Nobody’s Bored

Because, shit, it’s too dry to snow but it’s cold and the crocus is cold under the wind, wind the cat contemplates through the screen, geese out on the river now terrorized by swans . . . But nobody’s bored with this; it’s elegant just being alive in an age of advertising, not seeing any… More

Hieratic Madonna

I had one of those sinking spells—she was no more than an infant, blue eyes . . . I thought I could smell some reel-to-reel tape So I bought a pill halver . . . Most of the furniture sat fading in the sunshine— The child moved her tiny hand . . . My blood… More

Rite II

The Committal Another small death. My stepfather slips on his boots and jacket, retrieves a shovel from the shed. Christmas morning and the sun honeys over the field, glazing each frosted blade white-gold. Does this look alright, he says, gesturing at the grass, and I say it does, so he pushes the lip of the… More


Life has never once taken a cigarette break. My father used to smoke when he drank. He drank when he wasn’t sure. His father did this, and his too. Heredity sounds like a supervillain. I imagine it rides around in a fast car, with big guns, spreading vice. When I tell this to my therapist… More

Michael McGriff

The poet discusses Denis Johnson, Larry Levis, Coos Bay, and the obsessions behind his latest collection of poems, Early Hour. TRANSCRIPTION Ben Evans: I’m Ben Evans and you’re listening to Fogged Clarity. This morning I’m pleased to be speaking to one of my favorite poets working today, Michael McGriff is the author of four books… More

Teacher of Grass

Those who sleep, doubt, fall on their faces from lying positions while the dross of street lamps and chatter of night-shift life run on the darkness. Sleep is the ordination of senses. Let the lonely bureau preach it, confident in its bowl of change. Let the options of interpretation remain throughout the morning until in… More

Wound Care

Not even the Mexican saints can see how you unbutton your shirt tonight to show me the ghost of a zipper the sawbones left, taking back their staples. All your summer the taking out, sherd by sherd, a kind of dig, the slug he left you with, the rent-a-cop gunning for his baby mama, who… More

Wick Effect

In music but there is no music on acreage but no land remains in history but no past will do in the landscape but the orchards are dead the deeds handed over only the rotted sidewall of memory which can bear no weight where we salted the hay where the barn became char to its… More


She stared at the sky in the seat beside him as they lapped the miles on cruise, then woke from her fugue at a stop sign in Bliss to see just where they were and how much gas was left, to turn from the blue and give him a kiss. Back from their drive, he… More

Glass Zodiac, 1996

There’s a reason the astronomy prof said we don’t as we don’t remember our birth remember the first eye we look into or else it remembers us all Remember he went on Galileo’s tragedies they will be on your final disbelief failure punishment disgrace naming names almost turning the self in but what do we… More

The Androgynous Christ

Put the feeding ritual in a list: One hand here. The wrist below. Turn his head. Latch his lips. Trapped inside the breast: the wholly lost, the curdled hurts, a lesson no one taught. Milk won’t stream into his mouth. In the photo of the window, a Roman Christ with beard and breasts lifts a… More

The Not So Distant Future

Some day, in the Not So Distant Future (and I don’t know exactly Why I like that run of Words: Not So Distant Future, even though it Usually spells something Bad), when everyone will Have to wear special Goggles to protect themselves From the awful sold-out and War-torn air, the new-normal- What-will-be-called Air, People will… More

How to Dismantle an Airplane

“When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness; we don’t have to live like this’?” — Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista shooting victim, Christopher Martinez   Step 1: Exhume the Engine It’s easier than it looks. Break down the metal shell and see a halfway heart of pistons, its shaking air-cooled ending like the… More

Old Fools

You fool, I said, to not look me in the eye. I used to wait for the serenade. Now I’m waiting for some lover who takes pictures of himself alone in his room to notice, beck and call, to thicken my milk. Some nights I go bustle my balling gown from a gray gull closet,… More

outside a ruined casino

The sky is not falling it’s failing as the rainband doxes trees in a wiretap wind : seismic 7, the plastisphere swelling, 413 AR. Here’s what little I know about going about it : coldblack city streets in an outage, kinky blowdown a tape on a loop, the scuffed muscle and worn bone of a… More

petrochemical pastoral

Buying up the bad debt —an edgelands in the air—then returning   the ocean to circulation after a fresh coat of paint : circuit   bent canary song, petcoke for export, préliminaires2, jetwash out of my   aftermarket, hydrofluoro carbon mouth. At night the sky gets   snagged in the trees it goes back up… More


–Rothko’s Street Scene Perhaps he still had crumbs on his lips, his collar, his lap when he unzipped. Perhaps he was still bound in half-sleep, looking back at his memory pressed into the mattress. Perhaps the streetlamp’s inquisition through the open window persuaded the cracker-mattress skyscraper to press its bald head flat against the frame… More

Saturday School Unteaching

Cast to the corner like punished women, or girls relieved to be dismissed for now for five days for less for more for body’s unholy action through no willed action, far from Book, Verses left untouched, God’s Pages unsullied with our fingers unstained—why assign this fluid with morality, no morality, bearer of DNA how does… More

Movement Ending with Arms

Nettles could replace the cabbage, the salt and saffron milk-caps halved and cut with stock, water, proportions intuited and spun wetly over flame. My infant grandmother satcheled to the left hip, warmed into consuming sleep while soup thickens kitchen air. Cities are fled: Moscow and Vyazma, my grandmother in the same satchel spirited to Bryansk,… More

A Style of Living

What about the dew- sodden morning, eyes open to the already turning earth? Or batter blinking in the pan? Because today we have nowhere to be. These movements are true. They’re made by hands toward a deer in the whistle grass. It is somewhere within arms reach and there’s no way to know in which… More