Apocalyptic poems, posted every m-f.

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fascinating creatures

and for a moment: panic
that lump in your throat that preempts screaming,
you don’t know where he is

rustle in the bush, a predator
rustle up above, a predator – no,
that’s him
several stories too high up a deadrot oak
“come down,”
you plead, failing to conceal
your anxious fury

“ask me how i got up here,”
he insists, pleased with himself.
“ask.”
you ask, and he tells you that he’s a
flying fish, and that you’re just a regular fish
and that the ground is water;
or, he posits,
he’s a chicken
and they can actually fly in short bursts
when provoked by predators;
no, better yet,
he’s a flying spotted dragon –
“draco maculatus”

frantic,
you beg he descend, slowly
but immediately,
wonder at your own stupidity:

last week
out scavenging, you came across the remains
of a library,
and of all the gifts,
of all the possibilities, you brought him back this
“fascinating creatures”

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regards

i shot him
because i could think of nothing better to do
with the situation

cold and beautiful julie –
you aren’t mine, i don’t own you
but that’s not what it’s about:
it wasn’t jealousy that spurred me

it’s just that
you don’t let a jackal into the wolf pack –
he doesn’t belong there
he will fuck up your hunts and betray you,
his teeth are different
his ears are different
it isn’t good

and if he slinks his way into your pack
through clever manipulation, perhaps
or disguise

then you do what you must
you act the wolf.

carly

in the future
you will be a motorcycle rider,
you will have seven notches carved
into your belt
three into your left handlebar
and a scar across your face –

you will have a flurry of ghosts,
they will follow you around
suckling at you like leeches,
you will have a tumor
in your brain

sad and singular carly,
you will be an abacus,
keeping track of everything
but the days

tinder

a man cannot build a fire
without becoming intimate with it

tender arrangement of his most delicate splinters
he will court you –
set fire to the annals of history, the dead stoics
in an attempt to tease you from the woodwork,
gets cocky
tries to feed you the forest all at once
feels more shame than sympathy when he smolders you,
but is more careful with his next attempt
regardless

successful,
he will feel like a hunter
who is the opposite of a hunter – having
tracked you down and then brought you to life,
he will not help but be a father
even as he is your lover,
as he kindles your sex
stokes what comes of it
as he protects you
assures you that, rage as you might,
you can’t burn him down
he relishes your efforts, though
they are mighty
he made them

it will come as no surprise, i am sure,
that in the future, once the power lines have fallen
and the cities have crumbled,
that men will be better lovers

they will understand the process
by which one hunts: it is the opposite of hunting

watching crows

some days we declared
it to be a crow day,
and we’d trundle along
however many of us,
to that spot where the creek widens and gets quiet

we’d sit there, stone
watching the crows, listening
to their peculiar banter

they had a leader – not always the same bird,
but always some bird
it would crane its sorry neck and caw
“once around the block, boys,”
and the murder would jump into flight
a tight circle, looping ten trees at most
before coming back to perch;
“a mile toward the sun, now,”
and they would.

they weren’t playing
or working, or hunting,
no.

they were training.

one day percy turned to me and he said,
“maybe we could stand to learn a thing or two from these birds,”
and it was that sentiment
that moment
which would eventually destroy us.

darling

we name her darling because,
at the time,
it seems appropriate

you will have just spent a handful of hours
gasping in the back seat of a broken volkswagon,
fingers clutched to the driver seat
to the door handle above your head
to anything

my hands will be covered in blood,
she will be covered in blood –
yours
we’ll be delirious
won’t have eaten in three days
maybe four

five days prior to her birth,
you see,
the car won’t start
and we won’t be able to get over to sammy’s
to see if he’s got any spare beets
or something

i will refuse to leave your side,
at that point
foolishly
i will say heroic things and be
too afraid to leave you.

when you go into labour
the car still won’t start,
when she’s born
the car still won’t start,
we name her darling
and I realize I’ll have to make the trip
by foot

it takes me days,
my heart is like a lizard in the winter
my feet go dead numb
sammy can’t spare much

by the time i get back to you,
she’s gone
i can think of nothing else to do
and so i light a fire
and cook the beets

we can’t taste a thing
but still eat like jackals
because we are dying of hunger.

i am telling you this not to be hurtful
or alarm you,
but because i don’t know how these visions work,
whether or not i can avert them –

if i can’t,
if darling’s fate already hangs over our heads,
well i’ve been there
i’ve felt that weight,
and i will do anything i can to parcel out the blame.

pectin

this is how human civilization rebuilds itself

first the tin foods all run out:
the black beans, the fancy feasts
the alphagettis that come shaped like
long-forgotten super heroes,
all of it runs out.

in the north, they have their beets
and in the south, their lemon peels

and it is only with both
in symbiosis
that we find ourselves preserved