and you can believe in god or
you can not believe
and in the end you die

and do you want an apology?

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And so we burn, we drown,
we wave goodbye, eyes fixed
on stars and alligators,
on the last page of Hemingway,
​on a swamp that teems

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I look out the window at an old Victorian
hands trembling on the wheel
my daughter places her hand over mine
"You can tell me anything"

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Wisdom presumably learned
from the stabbing death
of Kitty Genovese in 1964
and the neighbors who watched,
​each waiting for the other to act.

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When he's fed up with being invisible
​and doesn’t want to be a vintage pic
he walks to the beach, plants feet in the sand
next to a tropical grape tree and waits.

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is what I meant when I said that sometimes
no matter where you are or who you are
with it seems you would be perfectly happy
on a world with one island surrounded by a big
purple ocean filled with really nice apartments.

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“that george bush looks the same now don’t he?”
“same as he did when he was a kid. you know it’s him.”
“he’s a good old boy ain’t he?”
“better than the muslim we got now.”

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I grew a bruise that purpled
into a tiny apocalypse
which I kept in my shirt pocket
and started going to fancy cocktail parties

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Because of either infinity or
invisibility — the translation
is unclear — there's been a lot
of jelly crystals downloaded
recently around the world,

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This started the apprehension, that a crafty
The Dr. irrigated Jule’s nose with ice water
and timid policy was getting rid of
and a syringe.  She was panicky and screamed and

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Because with every because
with every because
with every because
I felt the shame of it, the fault of it

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You are a painting by Thomas Hart Benton with luxurious black hair and beautiful pale white skin

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Someone in a white coat spots your dick,
so the world thinks you're gendered male,
which leads to you dressed in blue
and ends in a bang on a Baghdad street
that you don't hear before it hits you,

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and create something mystical out of this mud
Dude says, “somebody just shot me in the head!
I can’t pay attention to that! YOU pay attention to that!”
So I crawl 150 feet to the next gas station

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The last time I heard the word redemption was from a guy who then dropped a Springsteen impression in the Best Buy parking lot. Beyond, goldenrod, high tension wires. Vistas are temporarily unavailable.

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We wanted to fire live ammunition.
We paid attention to the warning sighs,
the subliminal hisses in the midst
of concertos—indicators that some
of the electrodes had come loose again.

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We have ceased to be
Ourselves
        We go on being beings
Not selves or wholes
                Wholes with holes in them

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Turn up the voltage 
and burn out the light bulbs.
Step off the pedestal
and conform to nothing.

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He can, of course, murder his enemy’s
Children in their sleep, re-educate
Entire societies, round up all the passable
​Women in a village to create a forced labor brothel.

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There are a million terrible stories
in the world.
​This just happens to be ours.

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He has an app that flounders me in dopples, in gangers. Hello! I do not wish to linger. I dream of  revenge that rankles, of gongs bonging when the time is up. I have heard that you can download the app.

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Whereas good mannerly pensive prehensile Pence
him go dog-diggety nosing up unpoliced spreads
of othern’s privates downward through dives
divoting him roughs whilst lowering the rank

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You walk the avenue.
You swing your hips
like a metronome.
​Time is ticking away.

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receding arrears panic
when disruptions concealed
their lost awe
​                      to abdominal radar

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"Cold Wave" by Vernon Frazer requires image support

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There was an America
of red brick with limestone trim.
It was small, overcrowded,
and stood, in upper New York Bay,
at the edge of that other vast America.

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It’s time to go home now.
Tomorrow he will return
to pick up the pieces again.

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In this Paris neighborhood
I read a book on The Resistance

to strengthen my poor French.
As I close the book the sun starts to set

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Beneath soft skies and damp wrapped mountains
old men now bundled in earth against this cold
are fading memories of their war
​like sepia photographs lost in attics

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Unlikely Stories turned 20 years old on July 1, 2018. The 20th Anniversary Issue was released on July 4, 2018 and included more than a hundred authors and artists.

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The season of leaving arrives and we forge makeshift vows and conjure ceremonies out of smoke and flowers in a tiny cabin. Why, always, this shack stacked with dead wood upon dead wood?

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To set the process in motion I decide, arbitrarily, to use the three lines on page 62 as a post-snippet. Then, I begin at the bottom of page 61 and, working my way up to the title, arrive at the following poem:

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even the levee’s black & blue
the river whittles every stick
collapses lax   relents
its trip out to sea

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we burst forward like lightning,
prepared to claim our destiny

what we tasted, we wanted
without swallowing salt

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But she was only shadows for
relic, vined up the lattice
work of astral rise. Drawing
air to the beds of her form
turning through another room,

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Which is why I’ve kept my secret cold.  Blank. Unforgiving. When I’m out walking it calls to me.  Sounding high and strained. As if a string instrument gone out of tune. Something to reach toward.  Frayed yet determined.  It eats to my bone working its way beyond.

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A flower born of a passing goose on
the verge of an unfinished sky
never hesitates to become a memory
of an insane supermarket cashier.

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Sister says it’s redhead Judas
she can place it in the Holy Word
Sheriff leans from the passenger side
says it’s gamblers playing side bets

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                         The great hall is ornate,
unpeopled, terribly hushed. 
Hand holds an unshelved  book that
won’t open.  One after
another, books that won’t open.

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His Purple Haze became my breath, my flesh.
Star Spangled Banner sizzled —
igniting the world with flames
from his guitar. Jimi flipped the Strat
over, reversed the strings—

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