Borgeois. Quaratania I.
in their new homes in Florida
take to being slow
holding a candle
but not holding
a button-up dress.
Nothing angry can be gathered
in this chapel.
with inuit breath.
Giacometti. Woman with Her Throat Cut.
at the interstices of nature
the tendrils and exoshells
Tell us about
of the psyche.
Weave your holodeck controls
and layers of tarp.
amounts of lemon
controlled by phones
in the Netherlands.
We wonder aloud
at your happiness.
Giacometti. Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object).
Back into the century
of being amphibian
but with helplessness
in our mouth and hands—
with symbolic systems in our eyes
and a bronze torture
in the leg
like the emigration bus
of Ayn Rand.
Ernst. Lunar Asparagus.
Elide with those big eyes,
white vegetable saleables
cast with fire,
into palindrome talk.
that basic hand grenade / that keeps about-facing
I don’t skinny dip I chunky dunk.
To be plain and unadorned is to be helpless and unattractive.
Relationships are forged by people who just happened to have these body parts and not the other way around.
She blacked out due to lack of oxygen but regained consciousness at roughly 23,000 feet.
I was never the man I used to be.
You’ll have seen plenty of news stories telling you that one part of the brain is bigger, or smaller, in people with a particular mental health problem, or even a specific job.
Life itself is just the dead on vacation.
Process & Sources: These sonnets use only found material and are assembled using text analytic software and a database. Shakespeare has a guiding role as well. Read all about the process here. I don’t tend to keep track of where I harvest my lines, but in this sonnet I recognize that last line that I picked up from a Tom Waits interview.
John Lowther was a founding member of the Atlanta Poets Group and active therein from 1997-2012 when he ‘went solo.’ Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. Two other sonnets from 555 have been published in Uut, here and here.
tow the harking groove
a bark as sure/ as story
It’s when you’re trying
to talk about God
and you don’t know how
that you discover
another city is possible,
where the only facts
that exist, exist
as incidental music
from forgotten movies,
or as retweets
of movie quotes (e.g.,
“The life of a repo man
is always intense”).
drink milk there,
and the statue
of John the Baptist
outside a church
searches in the bushes
for his missing head.
art by JohnMoProductions
Admire the Japanese beetle, luminescent green racing stripe between its bombazine wings/ admire the sky, shredded and fading, like the eyesight of a syphilitic/ admire the woman from HR who drowned herself while on vacation/ admire everyday objects – brown beer bottles, metronomes, gas fireplaces – some with only one good eye, some with a dog’s heart/ admire the phenomenon represented by the word “glint”/ admire the refugee writer Theodor Adorno, though that wasn’t his real name/ admire cadences long since replaced by the stuttering silence that we pretend, for the public’s sake, suffices.
See Zizek touching his nose.
See it replaced by another kind of liability:
sweet Princesse de Parme waving across the aisle
celebrating a very approximate breakdown
in the eye of eyes.
Leaping peppers could sometimes just as well be defined as
in the neverending story
of your white elephant salad.
Mussolini wept; catwalks fell;
and carefully manipulated concomitance relays its
retrospections, anticipations, and red breasts.
From the waste down we are the suspension of disbelief.
From the tombs of our fathers to now we are the activity,
or rather the presence, of the narrator himself.
Nothing can overreach its own nonorganized position.
All possibility laughs
like kind hatchets
in the unrealism garage.
seed text: Narrative Discourse, by Gérard Genet
art by recombiner
seams fiery spots
from age seven fluorescent green
petulant airborne snakes
epoch night after night
sky splitting at the seams neon snake #1 Mom’s face foams forth
a shaken carbonated drink
fiery; she arcs her head
cutlery tines of forked tongue wounds,
You buried any chance
I have of a meaningful career
sliming electric-glow snake #2 is three-headed:
first topped with spiked brown hair, angel skin, goatee
second a squeezed lemon expression, char black freckles
third mouldy spots tattooed multiple piercings
third hisssses, Who’s the most stacked?
first’s tongue drills the air,
Hide, go ahead, hide behind
second: You have to repeat
I fly inside my skull—my only helmet
enduring double winged snakes
soaked me in flighty
swelled in my core
a clinging pupa of desire
to stifle serpent alarm bells
my shut eyelids; Red Sea part
cider light; ear-ringing silence
Our city becomes another’s city and they don’t even live here.
Our city becomes another city that will one day glow, for miles underwater.
Our city has strategically-planned streets, and accidental cobblestones. The neighborhoods have their symbols, their light-pole banners, their car washes and coffee shops. Clogged drains and stray dogs and condos and bullfrogs. A little fence to keep the heart in. A garden. Ten Thai restaurants in a row. A bus stop and a newspaper on every homeless porch.
The neighborhoods remain separate, or they collide. Some are ramming into each other, smash-mixing, in the time it takes one body to fall from the observation deck.
The streets below the streets are daunting, gurgling with sewage. A black-gloved hand motions outside a window. People are coughing, steaming into each other’s faces on the subway. No one has a face unless it is cut out of a magazine.
I moved out of the city. Now, my neighbor is the one whose name I forget every other conversation. His neighbor is me, and a young family with closed blinds and a yard full of broken plastic. We circle each other like dogs, not saying anything. But the truth is that we live with our families and this is a nice neighborhood, close to schools and shopping.
I moved out of the city and now I don’t even live here.
My neighbor remembers how bright his city glowed too.
Our sons are jerks and we are embarrassed by what we thought we knew.