we should get together
let’s just nail the flowers
into the drywall
i’m middle aged
that time goes slowly but
it speeds up the mundanity
as age progresses
while driving fast in a bright car
lighting palo santo
don’t let a bad friend ruin
the smell of a good tree
I still feel him in my mind
as she smiles
is a gift too
it’s nice to hang out with
someone who is fun and
has the time
the mind cracks open
and nerves flood all sorts
I’m a healer
give me your hand
as she passed it
under the bathroom
I slammed my fingers
in the door
my acrylic nails saved me
mama joe will take care
I’m a scorpio so
I’m pretty private
while driving east
on the highway
I don’t know what it is
but my soul is a cat penis
and it won’t let go
I’m squishy so I don’t model
who is this woman
in the red
I’m attracted to people
who are bad for me
your father wrote me
left it on my steps
this spider is my friend
I loved him as Kristian
and now I’ll love her
initial sex wasn’t great
but in the morning
she did yoga
then he fucked
her real good
let’s walk through
but we have to
break in first
Climb on top,
and feel my systematic veins,
as they pump.
I walk through your body like
a first look at the sky;
I want to stream straight across
this glacier of a night,
to your door,
thousands of miles in milliseconds.
Take a different woman every time,
they all have my face,
they were all me,
in the suffering decline
of a tyrant's bent nose,
and you a fortress below.
Make them pant,
like I do,
lying tangled in the coursing torrents
of my own fingertips.
Let the violence of life collapse,
just for the length of a scream.
Words appear before me
on a screen:
do as you please,
oh, Infinite Being.”
Sometimes I hug books I love so tightly
to my chest
in hopes that by some osmosis I will retain them.
Something like the way I retain water
when I eat too much salt.
But in writing this, I’ve realized,
maybe I’m doing it wrong
and need to eat the alphabet
to ever retain a word.
Sometimes when I walk I imagine the feeling
of my feet going through the floor
instead of on it,
like maybe how Jesus felt walking on water
or maybe how certain feet feel when trained
for coal walking,
and I could never compare a feeling to an action
or coal walkers to Jesus, but I just did, and I question my morph-ability
and make up words while choking on the alphabet and
sometimes the bottoms of my feet feel like coals without warning
and they walk with goals but I don’t know where I’m going.
Sometimes I just go
and see where go leads me
because there is always a point A and B,
there’s a C we wander to.
We crack the fresh pop-tops
from the garage refrigerator,
an avocado-colored refugee from the 1970’s
still humming. He takes a good
long pull from his, a lager watery and weaker
than the darks and stouts I’m used to. He says light beer
helps him keep his edge. After two more sweat-beaded
cans he begins to open up. Talks about
the young nuns at his Catholic high school,
fantasizes about the sleek white swimsuits
underneath the layers of black and grey,
says he hates church, prefers the marsh
at sunset, swears he and a buddy saw Satan
in a a denim jacket and eyes like sparklers
drinking in a tavern at the Illinois border in 1972.
He tells of the teacher who chastised
him for watching ditch diggers
from the classroom window, how she told
him that was all he’d amount to.
He asked her what were they doing
that was wrong? Where was the crime
in irrigation? As I’m taken aback
by the dignity of that response,
he goes on to say that years later
when he found himself at the roadside
laying pipe, deep in soil, he wished
that same teacher would drive past.
He would raise his shovel in the July sun
shouting in personal victory, “I’ve made it!
I’ve finally made it!”
I watch your hands as you paint me
into your walls and unmentionables.
I seep into them like water,
like apocalyptic dye.
Your hands, smudged so beautifully,
bloodied with acrylics; improbables.
I look at them and I falter,
I'd like to give them a try.
Use all your languages for me
until we are raving Unstoppables,
clinking glasses at an altar;
for we are the best Most High.
I love it when you don't look at me;
instead, keep sketching impossibles.
Don't call me Ishtar's daughter;
go ahead, tear down the sky.
But baby I like these curlers
I throw all my legs around them and multiply
if these things aren't pretty and
bouncing around me
I feed you all the yellow I can manage
transferring chemicals from six bodies to a nucleus
you have wobbly gravity and I will fit all of me in there
chewing at the opening
I opened a face from the middle
and held it open like some scar
for sixteen hours I shaved a skull
I dressed in layers for preparation of a dive
I wanted to love you
-Annie Grizzle; from Return to the Gathering Place of the Waters, May 2017
any spell will do
chop necessary parts
clamp cuffs to fog
fix incantations on throat
crush worry free in service
pissing flame ashen hope
buried headfirst resurrecting
dressed autumn dew parting flesh
thick boned, strong footed
claws grasping like skilled craftsmen.
Wings overlooking their own shadows, the way I have yet to learn how Sweeping above and below, sweeping all that slumbers or wallows.
Cleansing into one another,
waning and waxing like self-lit moons, tugging at effervescence, their own and that of the day.
The tree which they called theirs alone was wrestling with them, their feathers and her branches
like teenagers tangled and undone by their own wind.
This went on until each four-nailed toe was content
in what it grasped.
There is no rest for the weary
but there is always solidarity.
I awoke thinking of all I love and therefore hurt inevitably
and all that return the favor.
-from Love and Fate
painting by Eleanor Hazard
Not knowing where to put this
heavy glaring sense of time lost
and consciousness frayed and displaced.
Does it belong compressed, in the cavity of the body
or is it meant to be thrown off the top floor of the tallest
building in a small town or into traffic at 3AM on a Monday morning in Chicago's south side.
If released to scuttle about by its own devices a deep sense of drugged calm falls upon me. Appearances.
And so I choose wildness.
A decomposite of play in a changed world.
A bed of dust and recollections.
Stillness and death.
Loneliness like a stillborn product of labor and sweat and blood and heartache.
Sailing numbly and home again.
Bones and bloating
Motionless and frantic and contained, hooked
in a frenetic code.
worn tightly and warm.
Clutching the fabric of images cast by an old projector unplugged and boxed in the basement beneath the holiday shit.
Glitter muppets of plausible caricatures that nod and function and collapse into the sink.
Sea of Wheels
Somewhere to go not to be Laughs along pundits
Screams the nearest vessel
Catcalls a bent sundress never to be met
Freedom defined in miles per hour
Eyes fixed in avoidance of murders
She who steps in front
Of you is the beast
You nearly complete machines
Locked in pilot authority, barely moving
Anything but your destined minds
The earth smolders
your speed sucked from ground
buckled tight too safe for resting heads
on chests/reading these thoughts
A turtle in the median
Brushes his cheeks
On the things
You’ll never dare
When you move up and
down you’re describing a dick,
like light finds dark.
When he goes in it’s in and
in again but you are every size
A maximum life realized
Every time, the nothing to something
You girl, are every dick,
the definition, the maker,
true fucker moving
because he’s always the same
and you are always different
Town crumbling in cadence with the storm bulging rained-in roofs bow down to royal families At all points the despair settling in waves
where memories sicken love yokes
No finality crawls from the celestial place No bridges to health from broken reveries The mobs don’t feed themselves
killing more roots then forgetting to grow
Fundamental white fences
splintered to murder the neighbors Ruinous hiccups in the money beds
where sex is an apology made over & over
This suburb forgets gold for forlorn fornication & children break heat
across long winded insults
The wind moans louder than the injured
Caustic ephemera spill over blotter lips, oracles turn blue in wait of new believers, belltowers shake leaves attempting updates for digital ears, the holy spirit is filled with cancer, your blood no longer satisfies, cramped chorus girls shake out aches to kick drums thumping, keeping steps ahead quicksand sucks, bleak futures, when death questions you’d better answer formally
chasing wilted flowers weaves maps to exposed bankruptcies, every guilty action atones father’s negligence, I chew them and wretch his petrified pew, beetles crawl beneath dermis issuing spiteful divisive commands, your hollow prophecies will echo into gravel, I’ll pound my incantations to time, your dust steaming my cauldron, I’ll build a new dragon who’ll pull down a moon for lighting your extinction and releasing the dance.
–Freddy La Force
What has become of romance
Does commitment mean anything
Courtship must alter its course
Opposing the wind for too long
Love has been falling
Finally, love stretches its arms
Shifting carefully to the upright
No longer horizontal
Ready for action
Walking down the street I wave hello
To a bicycled white man who looks
Like someone I know but he is not
These men all have similar uniforms
But I love them
Hello I wave at the black men
Treading the concrete alongside me
They are my neighbors I want to know
I love them despite my country
Insisting I shouldn’t
I ignore the flashing screen’s instruction
And submerge in the external nervous system
Admire the homosexuals
Who are teaching this lesson
Admire the mothers
Who choose poverty in order
For their children to grow up without pasts
Admire the women
But not in a fashion resembling assault
Admire the blathering demented
Zig-zagging the roadways
Admire the workers
Steeped in profanity
Admire the gangs
and your fear they feed from
Love no longer sleeps
In bedtime stories
Of chivalry and sacrifice
We must bow to our neighbors
Embrace every being
Extend their limbs to ours
The world is to be wed
To an evil Ebenezer
We must rescue it
For all to share
The old love too selfish
Only functions behind closed doors
Sleeping love becomes fluid
Waking love is fluid
Matter that can take any form
We can breathe it together
Creating more with each exhalation
Admire the angry
Admire the tearful
Admire your arguing neighbors
Who forget they do not live in a cave
Everyone in love with everyone!
The weird, the dirty, the preppy, the rebel, the LOUD,
the soft, the CEO
Please love the CEO and take from him every
thing he owns
If we continue assigning union
Of pairs in preference to all
We are duped
Into Earth ablaze that eats our skins
Each apathy feeding air to each flame
Love must stop falling
Love must stand up
-Nathan Fredrick, from Parallelograms, V.A.P. 2014
In a hotel room, I am jolted awake.
No being waits for me in the dark,
nor in the empty bed next to me,
but the color of the air is different.
I notice the walls: I am appalled.
They are covered in peeling hair.
A sound from my throat is cloyed
when no locks brush my shoulders:
I raise a hand to my head,
my scalp is floral.
Unoffending and bland.
The floor aches with a lusty flesh breath
and my figure doesn't rise or fall.
It’s hard to realize it when I touch
my body, it takes me a few seconds
as I pick splintered wood
from my belly.
In the lutheran white window
One thousand sprites eat the sky
making room for noxious gases
we need more kaleidoscope
In our sunset-storied still lives
Showers cascade off shoulders
A mardi gras snare t-tak takk tak tak t-tak takk!
Further studies indicate
Dreams make better rulers than facts
Pull shades from the forrest catalog
Pick an exotic pollution
Set the correct contrast
Here are some samples to inspect
This land of subjective evidence
Makes it easy to believe
What can’t be known
We’ll never fully know each other
We can celebrate or make excuses
Hang a silent faith on the firmament
I want a press.
Isn’t that crazy?
I’m going to order it
and watch that dog
over there-do you
think we matched on
our way over here?
I hope not too much, God
I hate those couples, the
way you know exactly how
they are in bed together,
I’ll wear the polo, babe,
and they’ll know I spank
your ass if you keep your
hair down-or am I too sexed?
No reading at the table.
Look at me, I’m watching the
dog, I barely know you,
we’ve never done it
-Heidi Koos, from Parallelograms, V.A.P. 2014.
Sound like chewing
Cement the ocean
Seal in the rain
You broadcast noises
When you eat
To steer from yourself
Sometimes I’d rather lie
In the middle of the street
Than spend the night
Lying with you