13.

Sister’s Sightless Eyes

should be lookin’ in lookin’ at
all that Godly goodness

                        oozin’ ‘round

                        toes in crick mud

No light had we: for that we do repent it.

Mary, sweet violet, I never really meant it
and God hates a liar

God

God hates

God

~Lauren Gordon~

(this poem appears within Lauren Gordon's new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Fiddle Is Flood", now available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/227740935/new-fiddle-is-flood-by-lauren-gordon?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

12.

Sister Carrie Feeds the Chickens

and they egg, too the ceramic ewer

inside my belly
shattered on the back of a horse he galloped

did I fly I had life water
wetting leather

a lady mustn’t

won’t swing water stick legs in church
won’t want plasma alone        Charles, she gestures

little pitchers have big ears and spawning ovum
have we not heard the bridegroom is so sweet

he galloped did I fly and I was tented

I was an outhouse I was pinned under the town drunk
I bleed            I flew
his breath a fire the town a fire I fly I fly

~Lauren Gordon~

(this poem previously appeared in Luna Luna and also appears within Lauren Gordon's new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Fiddle Is Flood", now available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/227740935/new-fiddle-is-flood-by-lauren-gordon?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

11.

The Pig’s Death Squeal

makes us squirm
and cling under
the muslin sheets

we ate his brains
blew his bladder
to a balloon kiss

Pa lets little girls
eat the curly
curly tails

all good dogs
get their reward
and young ladies

get theirs, too
because sap
runs greener

where the sun sets
Jack, friend, fiend
running and green

~Lauren Gordon~

(this poem previously appeared in Luna Luna and also appears within Lauren Gordon's new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Fiddle Is Flood", now available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/227740935/new-fiddle-is-flood-by-lauren-gordon?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

10.

Be a Good Girl and Swallow the River

silver fishes and all that swim in the darkness
like flicks of shine because good girls suck the mud

and this is what it is like to lose your blood
to make a body you drink it up and push the river

push the river up and up the mud and what does it mean



                        what does it mean to lose
                                                                        mud

~Lauren Gordon~

(this poem previously appeared in Luna Luna and also appears within Lauren Gordon's new Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, "Fiddle Is Flood", now available here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/227740935/new-fiddle-is-flood-by-lauren-gordon?ref=shop_home_active_2)

*

9.

Another Spine

My spine is damaged at the bottom-
damned thing pops out
up and over my other bones.
I am nothing but bones.
Where is my meat?
“Where is my meat?”
I fucking yell.
I can’t help myself.
All the months of living with these-
barely alive old people
have left me an
incredibly angry person.
I wanted to crush their gray and white heads
with my tiny pink hands.

My spine jutted out in places
like wooden Jenga blocks-
waiting for someone to kick them out of their way.
My spine
compared to a
child’s game-
is this what I have come to?

Then some Asian girl asks me my name.
The elders look around me and grimace.
And I hate it.
I hate it!
And I scream my fucking name.
And the Asian girl screams at me.
And all becomes ablaze.
And when it is over the Jenga blocks have burned to a cinder.

~Davide Nixon~

*

8.

The Grand Kingdom

I am living and dying in Iowa.
I am a resident of Iowa.
See me commuting daily in Iowa.
I do it so very well.
I take a train sometimes
from town to town.
(And sometimes I feel like breaking
down and crying
and then killing myself
by cutting my body in half
with a chainsaw).

I always arrive back in Iowa
in a big dirty train,
back from Kansas
where the corn is always greener
and the people are never
rotted on the inside.
Iowa, where the rats eat
our children on Halloween
and the elder gods crush our skulls
while we sleep.
I will die here.

~Davide Nixon~

*

7.

Food for Sharks

Have you ever wondered how you
became friends with some of those you call friends?
How now, as you look at their choices
a sense of grim wonder permeates everything?
How now, as they choose again to
wallow in dark, filthy places
all in the name of love,
they make no sense?
(Did they ever?)
How now and, sadly, as always,
they choose paths toward
self-destruction
with glee in tow
and a jaundiced smile?
How now they choose to embrace
the toxic channels they’ve always chosen,
where integrity and dignity are rumors,
and crack pipes and dead-eyed cognizance
and dreams cut up on mirrors
and the salty bile of so-called “pleasure”
(not hers, never really hers)
and bared fangs tearing into hope
and the roller coaster goes on unendingly
and the crash-test dummy wears your face
and standing on your tip-toes means
you might reach up to the curb
and pull yourself out of the filth
(yeah, right)
and remembering who you once were
is a reminder of who you’ve always been.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,
it’s always a fucking dog and, really,
if you chose to whore out your soul
for drugs and love that have about
as much resonance as an itch at the
back of your throat
well
who am I to question any of this?
I’ve often wondered how
I became friends with
this flailing person
who refuses to listen,
only to admire oblivion
from her perch
on the portside of
The Great Ship Nonsense.
There’s one life boat,
I’m sitting in it.
It’s up to you to join me and
Save Yourself
BUT
You won’t…
You never have.


*

6.

Black Dog

The room was large but it was small to her
The walls closing in ever tighter
As a hug from a stranger
A smile from the void
Clutching
Clawing
Stealing her confidence
Derailing her train of bruised thought

     The black dog eagerly licks the bones of misery

Duct tape and sodden rags
Stuffed at the hems of doors
The kitchen window
Snapshot to a sunny spring day
An empty swing set
A lawn in need of mowing
Dead flowers
She turns on the oven and sips her wine
Red is good for your heart
She’s read
So she drinks as much white as she can
Funny how the brain works
When it knows what’s coming
Justifying with a glimmer of hopelessness
She kneels before the open oven door
Puts her head inside
Curses God
Curses life
Curses the bland and nonsensical
Curses breath and dreams
Curses Sylvia Plath for the inspiration
Inhales a few last times
Before sleeping soundlessly
A phone rings in another room
Messages left she’ll never return
The evening brings shadows
That linger over her dead body
The front door opens
A knock on the locked kitchen door
She must be in one of her moods again
He thinks
Wandering upstairs to take a shower
Understanding nothing of her pain
Now silenced forever

As the black dog howls in the distance…


* 

5.

54

i see myself now. i put down the knife, the bottle, the pen. i levitate while coffin-siting. i see now.
driving barefoot the liquor store. spend last $5. drank in a church parking lot. Merle Haggardly.
suck down pharms for hard-ons. gyrate & spill give voice to swill. the falcon lost its falcon gene.
wish i could tie myself to a javelin and get thrown your way stabbing into truth of earth. shunk.
strings break. instrument reclaims the man who plays her. he comes home with slinky bronzen.
mosquitoes are always shaving my beard. people drag Christmas trees up stairs losing needles.
my thumb meets the smiter as i get nailed down. it hurt. i was always dumb as bag of hammers.
winged things navigate massacres. swift lithe uzi teeth. in heaven blood up to your ankles. awe.
you only see history as ruins. poems have sundrenched eyelids. you blind to both? stones talk.
human speech once swaddled in root of oak now on streets in asphalt cracks wry seepage song.

(from the long poem Tattered Scrolls and Postulates)


*

4.

VI.

The stars bloom
in the black soil of night
five petals to pull
without end
and the sky agrees
she loves me
an infinite field of proof
let her remember
when I walk in that garden
pulling petals
while she sleeps
that I love her
without end

*

3.

red flower

the bullet emerging from his forehead: a disaster
of blood petals and bone-shard thorns

his life emerging fully formed from his forehead a split second
then body and all staining the snow

rising northward on an avalanche of winter ice
just another log in the red river

submerged, belly full of bubbles and trembling for release
elementary school backpack of riverstones

young street dealer turned informant in rural america, just another
dope dealer

just another young man found at the banks of the winnipeg river park
whose mother questions why

the bullet emerging: a disaster of liquid petals staining
the red river red 


*

2.

Hands in Storm

Watch the hands of light dance on the horizon.
The main artery of life throbs like a beacon
from a lighthouse in darkest moments
before the cymbals crash as waves
on handy shores. In the shipwreck you call Life,
watch the hands waving distress flags.

In the silence, when a storm abates,
when trash left on the beachhead
is weighed as worthwhile or garbage.
Notice its craftsmanship or its flaws.
When pulled loose from handfuls of seaweed,
what will make your decision?

Here it is. You are holding it.
It feels like the last moment of your life.
What will you do?

~Martin Willitts Jr.~

*

1.

Leonardo Studies Anatomy

These are the hands of a gravedigger.
Familiar with the rhythm of a shovel
tossing dirt over the shoulder,
the measurement of deepness,
the length of a person’s life, the width
of their errors.
The soil smells of earthworms.
The soil grabs onto you and won’t let go.
It wants to keep you.
It wants to punish someone for ruining it.

Leonardo digs when no one is looking.
He digs into darkness like a vole.
If they saw what he was doing,
they might wonder if they are next.

His hands knew what to do with a pick ax.
They swing as a pendulum.
They count time off like a conductor.
When he is done, no one will like his music.

He removes the body out from the grave
to his house to examine the remains.
He opens up its secrets. This is dangerous work.
If caught, he could get killed.

He dissects like a reverse mapmaker.

These are the hands of an artist.
He is drawing the distinction
between knowledge and innocence,
fear and repulsion, to see what is inside.
From his experiments, he will learn
more than studying from the outside.
His hands hold the beginnings of anatomy.
What he cast aside was ignorance.

Sometimes, you have to take information
into your own hands.
There is risk in making this kind of music.


~Martin Willitts Jr.~