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Crisis Mode #6

You don’t even know it’s recurring
until you start flipping back. Same

thing. The hill’s too steep to climb,
you have to grab it by its grasses

and hoist yourself. You don’t have
the strength but you have friends

as guides—an heiress, a rabbi, or a
soldier. “It’s like we’re all on a non-

consensual spiritual retreat.” Aha
moments scratched into the diner

booths of our bad dreams, where
we loiter late-nite, longing to run

into each other, looking up every
time the door opens, astralvigilant.

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To go on in this way


Bloom magenta vengeance
from a molten softness—
to melt—
               and refuse—to
                 and refuse—to
              and refuse—
                                   I can’t remember
how to write a poem—to
write bad documents
where a mouth is hidden—
evyr havyng tendyrness
and refuse—
                     to see
what’s coming—what
never saw—
                           refuse it

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5 (on day 6)

 Looking up I can’t tell
 if you’re a star or an airplane
 Nobody’s flying now—
 a star then, I say but 
 why would the curfewed 
 stillness at this hour 
 unaccustomed as it is 
 make distant light more visible
 Attention resounds
 in the newly opened night
 & pricked by you
 the foxes emerge 
 from their den to yip 
 at geese & caution me:
 the ravens are crows
 & I know that just as I
 know the light
 for what it is, unmoving 
 the river pushing
 over the wing dam
 the sound of the world’s
 long idling engine
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Call Your Mother—Valium

Tell me how the nervous system collapses 

each wire catastrophic and dumb 

how, when the lights get cut off 

mouths open and close, 

missing teeth 

missing limbs 

missing vowels mealy

anise-shaped explosions 

fine dust of smoke 

this city’s vibration 

tuned down and musty

I have been waiting for you all these years 

to come back home to me

            come on home to me

Remember the love electric 

youth, and its lies, 

            sizzle in my ear anyway 

Today we are thinking the same thoughts 

of what it means when we say war, when we say terrorism,

missing sinew

missing eyes, closed and dreaming 

missing synapses that say This I have done or 

will do or wait

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I might answer, if asked

Nesting doll nightmares: I faint, but can hear
In the dark awake into a convo
About insurance and who’s in danger
By whom awake nephew choking although 
Nobody moves to help awake now my 
Grandfather holds him grinning as he rubs
His old face against a ceramic vase right,
You have been a while without a body He wasn’t
Good, but he was so I told him how good
To see him here his skin warm cool to touch,
And wept awake terrible stairs I could
Not navigate at all why did we make such 
A bad purchase
awake across the lawn
The purple dog struts shivers moves along

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corona 12.

corona 12.

my son has the second apocalypse dream
he is going to the store when a chair
falls from the sky he turns
to run as an airplane wheels
down in flames around him
I ask him to remember
deer in the yard
the tender wild rabbits
a flatbed truck full of fresh
picked corn at the edge
of the Skagit River
he asks if school
is now extinct
will children ever be
children again
we watch the Queen
on television spectral and watery
as a World War ll newsreel
telling us everything
every little thing
is going to be okay

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6: a wheel or 2

none of us could have predicted: run the

simulation again, knowing what you know,

knowing sweetness isn’t everything as you

press frosting into your cheek. you reek of

sugar / you’ve grown sweet on failure again.

who leaves flour in the yard picks their

topics: yes, i believe in your well-being. no,

i don’t want to talk about the fact of houses.

logic is the structural wall you’re thinking

to devastate. there doesn’t seem to be intention

here, a sentence with a true duality. we hurt us

to take care of us. no, not that exactly. we apply

each other to our wounds. we point at our fineness.

we finesse the narrative before we know the

narrative: 3am says pleasure says pain also (the

window’s already in that wall). sometimes i’d like

to lay my head in your lap. sometimes i’d like to

borrow your bodily experience. i do my best to watch

the thoughts be waves but i see all of what waits to

sting me, the cloud of it, its sound. is love a feeling

or is it a fever? a state or a state of emergency?

does love’s breath also get short? we ducked the

measure to take the ride but i promise you i’m

always measuring, hand hovered well above

my own head. once i’ve flung myself into the air,

directly up, i feel no different but the earth feels

different. i rename the bottoms of my feet THE

EARTH and set seeds there, unsunk. all day

i slide the potential to grow along with me, under

me, making my foundation with haste, unable

to go beyond the threshold who knows to scrape

away this deranged waiting

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I followed him up the crick, picking 
through marsh cattails, inching over 
the deep fissure on the dead downed 
sycamore. It was two miles and maybe 

more. I crept shoeless from the backyard 
once I saw him heading where he shouldn't, 
grounded again for some mishandling of 
truth so I shot out after, knowing he was off

to the ancient rope-swing near 
the second bend where he'd meet that 
girl again or some friend (this, before 
the drugs) and we were almost there

when I stepped on one of the six-inch 
crucifixion thorns of a honeylocust 
and not just stepped--sent it all the way
through between two bones. At my whelp 

he swung around so fast he'd known 
the whole time. He whipped off his 
Judas Priest t- for field dressing  
and carried me, bloody, home. Our mother 

used black salve like tar and I cried 
without much pain or shame. No, I had 
failed, and this was rage. He was not 
like this--plus what sad scout winds up 

damsel? It wasn't my plan to chase a lost 
cause into the woods only to hand over 
my superiority. A soul wanders to find 
the edges. I never wanted mine 

found out: I only wanted to know how.
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Call Your Mother—Rohypnol

Under the streetlight, on the abandoned corner
where no one walks anymore a kind of sanctimonious 

urging, here is a tree that has died long ago, 
count its rings and tell me otherwise. 

Here, we sit on its stump and wait, 
carve our names in its bark, try to remember 

what it was like to love longer than the time 
taken to find the intersection, secure the bag. 

There are men in the shadows of the trees, 
lurk and lark, branches a touch too heavy 

to be springtime birth. How the lichen 
once arrived spreads, unruly, terminal. 

How the ivy chokes. There are men 
in the cracks of the awnings, in the windows 

of the buildings, there are men who hide 
themselves deep in our blood and, in wait, 

rot us from the inside out. There are men 
curling under the roots of this tree, 

into the dirt, to the core of the Earth 
where they tap their big feet impatiently, 

as if it is your fault planets exist to begin with. 
Won’t you come already, they will say, 

aren’t you ready already, already, already, 
nevermind, I don’t care, tap, eye roll, tap. 

These are the men your mother 
warned you about. Don’t go, 

the tree is never as beautiful as they claim it is. 
The night is not clear.

There are always clouds
covering the stars.

your drink. 

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Men drape asphalt over sand and that’s a street
to feel loss on. Always gripping a steering wheel,
the sensation of shaking. I’m most artless when I run

my sentences long. It is new to tire from explanation.
At what point in being crushed do we die? How long
does the body remember its end? The Carthaginians

crushed men with elephants as a method of execution.
The elephant simply placed its foot on the condemned skull. 
What kills the animal indifferent to death? I stood on a street

and I stood deployed on a street my cat was struck on.
The hemorrhaged ribbon dried down her nose. At what
point in being crushed did she die? Head trauma. Organ trauma. 

Heart attack. Peine forte de dure, used as common law 
in Great Britain, added stone after stone onto the chest
until they entered plea or slowly suffocated. Saint Margaret

Clitherow remained alive for 15 minutes under the weight 
of at least 700 pounds. To close my eyes is to envision a street,
it is to accept and be sombered by its pachydermic slope. I chose

love in strangers who will have me as they want me. I read
that to be desensitized by the soft mounds of death in the gutter
creates a culture of hopelessness. What if I told you this,

that I pray only for the animals only killed as they migrate through
their only tradition? The asphalt draped over millennial lines,
arterial cake on the street. In all this time, you never heard me.

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I put all the disappearing minutes into a concussion

How do you swim in the ocean with your eyes open not in pain

The only way she could show love was through this quilt

Inside and outside of shows

The point of comics was color

Brightness of bright

I keep thinking I’m going to write a list of goals

and then why would I do that

Falling down and getting up in the modern way 

of having been read and being an authority in something

displaying a style so particular it’s practically a miracle

What exactly was the confession

that you look like someone

Back when you were born we ate dinner at 9

In this space by the window we are in a forest

no a magical place and finally there is new growth

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To go on in this way


Burn like insomniac moms
crystalline and wretchyd
camouflaged in the chandeliers
dripping blood
on the banquet—
dropout eggs* 
                      into their prime
the Moët flutes 
their masquerade
a primitive age 
blinded by whiteness

*Deferred future bombs!


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Crisis Mode #5

In the dream we are swimming side by side
In the dream we are trekking two abreast
We each have an oar, circling them in sync

I left the city and you were where I landed
My old life was over; as if in wait
no sooner than anything, you were there

I left the city and traveled town to town
became a snake charmer—oil salestress—
no, hobo / no runaway

“so rarely do we see another one / so close / and so long”

my heart’s glow-broke, facing the city
I can’t go back without rushing off
to cry in bathrooms, even in daydreams

“don’t go dn’t go dnt go”

I’d tucked the song away so low & deep
only a divine seduction could lure it out

so I learned to wrap my legs & swing up
to my branch             alone in the yard

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Coming To

Thick yellow light dripped from the hanging 
lamp, a wicker light, the jade plants in the window
eating smoke while the wine poured itself, so
I crawled beneath the table, four, and not wholly 
me. 1976, all the denim people celebrating 
America outside with late barbecues and slip-n-
slides and sparklers, the gnats down by the crick 
burnt away by older kids with punks, nights — fire-
flies flashed up the hill and the word thicket made 
something out of sound, and bramble. Hidden 
in some kitchen, listening to the sighings of I’d 
guess my own and other monsters, I prayed never 
to grow tits, get caught inside this fog, a cigarette 
life, hating on skin-cells that lit up shafts of sun. Why 
should anyone vacuum the shag if all it did was suck 
away daytime starlight? I wished for a dog 
but when we got one it died, and I never wanted 
in charge of life again. From down between 
their knees I heard women saying all the things 
they weren’t, not really, and felt more and more 
not at home and this is where and how I came to be 
me. Hunting light, disquieted, mine a brittle nest 
among the half-shadow of motherbodies. Mine 
a double life: Glow-watcher. Cindergrasp. The second-
hand. Call me Ashqueen — no, don’t. I’m Mote.