The following is an excerpt chapter from Ms. Never (published November 1, 2019) by Colin Dodds, whose poetry was previously published here at Visitant. The most recent description of Ms. Never: Ms. Never is the story of a woman with apocalyptic depression, and a man who buys human souls using the terms of service in […]Read more "Ms. Never | Joel’s Last Night, First Night – A Short Story"
Out to Find Ourselves we do you at the foot of a precipice skirting the brink this abyss I ahead of a glacier ahead of the curve And the crevice doesn’t move unless the earth beneath it moves it doesn’t shift unless the landmass shifts The glacier moves albeit slowly as the tectonic plates upon […]Read more "Out to Find Ourselves"
The Secret Lives of Things I want to learn from slime molds How they take the shape Of tapioca or icicles or pretzels Pink toothpaste, brown cigars Sucking nutrients From rotting leaves and wood And then become blue crusts Yellow splotches, tawny curlicues And vanish. Their weird diversity and transience Speak to me of beauty […]Read more "The Secret Lives of Things"
Night, Cyan Young woman, come and sit with us ghosts of wisdom on the veranda under the shelter of a night sky that is cyan and purple in color. Forget the shadows of his arms Instead feel the darkness of a summer night as crickets in their chorus begin to share with you all the […]Read more "Night, Cyan"
Dark Raisin The drinking glasses stay in bed Tight and dry in a shadow chest Light invades the belly-hole She’s been trying to cleanse for weeks Walls will harden under harsh neglect Violent piety will crack riverbeds Our Lady of Guadalupe lives in a candle jar Who told her a belly glow would placate her […]Read more "Dark Raisin"
Your friends are not your friends Your friends are not your friends. There is no such thing as a friend. The wasp devours the honeybee on his dutiful search For the final flower. The flower stagnates, smelling sweet for no one. If it’s true that you kill the things you love Then she loved me […]Read more "Your friends are not your friends"
Between Grief and Joy The beaten path is nondescript, a right of way through pristine lawns and tree-lined streets of gracious homes, well-shaded in the heat of day and sound as caves on winter nights, with mantled fires burning low to warm the dens of hibernating souls. You head due south beyond the park and […]Read more "Between Grief and Joy"
Husband: All Earth I. Led Zeppelin on Spotify, movie posters on walls, Coors Light and Old Spice, here she dove softly into cool dust. At home, it was canyons and dirt, long showers after boring sex. Her husband: all earth. Here, they were all bodies, purple Gatorade, no sleep. II. Third Eye Blind on Spotify, […]Read more "Husband: All Earth"
Political Harvest Toward the east Through back porch screen Clouds are forming their ranks Against the sun A crow’s distant cawing Gives voice to solitude Worn like a thorny cloak And mocks that final promise Hope and lifeline once Now become more lethal Than foreign shrapnel Pines murmured all night In their high, strange tongue […]Read more "Political Harvest "
Praise for a June Morning At half-dawn the male cardinal slams his beak against my bedroom window, time and again only to retreat every few minutes to trill his maleness. The mourning dove coo ooh oohs in the woods as a smooth breeze invites maple-greens to ride its flush – to suggest fresh is how […]Read more "Praise for a June Morning"
The Stick Dawn is doing dawn, breaking its yolk. At the bank of the Trinity there is oneness. It is in small part, about the destiny of a conifer branch, cracked in an early winter’s wind. At the shoreline, its rhythm laps at the graveled bank, bald as a drumstick, thick as a child’s innocent […]Read more "The Stick"
Slivers After Creeley’s The Flower I think I layer tensions like bottles shattered in ditches the thirsty refugee hides. Each faulting gesture blocks breath, catches in my chest, cracks knees in a fall. Tension is a wasting blade It slices that one and that one and that one. R.T. Castleberry‘s work has appeared in Roanoke […]Read more "Slivers | After Creeley’s The Flower"
Our Mettle Purged our steel tempered our blade whetted unsheathed our valor proved approved To pierce the outer darkness cleave the inner sphere Strike while the iron is hot and the heart is cold the symmetry earth-shaking and that old sentry defense slumbers Love is a sound sleeper and no match for a determined offense […]Read more "Our Mettle Purged"
Hard Noises Education is not the antidote for the destruction of the world See: Cracked skin dry knuckle wet with blood on a climber’s hand Jagged teeth slack jawed bottom of the mouth skyline See: No triumph over the bootheel of power in this lifetime The mountains are not silent For the skiers sscht sscht […]Read more "Hard Noises"
Barred From The Hive The birds have gone to sleep tonight And after more nights the unnecessary drones Will be homeless, barred from the hive, Buzzing around the discarded soda bottles And trying not to die but verily dying While I lie here waiting out another year Of my lifecycle Alone Alone, Barred from the […]Read more "Barred From The Hive"
Joan Rivers 1. on your right the dark thing father’s letter to a tramp college strippers’ dinner you’re not invited crackers from the machine get off stage people expect even from an amateur one good thing necklace from classmates a climber fifth avenue jab and punch rarely real corn-flaked motel dirt-blackened tub hard blinding a […]Read more "Joan Rivers"
Conversing with Alexa I keep teleporting myself between centuries. I keep searching for something I can’t remember. I’m a spider, flinging out threads of attention, my web without pattern or center. No, the center is hidden massive, a black hole. No, I’m an elk circled by wolves and I can’t keep track of them all. […]Read more "Conversing with Alexa"
Like Gimmickry watch like gimmickry with wonder with patience take big pie promises when they come along bulge my belly glass my eyes spur my devotion with the smell of your hair wet and standing affected somehow shrink my wonder shape my tongue dig my grave when I’m dead and gone Aaron Warnock comes from […]Read more "Like Gimmickry"
Impressions of the Sickhouse I watch in the world, amused by massacre and gin, homeland walls, holiday wars. Viewed from the barred gate darkened surveillance cars prowl, aimless under winter afternoon skies. Cold weather tramps straggle past construction generators, pavement gaps, work order water leaks. I take into consideration the symbolic and the sin. I […]Read more "Impressions of the Sickhouse"
The beetle dragging my ass low along tarmac like the body of an overfed beetle. the van slews about, legs on ice behind me, all weight, all hollow weight. . . . . . DS Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been […]Read more "The beetle"
Let Things Slide in Corona Time Does the dust on the table matter so much? If the sun filtering through window highlights neglect. Do I count days from my last hairwash? When it hangs in locks of dread and the mirror declares it’s time. Vacuum up dog hair? So grateful to have dogs, comics who […]Read more "Let Things Slide in Corona Time"
As You Are You think yourself slick you with your curvature you with your shrubbery the metallic taste of your possibilities the concrete resonance of your surroundings distilled to your very essence the things you taste the things you hear and smell and swallow the crispness of your purity your bleached essence the machine of […]Read more "As You Are"
Dayton Street Remember when diapers were delivered By a truck with a stork painted on it? I still see that truck once in a while, Like a sighting of the Goodyear blimp. Or maybe I made that up; Memory and reality don’t really mesh. Crashing the Tupperware party, I found more plastic. But far be […]Read more "Dayton Street"
Burnt Rice It’s a broken leg — as in not my fault, the reason I put food on the stove and forgot it (I) existed which is to say that I existed once, I think I was a fish. When you called me into the room to say I burnt the rice, I faded blue. […]Read more "Burnt Rice"
Muriel Spark 1. why and where a tinsel coronet chosen queen of poetry so nice to have one’s hair stroked by a teacher she submerges her telephone his words moisten faraway languages spill from her unheld hand alone she wanders South Africa what a long walk and with a baby robin to feed the earth […]Read more "Muriel Spark"
GW20:12 This year is the warmest year on record. Feverish. Blood pressure off the charts. White count up. Sea level up. Hurricanes spiral across the continent, wars spawn like virus. The Middle East goes up in smoke, sparked by some careless match. The globe seems to wobble. Hyperkinetic pulse. Myocardial infarction. Anti- biotic-resistant strain. Desperate […]Read more "GW20:12"
Below is Part 9 of 16 monthly installments for Visitant. ◄◄ Read the prologue / introduction ◄ Read Part 8: Holding Patterns: Dowries Lateral dots et alia, I ditch anterior peruke, reconfigure dorsal ballast, and streamline for cultural pursuits as sleuth Dot Motley, Esq. Suited in dated sharkskin, I minimize drag and launch forward in full […]Read more "The Jill Hill | Deep Nectar: Rendezvous"
Untitled some branded some empty roadside stops stupid beasts and giant devices painted with pleasure baked by sun and camera flash visit my fresh dream we’ll sit together picking at cracks in our used cars’ leather seats Aaron Warnock comes from a very diverse family. His father was a Methodist Pastor, his sister is a […]Read more "Untitled"
An Animal or a God Paint glistens yellow in the night rain, dark Bacardi pours easy over ice. Like the ghostly colonials of Apocalypse Now— lost to France, dying in Vietnam, I’m stranded in this tiger wilderness. Half-awake, sleep leeched by dread sense, I avoid the sun, seal doors and blinds against mutations of neighbor […]Read more "An Animal or a God"
All the mournful songs They pick the finest days To play from the treetops Where the orioles whistle And dogs howl at the feet Wailing branches bridge Into dirges at sunset When I go out for a walk Along the shore – Saturnine sea sighing To my face as I gather Pebbles for a headstone. […]Read more "All the mournful songs"
River Dogs River folk have destroyed the bridge beneath an obsolete moon their dogs run wild lizards grasped tightly in their iron jaws beneath an iron moon the bridge yaws empty a tracery of absence where the bridge once existed dogs laugh into the throat of history observing the ongoing battle between freshness and salt jellyfish encroach […]Read more "River Dogs"
The patio It’s Saturday. Easter weekend and I am up early. I am cleaning the greenhouse, bent down with holes in my knees, dragging out spiders from the dark places where my grandfather stored pots and sprouted succulents. on the lawn, you are wearing my shirt and carefully painting a bench and wooden chairs, flaked […]Read more "The patio"
Wooly Mammoth Eventually the permafrost surrendered him To genetic speculation. Gog and Magog, the door was agog. Sort of goes without saying though. Now I know I have to get Myself out of trouble. Before leaving town Check the weather and your luggage. Many words spoken to me have seemed English. He instructed me in […]Read more "Wooly Mammoth"
Patti Smith (Lost Objects) kitchen shrinks the mind small framed pantry quietly slowing tiny black fish breathe briny oxygen alive frying in the pan sound scratched lungs aplenty but minute breath sink drips sit herself stay herself smaller sippy widen water hotter daughter husband coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee small photograph for the camera sit […]Read more "Patti Smith (Lost Objects)"
Identifying Features Is it suffering who joins you at the table? Or is it merely cold and gloom, an animal discomfort? Does it tell you a story? Does it whisper in your ear? Does it try to sell you glamor or pain? It has this trick of sliding away when you look at it, as […]Read more "Identifying Features"
Ode to the Library Imagine the ideas that float around, some sticking to the stacks like kites caught in power lines. Some gummy on the shelves after decades of disuse. Some so juicy you could scrape them into a blender for a smoothie to sell at the fair near the merry-go-round. Or the hands that […]Read more "Ode to the Library"
That seagulls would grieve for you, circle down as cries still wet, almost water, making the sky look for a place not asking for more salt –mourn the way a whitewashed wall is handed over though a boy in sleeves is waiting nearby with his initials around someone no longer there –stone by stone it […]Read more "Untitled"
When We Go the robots are busy cleaning up after us: the dust in the rugs, the dander on the couch the tangles of hair left in the blankets the corpses piled in the doorway. everything is sucked up by evidence-erasing nozzles poured into black garbage bags separated and incinerated. eventually, there will be nothing […]Read more "When We Go"
Signal I am in the presence of several little listens. Clearing of throat, move the stiff scorpion lodged in the boot of mouth where epiglottis flicks up and down like a broken switch. I cannot ignore the passage of claw from stomach to esophagus. I have a sound— bless the cricket and the kick of […]Read more "Signal"
What Title? The night they drove old YouTube down the printed word felt good again. I saw five kids read a book aloud. Their heads were full of tempting notions. What title? I don’t need to know that. It’s on the cloud, thank heavens. Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), […]Read more "What Title?"
This is a Dove This is a dove, I think. I’ve never been good at bird identification. That’s funny, now that my job is picking up dead ones killed by the windmills’ spinning blades. There are 60 windmills in this “wind farm,” lots of dead birds. I think I might get a book. I mean, […]Read more "This is a Dove"
Below is Part 8 of 16 monthly installments for Visitant. ◄◄ Read the prologue / introduction ◄ Read Part 7: Twist: In Parts What happened to those swell analog T.V. game shows with big-box prizes—Oneida ware, chinchilla furs, avocado-green refrigerators? Plenty of work remains for Mother, but Queen for a Day with host Jack Bailey […]Read more "The Jill Hill | Holding Patterns: Dowries"
Crown Shy crown shy trees leave a space between so their neighbors can feel the sun, the rain, a breeze they do not compete for these resources no throwing shade breaking limbs in winter winds there are no winners there are no losers crown shy trees leave room at the top I look up and […]Read more "Crown Shy"
Amor Fati “you cannot flee from yourself.” C. G. Jung, The Red Book Hello imp, Hello demon, tormentor, friend. You are dear to me. I wear you like a cap of wires, live snakes that needle me, jam fire down each nerve, make me hop to. You are a match, scraped up and down my […]Read more "Amor Fati"
It was a birthday gift, sent alone the day before your heart leaves for a place that’s safer—a book on travel, what to listen for, by yourself in walls that let you look back while your shadow is taken away —it’s too soon! the ribbon is still splendid will spend the night the way a […]Read more "Untitled"
Signature Theoretically, if I were to put my hand against that tree and keep it there for years and years, the bark would continue to grow until it enveloped my hand send leafy tendrils along my arms and under my flesh. But if I were to stand here for a little less time I could […]Read more "Signature"
Seven Women In Line at the Pharmacy at Dusk We are quiet and courteous. The woman with Tylenol lets the bent-over woman go in front with a cart full of incontinence briefs. A man tends the scanner and register. His shirt tail needs tucking in at the back and his hair could use a slicking […]Read more "Seven Women In Line at the Pharmacy at Dusk"
Fridge Magnets Fridge magnets make the family. Remove one and memory fails. See them linger on the broad door. A museum of trips and pics. Each moment one reaches for wholesome milk the past does its best to please. Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of […]Read more "Fridge Magnets"