"What's Greater than Gamma Rays" and "Because there's too Much TV to Choose"

What’s Greater than Gamma Rays?

For her feathery profile I stalk              I fit

this city and its moon in my closed fist

To love her I stuff
hearts inside my eyes—cartoons but pumping 
real blood too—real and red 
                                                  as a child in summer

Come on!

I am as real as a flag 
and as fake as folded in the dark 
                                                    behind a locked door 

But O! When it opens! There is confetti 
and dancing—a black space to un-blank—

We could fill our thought bubbles with pie
till our tummies say no or 
the world ends

                                                        Maybe we will

But I'm looking the wrong way at the sun
like not knowing how to say I'm alive

I'm not sure if it makes me better or worse to say this

I should probably graduate to full-on nerd and
be done with it but what
will heart what comes next?

Why or when to touch her hidden sun or how to snap 
a pic for her
to like on Instagram?

Someone please give me a hand 
mail me maybe in the real box with the junk with the

the key to this door



Because there’s too Much TV to Choose

I watch Planet Earth again               I drift

                                          like snow

between mountain peaks 

to find the safest place to dream 
I need to fidget a little     to find

my meal elsewhere

there's some humor in 
this descent—down the nursery slopes
I go—as in making 

my first descent my first mistake

I feel like an ibex—like a new kid—but 
I may be a newborn valley 

to hold all my oh-so-vulnerable dreams 
if winter if death if the prey from

far away

but I’m an instinct I am the music rising—
a bird in a ten-meter drop from 

                                              desert rocks

scattering myself makes me hard 
to target

all you can do is wait

here in the flat world 
here prattling in your inaction 
you may observe a battle between eagles

over the carrion of half-frozen fox
browning the whitest snow as you

                               might imagine

ice cream 

yes I guess Wallace Stevens there really is
a mind of winter to regard this 



Christopher Shipman

Christopher Shipman (he/him) lives on Eno, Sappony, & Shakori land in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he teaches literature and creative writing at New Garden Friends School & plays drums in The Goodbye Horses. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, Fence, Pedestal, Poetry Magazine, Rattle (online), & elsewhere. His experimental play Metaphysique D’ Ephemera has been staged at four universities. Getting Away with Everything (Unlikely Books, 2021), in collaboration with Vincent Cellucci, is his most recent collection. More at www.cshipmanwriting.com.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 2, 2018 - 11:37