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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it takes a flashing tongue to cauterize
the many spurting necks
before their progeny reach the ground
and sprout reinforcements;

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I want to dazzle off to a repetitive indulgence that transforms particulates into a wave of luster that defines who we will be.

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            I will take only my goldfish and my gun
                        (no suitcase can alleviate my tyrants)
 
I am filled with ghosts and bats and doctored apples
                        blowing up cobwebs with cannons

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                 meaning to hit,
                                      to pound with force,
                   to bring into collision,
to utterly demolish. The poem often exists to remind us that it too must be destroyed.

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and here we are
seven decades later
a racist rapist
in the white
supremacist house

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there once was a brutality
soaked engine that engulfed
the world in its flames
& everyone rejoiced

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I’ve been sold down the river before.
I’ve learned the best reaction to it
​Is imagining an enjoyable boat ride.

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Blaise Pascal's dead,
with reeds still tigers
            once she loved laboratory mud
obscurely knew rascality and palmistry
never sport, seldom a wink

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A pile of syllables
can’t explain thirsty feet
plowing through mud, paper
cups, milk jugs with unread
expiration dates.

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The houses' beats in the Sun,
The grand stage of this hour
Has already its blueprint,
Shall we build it, dear brother?
Let's live it, dear friend.

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Oligargoyle
Diplomasaucy
Evangelicalisp
Liaranuside
Trollocracy
​Trumpoonery

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I can't differentiate these motives from each other:
To pass out water under hazardous sun or to
Gather ash to my ego, senselessly held tight forms.
I shut the door on my fingers to protest. Its too late now.

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A ghost of indistinguishable consciousness
a hoard of old rags
a man vexed
with contortions
of face and body

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An animal with a mustache
and beard.
A monkey or dog.
These frosty blues and purples
​aren’t an accident.

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Mother stands frozen in my bedroom doorway… a block of stone: arms splayed, legs spread, a barrier to my exit. I cannot move her, never could; she’s as heavy as her gaze when she first looked in on me. So, I am left to chip away at her, like I did before she was transformed, but literally now.

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Start at the top of the list
& work your way down.
Social opportunities are
​increasingly circumscribed.

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It’s like you are pregnant with your mother
her or something about her
boiling inside you
like a rap song
no greater image
except for me?

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Blue was swallowed by night.
Red flower became black flower.
Day was overcome
and still all was beautiful.

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There’s been a slump in law since lies became facts, matched by a retail surge since truth’s been discounted. On the boarded-up high street, drizzle-damp cups call out for change in three-for-two offers and buy-one-get-one-free deals to assuage any guilt that may still cling.

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Our empty hearts     once filled
with unflinching     alacrity,
agitated overnight     we stood
by oil radiators    metal accordions;

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