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Marc Paltrineri

You are almost dead now, and this is serious business


A Quiet Life

First you are born, then you walk to the convenience store. It is true, there are more energy drinks now than ever before. So radio bright, they see right through you, the clerks and stoners, they trace your thought-beams, which are threadbare but most definitely yours. Being American, some laugh and others can beets. You are almost dead now, and this is serious business — the single, shade-grown origin of your coffee, vertiginous — you haven't even finished The Castle. The list goes on. Monday's crossword bites you on your critical thumb and you get tangled between a three-lettered city and Popeye's only son. So, you tie your loose shoe. You tie your other shoe. You have two shoes and for this you're eternally grateful. Your mind has become the morning dust of an animated waterfall, hanging peacefully in a local Chinese restaurant. Life trickles on. One moment, the maglight's lifted, it's always summer, and this means take off your clothes. The next, you are remembering someone's birthday, a friend of a friend's birthday, and, of course, this is common knowledge: somewhere warmer, it's just beginning to snow.


Steven Karl is the author of State(s) of Flux (Peptic Robot Press, 2009) a collaboration with Joseph Lappie and the chapbook, (Ir)Rational Animals (Flying Guillotine Press, 2010). He has an e-chap forthcoming from H_NGM_N. In one way or another he is involved with Coldfront magazine, Sink Review, Stain of Poetry, and Borough Writing Workshops. He sometimes blogs at stevenkarl.blogspot.com.