Before and After Everything

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“You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn’s not expanding!”
“It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy,
and we’ve got to try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!”

Everything is what you strain to see from the car window as you’re weighed down by a bulky seat,
and the handle won’t stop taunting because you’re alone and curious and don’t know what will happen if you pull it. Continue reading Before and After Everything


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Poppy after orange poppy after poppy the earth laces its lack of ambition into the air as if to blind it. Do spores smell like death? No. Death doesn’t smell like anything. The smell clinging to the humidity in the air is a body decaying. Three billion years ago, maybe more, just a single bacterial spore is frozen in an ambitious comet, the remnant of a collapsed cloud of gases and dust cloaked with a thick over coat, vintage permafrost. After scheming for two hundred fifty-million years of lonely adventures, the warmth of a yellow star and a chance collision plant the seed. It is a devious sort of life that thrives on death, like a crow without a beak made for tearing into flesh that circles a bloated carcass, waiting for a tire to break the skin and continue the tradition of life after decay, after death, after sloth, after solitude, after passion, after purpose after life.


Poem inspired by and first line quoted from Dawn Lonsinger’s “The Lawn Aglow,” p. 66 in The Pinch’s Fall 2009 issue.

Time Takes Care of Us

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Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.
When flurries of amber depress into a damp carpet unpleasant under your feet.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

His hollow bounty overflows most of all:
Limbs, dirty shades of gold and small crawlies from beneath.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.

The forest, now naked and bare, reveals him frail
and surrounded by weeds, crabgrass and trash left by teens being indiscreet.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

He wasn’t young, but he coulda been so tall.
A long way from the friendly, fertile forest he resides: incomplete.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.

He sags solemnly in silence as the seasons forestall.
Winter waits patiently to pity the deserted with defeat.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

He wasn’t even visible, after all.
No one was around to hear a fallin’ tree’s warning call.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall;
Nature simply lets us stall.

Note: This poem is a villanelle, a form characterized by repetition and circuity. Lines and rhymes from the first stanza are repeated throughout, very specifically, in this 19-line poem.

When viewed from space…

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it is an irregularity
that attempts to exceed its bounds.
An organic poison
disrupting the natural health of its host.
It can be easily identified
(from a distance)
as an aberration in
natural order.
Two applications of radiation have proven effective,
at stymieing aggressive growth. Sometimes
it has shoes.


This poem inspired by Bill Hicks.

The Trail of Feathers

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America can take a billion and really cut it down to size.
The British billion was a million million—
a one followed by twelve noughts.
What’s the difference?
Three nines followed by nine noughts.

a billion is big.
A billion is every cheesy wotsit filling up the back of 772 windowless white vans.
A billion is a stack of pennies reaching 963.12 miles into the sky.
A billion is two to the power of thirty, or two doubled thirty times, give or take about 74 million.
A billion is just one flock of passenger pigeons blocking out the sun as they fly over Louisville,
undiminished for three straight days.
America can take a billion and really cut it down to size.

There was a time when the air was literally filled with pigeons and onlookers suffocated
on feathers while fathers and sons stood on the river bank
and pointed their shotguns towards a feast.

On September 1, 1914, Martha, named after our first first lady, fell off her perch in Cincinnati.