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That feeling of my soul getting yanked
I wonder where my soul hides when I’m sick
My heart feels as if it’s getting beat up
Is it because the restless ocean is clumping up?
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
The French chef says, Try the foie gras, it’s very good.
So I treat myself to the liver of a force-fed goose.
Give it to me on a crostini with black currant!
Weekends too my father roofed poor neighborhoods,
at prices only his back could carry
into profit. In the name of labor’s
virtue—or was it another bill collector’s callous
We’re driving and the radio says mass marine extinctions within a
generation. No silence, no sirens — an unflustered inflection, then
stock markets, cryptic as Latin mass. I force myself: the interval
I’ve put the oats in a jar,
with yogourt and seeds,
left it in the fridge
overnight. The fruit on top
will thaw, dripping
into the rest.
I want to remember
I’ve done this
The hallway is an empty
riverbed, smooth and barren.
At three o’clock classroom
doors open like dams.
Gullies of teens stream
out, to become one
Our national bird – for years – was – as A M Klein said –
the rocking chair
I don’t know what our national bird is now – but my totem bird is
Do you remember, Nancy,
when we sat in the Creole restaurant
and glanced up at the television to see students running
with their hands in the air and photographs
of two young men?
My sister is crying and crying
her tears grow to salt stormy showers
to rain and to rapids and rivers
they run to the sea to the sea.
My sister sobs softly she knows
On the night we dug up your father’s body
(for reasons I can no longer remember)
we took turns with the shovel
as we passed a bottle of Whyte & Mackay
back and forth.
Freezes, goes blue screen, shuts down. Dead pixel, dark.
Ghost echoes, lossy in the source code. Time zones away,
people who have actually shaken hands with my online friend
At the park I look for Levita,
because our work is the same—
swaying wide-legged over foraging toddlers,
we avert bruises, discourage the consumption
He is not doing well. She is not
I triage the landscape. The prairies
are numb today and so am I.
I am too thin. Built
like I won't explode on hot
afternoons, a mirror
to the sky. My body is a hurt
where tall grasses grow, where
Life is short & I tell this to mis hijas.
Life is short & I show them how to talk
to police without opening the door, how
to leave the social security number blank
The bodies are on the beach
And the bodies keep breaking
And the fight is over
But the bodies aren't dead
And the mayor keeps saying I will bring back the bodies
big ghosts contra
band my diction war
korea's north sees red as
america flags china's chopped limb
british crowns hong kong
cut for duplicity more capitalist than capitalist
He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps
when Mom unlocked and opened the front door.
O God, he said. O God.
He wants to kill me, Mom.
We are losing the intensive care unit waiting room war
We were doing so well
So well we got sleepy
So sleepy the institution returned
Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, an any boy of love
before i start i want to say you shouldn’t blame yourself
there’s no point in beating around the bush
there’s something we need to talk about
this is the most difficult thing i’ve ever had to tell anyone
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
I threw away your letters.
Years ago, just like that.
The tight black swirls,
circles and strokes
filling fine sheets —
I would not see them again.
The last items I had left.
Hello from inside
with a windproof lighter
There’s a joke that ends with — huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.
Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter
the earth is — afterward.
In the empty classroom, at sunrise, a girl
sits on the floor, staring at a glockenspiel.
She’s shredding the cuticles on her left hand
Would I have seen her?
The tide tugging her gently past
the Comfort Inn; houses, tall and gabled,
This is our welfare half
a duplex with mint green
siding shrugged between
Tune: Rory Dall’s Port
First printed in Johnson’s S.M.M., Vol. 4, 13th August 1792.
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; one
You ran naked out the door.
The neighbours laughed; I chased you down.
I hardly see you anymore.
Who is this black coat and tie?
Christian severity etched in the lines
he draws from his mouth. Clearly a noble man
who believes in work and mission. See
how he rises from the red velvet chair,
1. 18 and Life
her friend takes her to
Entirely windless, today’s sea; of these waters’ many names
the best seemed “field-of-pearl-leaves,” for it smelled like the air
in the house he built entirely of doors: pink school door,
If this brain’s over-tempered
consider that the fire was want
and the hammers were fists.
We have each tried to read to him, with no success, except for James,
who read him all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the
The trick to building houses was making sure
they didn’t taste good. The ocean’s culinary taste
was growing more sophisticated and occasionally
oh papa, to have you drift up, some part of you drift up through
fresh water into the teal plate of sky soaking foothills, papa,
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
This city is beauty
unbreakable and amorous as eyelids,
in the streets, pressed with fierce departures,
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
What horror to awake at night
and in the dimness see the light.
Time is white
arsenic in calculators, mercury in felt
hats, mad as a poisoned hatter
pyrophoric undercurrent in mundane
It was down that road he brought me, still
in the trunk of his car. I won’t say it felt right,
but it did feel expected. The way you…
What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant, and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
Sent to the ice after white coats,
rough outfit slung on coiled rope belts,
they stooped to the slaughter: gaffed pups,