whole hostel heard- hurry the fuck up digestion and relieve this madness. 

 

Bleh blah eeeggh meft. Nothing left. Deep breath. The room stands still. What time is it? Eight. Three hours later than expected. She says hello with worry. Are you all right? Gradual re-entrance into reality. Covered in blanket. Cold sweat. I wonder what happened. Start to gather details of the sickness which ensued while sipping any liquid my cramped fingers will hold. Life is back on. Attempted standing moments. Finally ready for clothing. Cover empty skeleton. Stumble to store. Salted chips. Sugar. Lemonida Gatorade. Bare nailed chest exposed on the terrace. Gulping fresh air from light breeze through pores that calm. Surrounded with Oaxaca's radio tower & downtown church steeple. Soothed by sounds of Middle Brother come from iPod speaker attachment. Set up Mexico. Oh no here we go. How it goes. I am ok now. I tell the concerned backpackers and workers who at some point this afternoon must have been subject to the chorus of near-death I sang without knowing and it is true. I will take a melatonin and sleep well, sleep it off.  See what it is tomorrow. I will write La Casa Angel a nice hostelbookers review. Well deserved. The outdoors are closing for the evening. Esta bien. Just happy to be here. 

Issue 1: Lawyers Guns and Money 

Developmentally Disabled -by Richard Barnhart

and

anyways

it’s them

projectile

rockets

what

fucked

syl’s head

up cause

she ain’t

never wore

no helmet

when the

sirens was

playin’

The Last Light

(For stephon Clark)
-jack ballas 2017-

 

The next revolution is the past on repeat
Should it choose to be
The terminal solution from depraved minds,
heartless in power ties will
Wash it off
Make it clean
Till the next boots start marching
to me, it's clear
The arms of the oppressor
become them

The scars upon their conscience
Made thick hide
Cannot bounce bullets
In a cloak of human faces
We remember which one
Is theirs
The blades behind their backs
May be turned, 
And pinned deep
In cloaks 
In faces
as a salesman's smile fades into grimace,
A death mask beneath night sky
In ruin

22, shot him down,
2 cops
20 rounds
8 hit,
Hit the ground
Mute,
A father's voice,
Silent, forever
Remember Zoe!

I hope you know
We must not allow the hateful beast in our hearts
Must guide our hands with God inside
And let what may fly
Furious sounds and thunder
Sting your ears,

Let it loose
Though it might sting to hear the truth,
Like the shots sting, like the shots ring, as they leave the barrel of the gun
He knew to run
Not long at all,
He ran like mercury
And they leveled their guns,
I saw
The blood spill, all ears
What's black and white and red all over?
Lips
Muted
Forever
Speak nothing to the blood
Quick steps forward hold out hands to
Stop the fallout, the step-fall back
Be kind or rewind,
Or
Watch the playback
Till the tape screams, unthreading
To the halt we are dreading
And ignites

In pyres along the hillsides
Diminishing like dominos

Down in flames,
Up in smoke
And out they go
To the last light

Hold to yours in that dark,
Together.
The sun will rise!

Paper dolls
-jack be!! 

Paper dolls rule the world
An empty, pitiless automation
Sitting in our pockets behind us
Waiting for their chance to multiply
It’s no one's fault
Paper dolls rule the world
Waiting for us to march-jack-booted
In their name, 
paper boots don't stomp as hard
So our feet are a better tool
So they make you angry,
You, 
Fool, 
Who March to the sight of burning confetti
And
You who seek more paper dolls
To feed those you truly hold dear
Their unseen strings marionette you to arise
Drink your Joe, rub your eyes, and drive
The paper dolls need you, to survive
So there's nothing you or I can do or say
Paper dolls control our day
Paper dolls buy everything
And at such a price!
No matter how many dolls you carry,
It never seems to be enough
Though some hidden origami master 
Folds them faster than we can exchange,
A meme
a tool
A means
Of which, has now turned the tables
On merchant and client
And dances out of the hands of a tyrant
To pull his strings
Yes this means
That paper dolls rule the world
Que bono? Burns in my head like Cuban cigars
Someday cities
Someday, mansions, temples
To our Lord 
And savor 
The ashes

Face the Names- by HJ VandReit

 

How many

one must wonder

how many

how many

how many

died too young,

died too soon, too sudden too senseless—

 

How many faces

can you stomach?

Did you ever

know

their names,

Did you ever

care

to find out—

Were they

really

criminals?

 

How many

of you

are unaccounted,

for, this list only

lists the accounted

for, how then

did you meet

this fate?

Did you have

a gun,

a hooded-sweater,

were you stealing?

Were you screaming,

were you emotional,

emotion, raw emotion,

fear and failing,

you and your assailant,

how many

do we

blame?

How many of you

were shot

because you were

the wrong

color?

How many

of you,

were simply in

the wrong place at the

wrong time, how many

of you

were aggressive,

how many

of you

weren’t looking

at your surroundings,

how many

of you,

did not make

the evening news,

how many

pleaded because you

could not breathe,

you did not know

you were

suspicious.

How many

of the punished

fit the crime?

Lines drawn, Lines

of blue, of black, of white

of brown, of lines that

draw

a conclusion,

an accusation.

Will we ever

see

their faces, really

see their faces,

know their stories,

hear a side, hear

a lamentation,

hear the truth, speak

the truth, know

the truth, know

who to trust,

Will we ever

know

How many?

Two Poems by James Lee Jobe

It’s different today, Charlesy,

This is an occupied country.

America, held by force.

America, prisoner to the rich fascists,

Prisoner to the police, to money,

Commerce, industry, debt,

War for profit, debt, stupidity.

America, prisoner to hatred.

Hard to believe that about forty five years

Have passed since we rode my truck

Through the back streets of Dallas,

Getting high, music up loud,

Reaching in each other’s pants in the dark.

And the Dallas police laughed at you,

A skinny girl who told them off,

Yelling that their search was illegal.

We had to pour out the beer,

We were only seventeen years old,

But they left the pot alone, pretending

Not to see it. You were right,

The search really was illegal.

And I was proud of you. Later, high,

You held me tight in your little fist

And my fingers were in you.

Did we want more? Yes... and no.

We were still just scared kids, really,

And we finished with our hands

And drove off down the street,

Feeling wild and sexy and brave.

No fascists controlled us, we were free.

We made our own choices.

Check my pockets. ​I am not tame, and I do not obey.

That is not my nature, friend. 

I am not going to beg at the breakfast table like a dog. 

A flag of welcome? A welcome mat at the door? Hardly.

Check my hands for a weapon. Check my pockets, my car. 

I am a snake. I am a hyena, a professional liar. 

And I will smile like a child just before I strike. 

saturdays by Geoff Neill

we hit the town

with our hearts alive and grinding in our chests

with the sun low in the sky

and the flagpoles on tall buildings sticking up

like middle fingers.

the money we’d stolen from the last town

burned in our pockets like gonorrhea

so we ditched the car and asked around for the nearest whiskey bar

but the first one we chattered into was full

of old men with slumped shoulders so

 

we hit the sidewalk

pointed our guns at people who weren’t like us

stole some money and cigarettes

and headed to the next town down the line

looking for a better good time

just like any other saturday night.

Kinderwhore-By Tyler Nova

How am I the same

Fluttershy-innocent soul who

Rescues snails and worms from

stompʼs way after the rain

When I am also the one who, a

Man in Edie Sedgwick faux fur and

Lipstick stilletos, was comforted by

Dog kisses while being raped, and sickly

Enjoying it?

When I was

Brought before the

Bench on

Shoplifting charges,

Stumbled home

Spun and

Fuck-drunk with a thousand or

More in my pocket or

Nothing at all for

All tomorrowʼs parties and

Sat

Staring entranced at

Glass-caged clouds till

Holy predawn....

Odile,

Flagging green, is still

Teasing a pas-de-deux with ingénue

Odette

Two Poems By Katy Brown

Equivalents

(The weight of a 9 millimeter bullet is between 7.5-9.5 g

— the same weight as each item in the first stanza)

 

Seven small paper clips,

a pen cap,

three pennies,

one small marble,

a gold and diamond wedding band,

one 9 millimeter bullet.

 

What scale measures the full weight of a thing?

Three coins for I Ching predictions?

Sacred pledge of a wedding ring?

A circle of fun with a glass marble?

Seven batches of poems and the cap to a pen that wrote them?

A hole in the heart of a child?

 

Tonight, twenty small beds lie empty.

Eight adults will never come home again.

Semi-automatic weapons, discharged over

and over and over and over—

relentless sound of gunfire over the intercom.

 

Weights and measures and consequences.

Study the photographs of terrified children

being led to safety. Look into their eyes.  

Explain to these children why we need to collect guns

— try to explain. . . . .

I am not Charlie,

 

inking war with someone else’s god;

subversively standing behind

the slender pen,

a newly sharpened pencil.

 

Hate speech is hate speech:

in racist rants, cartoons,

editorials, slanted news.

It doesn’t matter that all sides

are flayed by the nib.

The nursery rhyme is wrong.

Words can always hurt you.

 

Words and images are

constitutionally guaranteed

open-carry weapons.

They poison minds,

booby-trap reason,

assassinate discussion.

 

Right ≠ obligation.

Because you can broadcast

bigotry and publish intolerance

does not oblige you to

drown out opposing views,

bully, hijack the discussion.

 

Champions ready their armor,

sharpen their weapons.

In the deadly, high-stakes game

of Minds and Hearts

compromise, acquiescence, or surrender —

not options.

 

Why are you surprised.  No.

Let me rephrase:  why the outrage when

the Shock and Awe of fighting words

becomes a war with real casualties.

When the terminal punctuation

is a bullet hole?

Issue 0: Prelaunch

3 poems by Charles Braddy

I have seen too much, yesterday was enough.


 

Guns & TV.

Another show.

Sunday night.

 

Reruns & replays,

slow motion,

rain from a high rise.

 

Rain coming down.


 

Popping rounds.

Blood on TV,

blood on the ground.

 

Blood on TV,

Blood on me.

 

Another shooting,

mothers weeping,

congress sleeping.

Another shooting.

 

Another life gone.

 

I won't fall,

I won't evaporate.

I won't Sleep.

 

I will stand.

The Shadow Passes



 

Bombs drop.

Buildings shatter.

People run.

 

Disappear.

Laptops close.

 

We text.

We wink.

We like.

We drink.

 

Bombs drop.

 

Buildings shatter.

Lives

disappear.

Laptops

close.

 

Shadows pass.

Samsonite by Jo Ashburn
 
The cloud over Kinocti was like a giant 
Windshield Wiper,
Sweeping across the sky,
Leaving trails of mist
We all wish
For a miracle to wipe us clean 
So we can start over. 
But even in the next life, 
We keep our baggage.
And the only thing to do with baggage 
Is to unpack it. 
All of it
Even the dirty socks
And deal with it. 
Because as painful as that gets,,
It's better than the hernia
From lugging that luggage around.
You don't need Windex
It's more like Drano.

Eco Magnus Opus-by Arnold Robbins

 

Human beings and consciousness

Evolution reaching a narcissistic self concept

Man - Looks in the mirror and sees...

The apex predator blessed with

The manifest destiny to have

Dominion over all the Earth

Conquest and expansion mentality

Gives rise to scorched earth policies

Human populations exploding 

Resource extraction progressing

Industrialization encroaching 

Rainforest destruction expanding 

World output of Carbon Dioxide rising

Tragedy of the commons growing

Glaciers melting

Sea levels rising

Shorelines flooding

Pollution and disease spreading

Endocrine disrupters infiltrating

Warning - species declining

Extinction events accelerating

Future wars and genocide likely

What shall it profit a man

To seek material conquest at the peril

of destroying all life on Earth?

Two Poems by Eric Fischmann

 

 

 

Safety Instruction Card

I am looking at the plane's heart and down

at the pate of Colorado's skull if this were

a phrenological expedition I would touch

each peak with sensors sweep the Rockies

we are skyborne without feathers beside

the emergency exit a few inches between me

and ten thousand feet soon it will be thirty are

you willing to help in case of an emergency?

Nod. "I need a verbal yes or no." We are 45

degrees to the earth my hair is being pulled

back into the engines sink and swim fins

to the ground as we turn I feel my stomach

caving in. I fucking love flying have I made

that clear? Spherical farms crop circles like

Mickey Mouse ears or Pac-Mans or pokeballs

the patchwork quilt of America below us.

Now the mountains have turned to clouds the

flight attendant invites us to enjoy some

"expected rough air" I can't wait I have faith

in the mechanism machines have rights that

some humans don't for instance what would

happen if I pulled this lever? The sky thickens

like white coral we are looking down at it quiet

gods with sodas and snacks if we're good the

angels might bring us extra there is no seatback

in front of me no tray table to set right I write

this on my left thigh face pressed to a submarine

window with not another fish in the sky. Only

castles and cotton balls, turtles and dragons and

giants' feet. They flatten their shadows against

the round dirt one thread equals 12 miles of

darkness I'll have a ginger ale please and pretzels.

I get why it scares you, the void above us, blue

fading to black are we going down or falling up?

In the event of escape velocity you will be blown

out the airlock please put on your own oxygen

mask before you help anyone else with theirs.

The engine eyes me hungrily spinning teeth the

wing gestures I am listening no one is going to let

the apple drop. I could fall asleep in this crib.

The thrum of the windshear, the plane gently rocking,

the captain's lullaby making its final descent.


 

 

Visit to MoMA

Everyone is waiting for the art to tell them
what it means, but no one wants to talk to it.
The shadows are as loud as any landscape.
You're not supposed to blow on the hanging
woven structures, but we do. The geometric
abstractions point to the ceiling and walls,
to fire exits, occupancy signs, the illusion
of safety. The museum only bought Monet's
Waterlilies because Pollack had made giant
panels popular again, and Pollack ripped off
his wet style from a Mexican artist named
Siqueiros. The art industry killed SAMO
just like the music industry killed Cobain.
A fly leaves its shadow on the melting clock.
We watch Duchamp's spirals through his own
shattered looking glass. What is it you are
trying to tell us, moons of Gibraltar? Tourists
know they are at a tourist attraction, but they
don't know why. Maybe their cameras. This
is what a bird really looks like: polished brass.
Remember when Marina Abramovic and
her lover sat right there? Take a picture
so it looks like they are kissing my cheeks.

3 Poems by Tim Kahl

Fartlek

 

We trained to attack hills, in formation

and firing in a spurt of fury to the top.

We knew a low gear had to kick in

if we could only attend to the will amid

the traffic of the body's insubordination.

So we learned to tame the pain by bursting

into sprinter mode — each time a longer

distance. We prepared to sustain.

It was like paying attention to

a worthy task no one has time for anymore.

Now everything is set in motion, and all you

have to do is react, rehash the plot synopsis

set in place by emotion. All the time

you are searching and orienting and

determining if you should take flight

like an animal stunned by the sight  of

large words on a billboard. You want to

flee into the past when the triggers would

click and there would be a flash of intensity

up the hill, a focus on the hardest part of

the day when you are alone in that moment

not submitting to fitting in, not submitting to

the great virtue of mediocrity. It is then

you understand what passion is

as you recalculate your chance of getting to it,

tensing, tensing before the starter gun

goes off for the most important race of your life.

As Carbon Aspired

 

As carbon aspired to be diamond, so did men aspire to become part of the zeitgeist. It was a very optimistic time. Later, experiments involving corpses saw them clearly reaching out to consciousness though no one knew how it began. The brain was implicated with all its secretions of moral thought. But it also served to interrogate nature. Was it not so tangled up in concepts just the night before when it sought to reattach a leaf? It had a dream of cosmological collapse, of fluxions and calculus in the new world at its feet. Miracles of wonder could be seen in the deep time of the earth that mirrored the mechanism of the heavens. The planting of a star is one of those unhallowed acts that leads to further discussion in the communities that frame the human. The strands of all the scientific isms unwind, but the influence of matter on mind will be forever hid. Art asserts the whole circle — a smoother pebble and prettier shell than ordinary . . . that leads to obsession.

The First White Hint

 

The nation was not halfhearted at the sight of the wildfire's rebellion and the bullying ways of imports that taunted the borders into buckling. The flag did not perform a drama at the shady lookout in the safer brush. It was not after a confession from a religious order or a sea of tents in the open. It did not punish the unidentified or the overdosers. It sent in fingers to massage the backs of all parties on the mountaintops and in the valleys, in the stream of ceremony at the tribunals. It monitored the displaced and revealed the syndicates of ammunition in the degraded era of tourism. It held back the turbid waters from the ruin where the first white hint of future work awaits.

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