i get those messages all the time

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i get those messages all the time

 

i think high-rise i think windows i think here’s

an idea i’d play with in a box            for a while

then we’d let go real concrete

real chill.            i put on my hat & walking shoes.

i take me to the impolitic, the inalienable. do steps

do inventory do            car insurance? by Thursday

we’ll feel good about it have you

 

slapped me he says, cussed me out? no, sobbing

cascades over breakfast cereal

dinners            the Cardenas Market & Carnicería

Guadalajara the high points            The Price is Right

the low, sing it            why

 

is his telephone permanently off?            why

is he in the playground?            an Ambien coma

is looking for somebody

else’s Toyota & big deal to promise an Olive Garden

then renege.            search parking lots for closet

space & non-            alcoholic beers, a bouquet

is not a descriptive flight or a wild

 

analogy            we weren’t really in a car to have

a conversation, you weren’t            really looking

at the mirror instead of me & i didn’t forget

 

that this was my extra life.            i radiated

a destructive center            brimming to feel

(as though i mattered & that you would pull over

safely to shore). a view            of the strip mall

 

falling on me, it was just a way to construct a story

a tragedy a symphony a            personality

in the form of an anonymous

driveway, repeat after me            i’m worse it

 

 

 

“i get those messages all the time” was previously published in HVTN 4.2 2018 (UK)

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on Fremont

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on Fremont

                                    – In its most basic sense, skepticism is about radical doubt: do we                                         exist? Do others exist? Can we communicate at all?”

 

white trees with branches reaching to rest on barrel vault steel

Chantilly, spider web-like            fingers

 

like you do on the table (upside down) when making a point

we are: buttonholed by cutouts            Glitter Gulch Golden

Nugget Binions the Pioneer            Vegas Vic

 

(lives on!) the cowboy salute the red-tipped cigarette

the hand that once waved now thumb            pointing

an afterlife, over his pancake hat

a misting system, under his spurred boots           souvenirs

 

gifts T-shirtsdeep fried butter!            heart attack cafés

& how we portray            hunger (on purpose

or otherwise) its heat & trinket            emptiness

 

sunlit neon on dust-encrusted place settings still trying to impress

you, let’s love          this aviary topiary butterfly house crystal

palace Quonset hut nut loaf cake tin            canopy

 

& take pleasure in the sadness it brings

a curved space of strength            we can’t reach

 

the horizon          does not appear & perspective

is always about to arrive.            yes, i hear

you’d like to be a canvas too

someday           when everything is different, or the same

 

after we’ve exchanged the            when what where how

i turn you inside out. then you are deciduous            flowering

hardy            the first to appear on fire-ravaged land

 

* Epigraph from Aron Vinegar. I am a Monument: On Learning From Las Vegas.MIT Press, 2008. p. 4.

 

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water

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water

 

a dark cloud hangs but if rain falls it evaporates

before it hits while            millions

of toilets flush sinks drain            the shutter shake

release repeat of sprinklers in Summerlin

& Green Valley golf courses

suck it up.           our banter over the star-

burst where i bit my cheek, that ridgeline

i run my tongue over in this city named after

 

what is not here anymore.            the mesquite groves

willows cottonwoods & saltgrass that grew once

maybe even in our barren yard            the spinach

ricegrass chia broomrape screwbean devil’s

claw blazing star           (not so long ago); tales

 

of water grabs & reclamation acts            water buffalos

hairy-eared & glinting in the shadows

like the shrub ox did here once            what

 

will our descendants            (if any)

descend to?            at Lake Mead

 

cobalt blue rider & Klein Blue, to leap            i say

into the void (arms outstretched, back arched

the beginning of a doomed swan dive)            you

me            the lake keeps us all alive somehow.

i read about it but that doesn’t tell me

 

how.            my inability to comprehend scale, you

say; the solution to pollution is dilution, the water

people say & after all            people

fish swim waterski (DDT PCB heavy metals

ammonium perchlorate) (endocrine disruptors

scrambled instructions eunuch fish            frankenfish)

gaps           punctuations whats

 

you say desert i say dessert (switcheroo):            thinking

of you under the shower, shaking your head, your cheeks

train-like rumbling, full body            sighing snorting

delighting            for this i call you

true hedonist           (& some sort of note to self)

an oasis too is a convergence of opposites

 

like plankton & the whale. a drop

of sweat into Lake Mead            the subsidence

 

& rebound jet           the circular cymbaling waves

they say the ultimate water crisis is not here

& won’t get here            not ultimately

but it ultimately will happen, but it keeps getting

pushed back           ultimately, like a Teflon politician

 

but you know there must come a day.             but

how we loved to leap

 

splash somersault round & round scanning for

flashes of fool’s gold in the form of small

remedies           (ways you can help!)           & other clever

we thought            bargainings, into the dark turning

we never wanted to come back in

 

 

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turkey vulture quiz

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when turkey vultures are threatened, they

  1. vomit
  2. play dead
  3. razzle dazzle

 

turkey vultures locate carrion by

  1. leaving no trace in that way
  2. positive thinking
  3. smell

 

the turkey vulture uses ___ to stay soaring

  1. the hob-heeled fist of chance
  2. thermals and updrafts
  3. various bribes and official oversight

 

turkey vultures pee on themselves to

  1. hit the jackpot
  2. kill the bacteria on their feet from walking through carcasses
  3. stay cool man

 

on an extreme close-up, a turkey vulture’s little red head makes you want to

  1. stroke the soft stubbly hairs with your index finger, barely daring to breathe; fall into a swoon forever
  2. find another being to take care of if you don’t have one already, sing him/her a lullaby
  3. marry him anyway

 

the head is featherless because

  1. the bird is in many ways negligent
  2. it flew to the sun which it pushed back in order to cool the world, singeing occurred
  3. that way rotten flesh won’t stick to it

 

the turkey vulture sits with its wings spread out to

  1. dry its feathers
  2. increase its surface area so as to get warm quicker
  3. be spooky like playing ghosts with bedsheets

 

unlike other raptors, turkey vultures have

  1. nasal passages that are completely open at each end, like a train station
  2. feet made for walking
  3. the attitude of not taking what hasn’t been freely given

 

a turkey vulture walks like

  1. getting out of a bath
  2. a game of hopscotch
  3. saying one thing and meaning another

 

two meters is

  1. a happy bubble
  2. the distance the birds can projectile vomit
  3. the average area for turkey vulture hopscotch

 

if a turkey vulture gorges itself it can have trouble

  1. admitting it’s relapsed
  2. regaining inner peace
  3. getting off the ground again

 

the turkey vulture soars

  1. in a relationship of honesty with itself
  2. engaging interactively with every passing thought
  3. in wobbly circles

 

turkey vultures can survive anthrax and botulism bacteria because

  1. they do not have a well-developed sickness vocabulary or social script, do not use “should have” or “if only” statements, and always forgive
  2. they are hiding right outside your door and you can’t seem to shake them off your trail
  3. they have highly acidic stomachs

 

turkey vultures can’t kill because

  1. they are committed to doing no harm
  2. they are too lazy
  3. they can’t grab anything with their feet

 

turkey vultures can be killed by

  1. humans who wrongly believe they attack livestock
  2. vehicle collisions when eating on the road (humans)
  3. lead in shot animals, and pesticides in other carcasses (humans)

 

a turkey vulture perched on a branch in a strong wind looks like

  1. a collapsed umbrella
  2. a toaster oven
  3. an unpredictable future

* “they are hiding …” lyrics from John Mayer, “Vultures.”

“turkey vulture quiz” was previously published in Entropy, Dec 2017 (USA).

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a story

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or to go to the end of the line

where you talk about manuals

 

and present tense, say that

 

afterparties and quarterback mondays

the whole thing happens thrillingly

 

as required. tuesdays

(i don’t say there are never irrelevancies)

 

and when i say perfect of course

i mean flawed in the most perfect

 

you know, some kind of

progression was going to

 

fully-formed, someday, the story

that would make it all

 

the trace of a trace, something done

some time, or just a suggestion

 

to be bald-faced is to lie

 

in a landscape, with a small change in it

or a small change in attitude towards

 

it. take solace in the fact that i fall in

the second category (thunk but no

 

worries) rather than no

 

if you catch yourself doubled over

the ducks past a post

 

will lead to a miraculous set piece

crouching in a shopping trolley

 

look baby i’m double parked

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