I Beheld the World and It Was Formless and Void
among my fellow swine
and stupid children?
Unless you’ve cut shoulders
in these cornfields, in these
you won’t know these songs.
Trucks croon truculent anthems,
all vitriolic twang and smarmy drawl.
Beneath the sun’s shamelessness,
straw men are pecked eyeless
by fearless birds. They sing
and we could dance while
thick haze rises, that green shock
in the pungence of bled grass
clinging to our clothes, and
the reek of pig filth burning
in our noses.
is a pyre. Open a yearbook,
take a red pen and x
one out of every ten
faces. I won’t say
they were friends, but I’m homesick
for hell and its denizens, a place
where the teleology of trash is to
allay despair, repair human porcelain.
The most common cures are white
power and powder, both bleaching
of flesh and essence. No second
look at the midnight bottles,
the dirty needles, the six barrels
spinning across possible worlds.
This world is not coming to an end—
it has been ending endlessly.
Burning stones grind the sidewalk,
the scorch marks invisible
to my neighbors. The collapsed
walls of my gutted grammar
school are manifest to everyone.
The playground and path
paved over a mountain of mud
in the city park where
On top of Old Smokey
all covered in blood
I shot my poor teacher
with a .44 slug.
They come of age, carve punchlines
into toilet stalls, engravings
shaped like genitals and swastikas.
in chipped marble hands,
in vacant, unlined palms.
The sun tires, throws lengthened
shadows at violent angles.
The high school is erased.
The dollar store is erased.
The liquor store is erased.
A black dog snarls.
Frogs generate from grasses.
The sidewalk dims.
A cicada suicide bombs
a streetlight, buzzes into
flat on its emerald back, another