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Stephen Danos

I’ve taken to squeezing leaves to feel / their lawlessness

Crowd Noise

White flag sticking out of my cheek
I present you to thee           fortunate youths
kissing in photo booths     four different ways

like the calamity    of broken strings
a little acoustic number     rocking gently
don't call it a sorry ditty or be dirty or

a verb clause    flossing the speckled teeth
of my father’s fake mouth    I envy him always
have being such a configuration of closet space

His sons brought torrential shrills
and tarantulas still scare you
Still terrify the victory you've rented

Still drain the battery you've earned
Still your knees when nervous
Stillborn is a something I refuse to experience

I read your poem about going    to the mall then
I lived in a mall    I read an acceptance speech then
you impeached me with an axe

A sad white-gloved hand affixed
to the balcony's lip    Half of a man's face minced
into puzzlement    means in the land

of microphones we all seek feedback
Means we live in the land    of commercials
where no one complains

Pretend You Have Seen The Gods Must Be Crazy

You wrote the guidebooks
as our holy trilogy. You cannot identify
with the inaccessibility of cactuses, modular
nature. I teach myself computer coding.

I’ve taken to squeezing leaves to feel
their lawlessness, flailing mighty. Trust issues
surfaced because of a twist ending. She spent lives

tying other people’s shoes. Everything has
a texture. Piles of used books in Canada:
the texture of hermit and scour. Brick painted
white: the texture of a poor framing device.

Lawnmowers and trimmers pollinate
the hill, the afternoon licks condensation
from my Coke bottle. How long does it take

the dead things to rise up, find fitting
careers? Ripe is another way of saying no.
Ripe is another way of saying today is the day.

Stephen Danos wrote a poetry chapbook, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 1913, American Letters & Commentary, Anti-, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Forklift Ohio, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, The Laurel Review, Transom, and elsewhere. He is Editor-in-Chief of the online journal Pinwheel, serves as Editor-at-Large for YesYes Books, and lives in Seattle.