Archive for the ‘THERMOS 9’ Category

THERMOS 9: Jeff Downey

Jeff Downey is our anchor leg. We run one of these poem/essays at the end of each or our issues nowadays, and are remarkably grateful to be able to do so. We hope you will enjoy this as immensely as we do, we hope it alters your day. — AS

Usufruct, or To Glean

         “In attempting to control a breachy bull…” the old barbed wire ads used to begin, back when products were new if you advertised with an essay. I still prefer the almanac over satellite weather, for its frost charts and soil pairings. When you settled in cattle country you were either a granger or a nester. The distinction determined by your neighbors from the hills, as one could tell easily from above whether you intended to fence (an abomination to the cattle trade) or not. The worth of a fence was the worth of stock eating the worth of crop. As the worth of security was the worth of a life hedging greener. Wire contracted in winter and expanded in summer, which prevented a patent until someone determined that all fences should include a turnkey.

In another story problem, one morning I’m eating at a diner. The waitress is out of placemats, so she gives me one of the children’s coloring sheets. The mazes and outlines are easy enough, but the quiz is surprisingly difficult. There is a geometry question, something like this:

x ———— x
|                 |
|                 |
x ———— x

The ex’s are trees. The square is a pond. How can you double this pond’s area without removing the trees? I make all kinds of canals. I interlace the square with a rhombus. It’s all I can do to manage the year away from Sondra and New England–the first in my noticing years. In Colorado, fall is the one in six artillery shells that swallows its fuse and then nothing, a dud, though that dud is the best of the bunch because there is suspense in approaching, hose in hand, sunglasses back on in the dark. These new, non-blight elms let down their yellow dress. The driveway is maculate, but smells like paint thinner. Bright like thinner and almost warm too, like coconut. There are too many teens this year, a Halloween enthymeme: Anyone taller

than the person

handing out candy

is required to trick,

preferably a song

and dance number.

My prompt: What,

didn’t you listen to anything

on your iPod today?

Sometimes the way out,

as the tide heading back

to sea, is delayed

by spiral, the water

rounding rock,

but that is only

autonomy speaking.

                                  As every household is fed an electric current that requires stabilization, and it is unfortunately in the act of stabilization that countercurrents create the very attraction back to the source which shocks us: every month, on the month, the full moon of our wedding. Then moon and calendar unravel. It wasn’t our intention to elope, though the ferry to Acadia worked just fine. Arctic terns scattering and landing like a Duke Ellington quote, “No, this is not piano. This is dreaming.” An alba understanding

Skin is geodesic

Each way the leafstalk

Can be pushed

All summer

The nightblooming

Cereus fluffs its lines

We start from the ledger

Of a mind at rest

As iron

Suspended in a stream

To take an awl

To the vellum and watch

Cuneiform vein

The dawn bites down

Throws its light


Eat something

An hour

Every stage along the way

Lemon to curb

An apple browning

That there is flaw at noon

A flaw built to

Dwarf cedar

Pythagorean silence

And the blue


Not to be fallen asleep in

It is not perseverance

I have to learn so much

As quickness of perception

Once hold

Of a mode

By its fingertips

I don’t listen

I don’t think

Which is enabling

Of the whole hand

List your benchmarks they say upon hiring. Well, I’ve watched Man with a Movie Camera all the way. Most stunned when life and sport begin to merge. The man throwing a javelin (CUT) to a man goalkeeping (CUT) to a woman about to sunbathe (CUT) covering herself in mud (CUT) to a man wading with tripod (CUT) back to the woman now on stage (CUT) to a voyeur with tripod actually not shooting anything because (CUT) the back of his camera is wide open and flapping in the wind (CUT) to a man washing mud off in tide like a summer snow angel (CUT) to cameraman again trying to glimpse between slats of fence (CUT) robins on ground (CUT) paint cans on scaffolding (CUT) chores undone, a man at the races betting on (CUT) carousel.

                    Because surely it’s to be exposed to all the things that bait us that we live. The first time you’re asked to jump a friend’s car, not knowing whether you’ve hooked the cables correctly. Or to share a cigarette. Putting on the agony, putting on the style. Skiffle proceeds from mere onomatopoeia. We endure. It is innate to duress. A white eggshell which has never had to hide in plain sight, evolving to robin’s sky blue, to who-would-have-thought discretion. This butte made do as a perch. This tree all that chalked up to be. One washboard, cigar box, comb and paper at a time, kazoos have a way of taking shape in rubble. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Bernadette Mayer describes in Midwinter Day the fantasies of early explorers to the South Pole, how they would describe the meal they most desired and then everyone in the party would vote on whose was best, all the while starving. The trick is to jog memory and attend the past without synchronizing alive and bereft. Because artistry shows as the pencil dulls. A friend’s child invents superheroes according to boredom. Window Man. Alone Man. What powers are there for overcoming (or achieving) melancholy? I would call on the student who resorts to our lost reliance on smell, deliberately peeling an orange during class’s awkward silence.

                               Hence, our acclaim for what deafness or blindness may heighten. Rain all week this week. Rain like a sprinkler head chipped by a lawnmower. A neighbor illegally collects rainwater in barrels for his cistern, asking rhetorically, “Do we need to treat water just to flush our toilets?” That most major religions arose in aridity–even Buddhism, being so mountainous–implies dogma comes from minimal expectations. And we feel the minima all the more young and alone. I am a composition teacher, an adjunct who lives in a carriage house in an alley. I don’t know how to keep water in, or out for that matter. I’ve rarely if ever used lotion, but love how soft my hands are washing the skillet I use to fry bacon. Think how erotic weddings were before our lives hinged on entertainment.

                    Essentially, when you boil luck down over the last ten thousand years–evolution and history’s “winners”–the best thing we can do for our descendants is to live near and with as many animals as possible. Given an antique and then given a trivet for that antique, you want to put the kettle into action. As far as compatible

with the substance

of the thing

not being destroyed

or injured, give me to know

the thrumming lockbox

generator by the pond,

by pumping water, keeps unfrozen

and keeps normally migratory

birds around all winter,

–ankle collars

and paintball scars–

the right of enjoying

all advantages derivable

from the use of something

that belongs to another–

even if it’s just germs

you’re harboring

                 My Norwegian student tells me of a study group where groups of mice were exposed to Mozart, heavy metal, and no music at all. The groups then ran in a maze. The Mozarts won over the long run, but the metal mice won the study in the short term, tripling their time within a week before killing each other. Another study asks the question of whether you ever had the illusion as a child of being able to talk your way out of a dangerous situation…a kidnapping or stickup. Back when reason was disarming! I’ve always loved the scene in Rear Window where Jimmy Stewart flashbulbs the murderer to buy some time. In landscape photography it’s easy to tell the difference between amateur and professional because a professional things dangling foliage in the corners of the frame or foreground is not desirable. But how patronizing to think everyone wants a pristine middle distance. Sondra’s audition rotation for a residency away in Maine uses a selling point that sometimes at the hospital you can catch glimpses of Aurora Borealis. The patron, or pater, from “to pattern.” I’m seeing also: Horace, Ode 4.11

(a footloose translation)

Now, almost nine years cellared,

our best vintage is at its peak.

Dear wife, spare nothing from the garden.

Tie your hair with yellow-flowered ivy.

The young are everywhere. They gleam the house,

garland the lamb, even the bloodstained altar

appears fresh. What kind of candles are they?

Did we once burn as clean?

I’ve neglected to announce the day.

Today is not mine, but my patron’s,

whose birthday divides April, a month cruelly

dangled from one year to the next

as the moon the tide, the tide the shore.

Dear wife, you may look at him,

but you are not strong enough

to drive that chariot. His young love

is smooth and eager. All I have are words,

though I think them equal to your lyre.

Return, last of my loves.

Without you there is no envoy.


THERMOS 9: Melanie Noel

Melanie Noel’s poems captivated me from the first time I heard her read, with editors Andy and Zach at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle. Her voice was soft and matter-of-fact, the poems spiderwebby, tense, spare, and full of dazzling, painterly language (“vertical the nightsweat of the trees” was caught in my mind for days after that reading). Her book The Monarchs, available from Stockport Flats, is a gorgeous read, my favorite book of 2013 so far. -JT

[Cloud, damp envelope,]

Cloud, damp envelope,

diarist.                   Imperial cloud.

Cloud that will come tomorrow.

Alien cloud.         From imperial midnight.

Faucet, invisibly on. Invisibly licking

the diaries.             Rain, cloak

& speedway.                     Midnight,

without hands-

The Mews

                 Vertical the nightsweat among branches forcing forth

their green ears. Bone of moon jimmying

the crow’s valiance.

Hello crows, hello! Look there we do

                 at those sighing comics

                                  floating over container ships         the gulls.

                                                   Opera halls both

                 grousing the water’s not oligarchical chamber.

Aye, there, a soft anarchy.

Them, ruffians.

                 I mind you with a metal love.

In the alley no birds but wood plays the bins and a vine drags the bell’s tongue down.


                      Entirely the nun a siren         in my trench of plums

the dead canons’ anti-shimmer calling bouganvilla by jasmine

dying fish     v.     dolphin,              & jasmine,         beggars

at the outskirts of        the heartbeat being climbed out of        Entire at me

     his footman’s eyes         I say: Other peoples’ soft eyes for

            other peoples’ soft eyes        keep it up: accident of my heart:

amateur knot:              bad raft versus      the Vocal flower

The night is widely interrupted            cicada     x       ambulance

           Pale the blood red of rooftops

Sky’s Duration

Rain what wreckage                      interversal coin plucked

from unsullen clouds.                                      But that one retreating

into the mollusk:             Warden of secrets:

the sweet derangements there.


Elm, I had a vision but it would not simplify things.           The shutlet on the lull

made of me a bed and clutch. Clutchlet the flock gendarming impossible birds.

               A trap, tree, and then I held close the string of my tired blood.


The sea stood in him. It recited his name, not unkindly.

A barracks he was to it. It was no place for me but I did not walk away.


Arrowheads are sequestered and lost in the organized field. They point in every direction

                   drugged compasses of just-underneath. They line up like language trying-to-recall.


Straight lines do not come by themselves lightly.

They measure infinity.

They are a surfeit of vistas.

Bloodline on the horizon, for example, swallowed by the sea and then that place above,

                                               a burrow bending in the clouds.

THERMOS 9: Carolyn Blessing

More poems from THERMOS #9! Carolyn Blessing, formerly of New Orleans, presently works for Outward Bound, in areas between Florida and California.

Wide Night on the Ukrainian Border

I abandoned my face and stilled, to remain well suited for most things. Machine guns lined the gate, and me with my hands drenched in black sugar from Chust. It was midnight and starless and I’d been alone on the border for days.

In Lygra she’d said, I don’t know what’s worse, to be religious or cynical. That night firmly fixed between neither. Stuck shock-less. Like catching someone peering between curtained windows. Water seemed imperative then, but the line between need and want had sharpened (thank god).

I refused to cross with the stranger’s cigarettes, and I didn’t miss another train, and I vowed to learn the Cyrillic alphabet, or at least the name of one place to hold written on a scrap. Sleep continuously impossible, I knew joy could come in waves (if willed). But urgency didn’t make anything honest. It felt fair to unsettle, and watch the beetling precipice fall, towards a pinprick that was some untouchable end. It was a wide night.

With dawn came rain. Fat fantastic drops smacking at the pavement. A smell as wet and dark as it felt. In infancy my mother held me outside in rain for quiet. The feathering of its taste green and lush when breathing.

I carried all the sawdust up the steps and turned to face the tracks. A light reflected unwound evening back. Wind glittered down the spine of a tree. I re-gathered my own backbone and ran. At a sprint I lost track of my legs. (Thrilling) a brain has the power to lose its limbs in thought. I was conscious, then, of it feeling good–

South Station

Pronging the city. Rye at the belly of it. Your one indelible eye.

In a giant sleeping insect, watch the caged sky settle. Outside, an endless lick of olive trees, a wash of shingles in delicate crumble. The undulating segments bombed were found again in water. Cracks re-sealed to form a woman, blank with eyes. Her parts are statued, fastened to a bridge and now — she is the sum of what is heaved. Heaving in her naked bones.

You eat pork tongue and almost eat the tail end of your cigarette, telling me your grandsons all are gorgeous. When you breathe deep I see your dreams puff round. Each singular twist a lift. It’s elegant. Turrets fountaining your eyes, a waterfall about your mouth. You say women are olive trees: twenty years to bear fruit but then we live forever, ingest everything. It’s a gesture of surrender, to a saturated dawn. I’m soaked in dark.

                                       We arrive beetle-like. Elasticity in inches. Growth not seen.

Arrangements in Gray

I learn a lot eating macaroni in your kitchen
elbows propped on green linoleum
it’s ugly, your kitchen
we laugh about it


we go to the ocean on a loveless day
on either side of the horizon we float
same, sky laughs at our lonely–
I learn to love the gray of it
a distant meeting of limbs
a tree that burns blue on your carpet


after dinner we read in silence
while berries boil, filling the house
a dream state that swings slow
your bedroom walls are post-coital murals


I spend the evening untying
de-feathered and flawed feels excellent
a body lusting itself
a skeleton grieving itself
at daybreak we are of ourselves


I drive home with the radio off
past an adult video store lit pink
all I can think is how girls in my high school
stole thongs from department stores
tomorrow will open its mouth


on parting, a gift

THERMOS 9: Dan Rosenberg

Today’s new poems from THERMOS #9 — 8 of them from Dan Rosenberg! Dan, who co-edits Transom with Kiki Petrosino, is a dear friend of THERMOS, and we’ve published poems of his previously to these. He lives in Athens (Georgia, sadly), where he’s completing a Ph.D. You can purchase his first book of poems, The Crushing Organ, from Dream Horse Press.


The lawnmower rears back,

blades a fake circle. Damp
grasses launch a halo.
The white dog marks

a perimeter for the mailman
sailing about with shades
like gold coins. Two spiders

in a wind-tossed web hold on.

The Carriage

spokes spin, turn
a walk to stop-

baby steps up
his hand in the wheel

the body’s a reason
a riot
from work

missing a purpose
beyond? who

Ad Hominem

This house is always
losing to the lawn.

Grass watches me be
foolish with garden shears
and foolish upon a trowel.

Mostly I’m present
as periphery.
Sometimes though

the network slips.
A stumble the producer
overlooks, and I fail

to perform my skin,
a bodily laughter

never quite breaching
from a subject
to a person.


The passive entrance
to the body politic

collapsed. A door knocked
from its hinges

Oh they were rotten, we say,
and past the threshold

a carpet lolls in spittle.
Step into the squish

like a newborn
backing up. And

past the threshold
we feel the disconnect.


         O hack
the planet’s bitter
core open,
         the light
drinks deep,
the elemental
         a realm,
plants tuck
away the sun,
the primary work:
a scrotum
to the atoms,
         to our hard
we offer packets
         of desire:
we’ll burn
to keep it


When recovery happens
I’m diminished
like city fog blown.

I creep. My face
dissolves in a fit
of population.

Some commuters
survive. Faced with
what’s peopled, I breathe
into a blunt ache.


When the basement
neighbor’s TV calls up,

an anchor’s
rusty chain, you

rattle in it all night,

sad little ghost
when you think

yourself awake.

Default Swap

A deer kicks. Can’t take
another summer fire. Scrub
my ear to the floor

of the pool. This
is rest. I float so low.
We’re far too smooth

to rustle and thump.
Heavy sun. And what
endless drying under.

THERMOS 9: Matt Freeman

Matt Freeman is an anchor for St. Louis’s independent poetry community, teaching, mentoring young punk rockers and starry-eyed students, and starring in the town’s many small reading series. He’s published five books, most recently Boulevard of Broken Discourse (Coffeetown Press). I’ve never seen him read without a Cardinals cap on. -JT

You Call It Bondage

I’m just a bunch of mud
that God’s breathing through–

I was having a cigarette
outside of triage
with the calm hippy nurse
when she suddenly asked me,
eyes ablaze,
how long it had been raining.

“Death is only a failure of the imagination,” I said.

I got out of there as the wind
picked up, marking a gradual diminution
of power and the weakening I-Will,
I did or did not put out my cigarette,
I was either supposed to look back or not,
I remember that this was very important,

when the bus went by
this guy–scratched his neck–
I was doomed–I got the signal–

but the wind was gentle and inexorable,
there was no one I had to worry
about matching my rhythm,
it was just me and the payphone,
I didn’t even have to pick up the receiver,
fake it till you make it, I said,
this is your first dream,
here comes the wind, no worries, no wages.

Of the Educational Variety

There was nothing more to be done with me once
I’d begun claiming I was Cuchulain,
mirroring the nurse’s Irish accent.

Somewhere deep in Forest Park was the girl with rays
of light coming out her eyes, the transcendental
bum who hid his mattress in the copse, my
shoes were filling with mud and water,
I was shocked by a mocking image of Lesbia
kissing two guys by the statue of Saint Louis,
Diana sat on the steps of the Art Museum with
a crushing sexual sneer. My heart raced, I was
a chubby dark-haired kid with all kinds of laurels.
Unable to read the clouds, I made it to Del Taco:
No service at the drive-thru without a car.

Back home through the hallowed basement
and up to my top floor, disorganized,
shit all ripped up in the primary process,
the only order being
a bottle of wine and loaf of bread on the window sill.

Breaking and Entering

Heavy-feathered, Bruekner having bought the tabs,
sixteen years old and affect still
in the glowing dark and breaking outward,
Bruekner bangs the wheel and says
Nothing’s happening Matt, nothing’s happening,
it is a neon moonscape admonition now,
compensation for the feeling of flight and
a cop pulls up we’re behind Ruby Tuesday at 2 a.m.
Bruekner tells me tell him we were talking about girls,

and I have to enter the rear seat of a squad care
with all that dashboard shit shining
looking for the breaking-apart and recuperation,
receive an astral panic curfew ticket,

back in the Daytona Bruekner says you’re
not crazy unless you rip that
ticket up and toss it and as I do we turn
onto Lindbergh having come up strange

and later looking at breasts in a magazine
call Chad and have him call us a shrink
lying quietly in each other’s arms
“you boys keep it quiet down there”

and hear whispers in the hot morning shower
every sensate quantum, plumb the lux,
it was a miracle we’d even fallen asleep,
not far out, not groovy, darkly
burdened now with brooding illumination.

THERMOS 9: Lauren Haldeman

Continuing with work from THERMOS #9, our newest issue, here are 8 new poems by the amazing Lauren Haldeman. Lauren lives in Iowa City, where she works for The Writing University. You can read her poems from THERMOS #2 right here.


Making a baby
is strange: how a golden fish
dies in a cave full of
plasma–& pretty soon there’s this
huge crying computer.

Mortal Friends

I fell in love with Ellie & she became my friend.
She touched the face of the state of Iowa.

Inga drew a picture on Vera’s back. Vera drew
a picture on the earth’s back. A stack of waffles

and a radio became friends. It was early March and
they were making burritos in the kitchen. You could see

the rice stick to the air. Clouds & a croquet match:
they made a baby. The baby was named A Perfect

Afternoon. Inga drew an elephant on the
back of the antique store. The drawing was so

intricate–a mix between petals & snow. She said
“This is a portrait of my mortal friend.”


As Cynthia eats the sweet potato, a rainbow grows
from her brain. That tiny door opens

for a split second which allows her to notice all her many names through time
which were also many other people’s names…

Inside two capsules
are two tiny boats

catching two fish. When Cynthia takes these capsules she realizes she

shouldn’t have

yelled at the Information Technology guy
about the scanner. She was not in danger. It was not personal.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

a short film of squirrels
premiering outside
the window. O!


I cried because your head came out of my body. Your whole body came out of my body & it was nuts. It was absolutely insane. Then your hands kept hitting your face. Over & over, you didn’t even know what your face was, but it still kept getting hit.

Everything we did was wrong. The cat put his butt in your face. My milk got in your nose.

At night,

I pulled you




on the bed

where we slept




The baby carries her fever in a basket, stopping at a squirrel. Look at this fever she says. Her hand reaches out in the way that someone not yet hurt by giving reaches out a hand & it is good. Exam books fall from the sycamore. In the baby’s mind, the sycamore’s bark is a magnetic talisman. A gift. It is the reason she came from outer-space.


We are in a forest
we find a deep spring

a metamorphic rock face
& carved symbols:

*next to the banded-face god
a plume of feathers

*an alligator looking to the sky

We hear a sound it is
the story of giving birth

coming from the rock face
no, we mean

actually being said out loud
by the rocks

behind the hidden pool

saying to us: see those
glowing dots in the small cavern
like bits of prisms

those are souls

They look white
yet as they flicker you will notice

it is every color

See now
one of those lights
is passing into your belly

you will have to push
Somehow this is not a surprise

We look at the water
out of which a face now rises:

ambient layers of rich
minerals and sediment

maybe the chest of a jaguar
or a bird with a toothache, no

it is a woman, the face
of a woman we know


My human, I held your head against my breastbone. I called a seagull and asked for more taffy to be flown in. I wrote the boardwalk committee and ordered up surreys, ferris wheels, kites in the shape of seagulls. To the mirror-house, I said “no.” To the seagull, I said “seagull.” On the beach we applied meat tenderizer to a friend’s jellyfish sting. My human, it helped. My human, there were sentences in the sky. My human, there were popcorn-tins flying through the air. Glow necklaces. Grandmothers. Slideshows. Matterhorns. If I were told to start a collection, and it seemed wise to start a collection, and everyone else was starting a collection, I would start a collection of you.


I wore my Orioles shirt today & tried to “be
in the now.” Met up with my friends like carrying

a beach. Last night, I thought a different baby
was in the bed with me. Lonely lonely lonely.

No one writes me back
on the Font Face forum.

The clock says 11:42 pm. All the
different times are one time.

If a baby turns a year, what does the parent turn?
Someone sleeps

& it is quiet. We sleep & it is magic.

THERMOS 9: John Bowman

These two poems open THERMOS #9, released today, which we will post the entirety of in the next two weeks. John Bowman, formerly a New Orleans poet, now resides in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. We miss him, down here. Here’s to more of his poetry in the future! – AS


Who’s fed up with the News?
                                                      The NEWS!
                                                                                          The NEWS!

Let us fling our money into the streets
From rooftops with bright plumage
Scream what we’ve learned
Since the Sun’s eruption
Buried our sky with ashes

Time surges through the volcanoes chambers.

glass         water         blood         salt         oil         gypsum milk         foam         shit         mercury              paint

In six motions of the wind. Trash into chaos into a cement hill sealed.

A dream-like world decomposes
                                                               and we our desires refine
                                                               and we our desire refines.

The men imagined ice-cream lava                  flooding their prison.
We’re scientists gathering honey, froth from the ocean.

Up and down         hectares of hothouses
my shadow spins through angles
of sum light by transparent halls,

enormous panes of glass!
as a season may stretch
over the bridge between                  our sorrow our stars
out there in the river glowing.

I am immersed,                  My being’s charged with cosmic rays.
My eye lives in heavy-scented bloom.
The humid room full of light
                  drains minus electric dark-currents.

Province of Orchestras

Renovation of the honeycomb city’s
broken safehouses exactly as we construct
stores of stories and stories of stories,
                  scrawled-over scratched walls
                  conceal a mirror’s pulse within
                  which we knew someone knew everywhere
                  through yet undiscovered openings.

Through greenways
we struggle with time’s
churning color-cycle, water
wheel eyes by which worlds fall.

Tree uprooted and branchless.

Storm of echoes. From underground
a roar drowns the magnetic sky.
                                                                        At the periphery a shutter spasms

What your gaze struggles to hold

your dark body greyed your home

of lightning chimes.

We have a doorway behind us. Our eyes,                                     O         your eyes

Are not the ice are not the sea
not jewels but gold lights’ black boxes

Live shadows of branches in mind.
The mind a field of remembrance in the land our body drains with, dreams with
To and Fro between furrows and folds in the daylight, in openings of pain.

Made us to lie
down and lie still,
safed as the seeds
shook from ancient
hierarchies of sex.

Dawn burns the woods away
and we rear up in original
imitation of blossoms our
hands grasp our genital faber
the toolmaker clasps world stems
like tentacles.

Symmetric syllables
swell in the fruit’s rot.

those which tame the hive…
Hermaphrodite bud-heads split
into flames and flame vanishes.
All art and all science a product
of rain, the illusion of rain
as it shoots from its pools.
The air suffers the land spreads

OUT from loam’s carbon-black

ONE manifold root grips the bank

                                                      already undercut by the steam it overhangs.

Spontaneous chemical engines alive.

A life to shuttle water weave light

INTO a form which mutates and gives birth.

What else did the dream receive
but corrupted limbs, faces, eyelid
too heavy to read.

I could not identify my companion
with my head twisted as we turned
onto the Grand Boulevard a simple city
of deep sides and skyscrapers.
A school of prostitutes sat in a crescent
of cafe chairs slicing apples with bright knives,
and what can’t be done with those?

First remove the rot,
says the surgeon
paying the bill.
Spare gesture chosen
to replace the crowd
with sustenance and shade.
A sense of gut chemistry
and paranoia, heavy-headed with money,
tongue-tied and tired. You wanted
to listen in on our
continual offerings,
poor and bored by the wharves
with no window.