i pulled the rifles
the switchblade
and gun from
the rabbit hole,
and laid them
​across my bed

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The idolatrous ink runs red once more
and we wash our hands of the whole affair
trying in vain to keep the fresh blood from dripping
on our Sunday best
​while consoling ourselves because after all

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Our founders didn’t want freedom
from religion as much as freedom
from that particular religion—
they worried about competing
sects getting too authoritarian,

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To anticipate and prepare for an America without Roe,
my mother warns in a voice as assertive as the Pythia,
it’s necessary to remember America without Roe:
self-induced or back-alley abortions for those without
means or alternatives. Agonizing, often gruesome,

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Ever nightmare through a night out, ever
lose some major coin, ever slot machine
past Mr. Right (or Mr. Whomever)
before cuddling up to Mr. Mean?

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I fought
for love
for money
I fought
the power
I fought
​myself

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High risk, heeded by bed rest,
propping her feet, misshapen,
pale, easily marked, when pressed,
a plush pile to alleviate the swelling

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+mercury
+hesitation
+emptying
+orbiting
 
 
I am not fit to yell

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Hades replied that rules are rules
Anyone who tastes our fruit
shall remain
consider six months above ground
a bargain

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Lust drive
startle, flinch, fear
the bifurcating exits
split curbs and sky between
the silhouetted highway sequencing

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Why do Black men have to be so angry?
I wondered how to not tell them that grinnin’,
dancin’, singin’ and callin’ on Jesus only go so far.
A real Black man’s hurt where they cannot see,
or how he learns to cleverly hides his scars.

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an ash quarter horse buggy buggies
& a Ford Model A four-wheeler
wheels over orange dust
& a red-seat Kawasaki
 & silver side-car weaves between lanes

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i have swam with the mind's eels of mediterranean opuses
i have meditated on andean precipices on finities & infinities of being & seeing
hidden in plain sight these realms appear before me untouched by mind
​uninhibited by mind unfractured by mind unspun by mind

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i feel it,
shot as it is,
in my chest—
then, outside,
a report

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“Kill the Indian, save the man,” they proclaimed.
Sent off on trains to faraway places,
hair shorn (was mother dead?), uniforms issued,
home languages silenced with slaps,

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and Gloria resigned herself to her fate
the inevitability of her mother's caring fists
striking her head, her sides, designating
her calloused, open palms for her face
careful not to leave any black eyes

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I had a feral streak and that day when the ice cream truck passed by I ran out of the house, straight into a big sedan driving down the street. I bounced off the side right by the front wheel.

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they have forgotten the nightmare
            that every crucifixion is a carnival
            that goodness gets arrested
            and that you can buy a flag
                        at a truck stop

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dutch-drugdeal-

er-defenes-

trating-chet-bak-

er-like

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a poisoned napkin come quick from the sea;
a six-shooter with fiery chambers full
to bursting in far and away the most
lethal hurricane season this century;

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“Three strikes and you're out,” he says in whispers behind the scenes.
Out on the street, no job, no way home.
Permanent as a bronze statue, ripping young from their loving families;
A sickly angel, hiding among the crowds outside my favorite gay bar.

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told them about the fires,
the screams, yelling, flesh,
how the flesh howls for dying even after it’s dead
the trunk decapitated and the howl still standing
in the air

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A Ukrainian army combat medic who
was decorating her new apartment in Kyiv
with pink carpets and fluffy curtains,
now sleeps in the basement of
a building converted into the headquarters
​for the Territorial Defense Forces,

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After the missile hits the school the boys stream out laughing. They laugh for no reason. They laugh at the reasons.

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Baudelaire and Freud liked to get into the Silver Sands Tavern around six, before all the tickets for Crazy Tuesday Chase the Ace were gone and they missed out on winning the meat-pack.

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At root, everything composed remains mineral and chemical. Radical: cut the node at of its conclusions.  The tendrils know dirt.  Yes, I too have known fire. I have seen the helmets cutting the surf, bobbing in the foam and viscera.

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Do not kill a mountain
scooping out its ribs to find
its lungs, organs and thread, ribbon
of bright.  If you do,
​you will unknot the growl

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Roped in trios revolving,   
only one bullet per waltz.
1 dead, 2 alive as they fell to freezing
waves. The Danube turned red then, 
like the first plague against the Egyptians.

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I imagine your dark fingers combing through graying hair. The baths, the fat sponge squeezed over chest & leg of bastard & benevolent alike. The nervous questions. The pills, the concentrated orange juice, the cup of fruit, the trays. The apologies of the incontinent.

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What’s it like to be nineteen?
Not all heart emojis and dorm parties
For a survivor carrying all that guilt.
It’s too much sitting in classes now:

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The bunny person takes off their head like a series of Russian nesting dolls, over and over again. Unexplainably, each time, beneath the previous head is the same head, the same size, the same texture. How do they all fit?

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My grandmother ate a dog once
in order to survive. She knew
that Joe Stalin wasn't the worst
man on earth. Angels swallowed
their shackles and shadows and shuddered

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rest your bones by the fire, hang your flesh by the door
wind hasn’t the strength to come in, muscles would unfurl
and spread from wall to wall but bones want to be legible
through the cloud ceilings, when angelic satellites
come to identify us and hollow our bones so we can fly

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I approach the slur
         as I would a dog,
I approach the dog
            as I would a stone.

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We made hours to have something
to count, so dying is another
name for productivity. Clean
​as you go so you have time to dread

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Obviously I’ve changed. If I could choose between myself
from the past and the one from now, I’ll choose ignorance.
And history will lick its bloody mouth again.

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As Howard gathered bags of marijuana and Etienne’s expensive
     New scale
That he had stolen from Lady Snow’s,
I smeared my blood on the walls in a detached, tongue-in-cheek
​     Gesture,

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at the last cultural hollow
the divorce of collision motive
from a left-wing counter vaunt 
handed the ambiguity gone
​to rupture fairway cactus

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Tiffany and the Nimrod took their first night in a motel just past the truck stop, in a scarlet and white bridal suite. The motel had plastic furniture in the lobby, and “Jesus loves you,” graffitied on the condom machine in the public restroom.

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I have no genetic fitness. I did once: my genetic material was carried by my sister’s daughter, my godchild and niece, Irene, whom I raised and let down. She committed suicide at the age of 35. She was a psychiatrist who knew pharmacology well and a determined individual who said that if she were to kill herself, she would do it so that no one would know.

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