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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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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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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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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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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we burst forward like lightning,
prepared to claim our destiny

what we tasted, we wanted
without swallowing salt

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

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Even after death.
I wear the t-shirt around the house.

The heathens sing.
About my unbuttoned blouse.

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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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Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were blasted
​for more rocks to crush into powder.

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‘Who you votin’ for, Ray?’
The constant refrain makes his glasses slip
however often he pushes them up his inherited nose.
‘Ain’t votin’ for no damn body.’

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It was
a simulated
training exercise
set up
just like
a hospital
​in Afghanistan

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You have 3 minutes.
You have to pick
3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes
to live over and over until they wake you—

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He couldn’t say that he
Couldn’t say that he couldn’t
Wish for a kinder father.
What could he say, faced
With those sorts of choices?

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To speak in parable, the
most vintage smoking
paraphrenalia is super light
& packable because it lets
you leave the poles behind.

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I have buried men like gods
dressed in the rags of the state,
my fiery way
in the throat of things to come,
beautiful women robbed
​of beauty and sense,

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Swilled on Labor Day at Lake Havasu
With body bags more plentiful than
boats
Drifting from motel to motel

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When we think back on it, we’ll call it “the end times”
and remember the strongmen tying knots in their thick ropes
just before they used them for saving those in the crevasses.

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Woodpecker's red head
inquiries of poplar tree, what
​be this sad struggle.

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O sand O silk O galactic black wild—she dances naked, breathless, on the web-spread surfaces of Zodiacal light. 
O exposed bruises, O love doubled into madness, madness into self murder 
flood of sunlight bouncing off dust particles, ions in the coronal plasma, forbidden spectral emission lines—

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human chrome, cooing
and cooling 
on the New York
thru way

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