It's lucky they let the mutations be benign here.
I've heard horror stories of short straws drawn
at the northernmost checkpoints, the debilitating
fancies of an unfeeling organic engine;
biomancy is not a pursuit for the sentimental.

These new carnelian fingernails of mine throb
like a collision, grow like rat's teeth,
and shimmer in low light. Cross my crystal
fingers and hope to find that these precious hooves bloom
enough for its filings to secure us safe passage.


To think--little else sits between me and oblivion
but this fuckin' suit and my own penchant for panic.
They can't train nerves out of you but they sure
try to train you to cope. One... day? night?
our electrician asked me between swigs of
lab grog, "You ever been naked and weightless?"
I turned it over like an altered person does with
every dumb koan they coax out of a coworker.
"Once long ago, a time before time, and now once
every other day to wipe down the solar panels."

HAIKU [vessel] 

Sunday on the lawns
the dull wind of passing bikes;
this is your vessel

THE CURSE [knot] 

What mischief do bracelets and chains
get up to behind closed doors? What
metallic tango do they dance to end up
that entwined, a nest of silver snakes knotted
in twos and threes, cheek to cheek, clasp to clasp,
inseparable but by the daintiest, most
patient fingers. There is talk of a tangle so
transcendent that even the nimblest digits
can't undo the dangling dancers, and so
spot-welded to one another they might as
well be. They have forsaken the
neckline and chosen themselves.

RAVENBALL [raven] 

Granddad willed me only two things:
a set of silver bocce balls in a black
velvet case and a scroll in an empty vodka
bottle. It said "Our family has played ball at Raven
Park since the age of lamplighters. I want
you to keep the covenant; smash this bottle
and lay the shards at the foot of the big oak.
We know corvids play, but they also spectate.
Only fools think black cats are bad luck,
and black birds are much the same. Throw
the jack true, and the ravens will see you safe."

GHOST OFFICE [spirit] 

Look at that face, spectral rosy cheeks,
spectral patterned tie, spectral canvas
pocket protector. They've got a big pile
of ghost adjudications to get through
today. They commiserate about the
newest ghost baseball draft class and
make plans for ghost drinks later that day.
They scratch their head with a pink kneaded
eraser and ask their office mate for
a second set of eyes on this complaint:
"This isn't wrong but somehow it feels
against the spirit of the operation."


Sunrise finally peeks through the slits of the turquoise
blinds. Your outfit is fanned out like color swatches on
the rumpled comforter. You're due on a westbound train
and I've got to catch the bus downtown. You admit in
confidence to the slippers and socks that you'll miss me.
And like your keys and your wallet you'll find me right
where you left me, near the dustings of cat dander,
long stalks of barley growing from my eyelashes.

HAIKU #2 [watch] 

watch the June air warp
the space between the pylons
dotting the thin fields


okay I'm bending the rules here because I wrote this back in February during my week of subway poems but I don't think I've shared it yet so here it is



@derek This is a superb piece! What was the inspiration behind it?

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@wordsmith Thank you! If memory serves, it was just a collision of a bunch of things: it was a wet slushy winter, I walk to and from a subway station on my commute, my job involves talking about the weather, and I started dabbling with tarot cards a bit


@derek Your job involves you talking about weather?! Brit here, you have my full attention.

Being out in the weather without a metal box protecting one is an under-appreciated form of connection to the real world.


@wordsmith I love just walking around in whatever weather (except for, like, torrential downpours and the like)

I'm a closed captioner by trade, and one of our clients is the Weather Channel, so I often have weather on the brain

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