Ideology, all of us inanimate in the face of the onslaught.
A rifle, empty shells, the remains of a man, a bullet through his chest.
I have heard stories of the river, how people were willing to die to cross it.
Some people are so beautiful they belong everywhere that they go.
Some people are so beautiful, they belong everywhere they go.
It is cruel, this business of exile and divorce. I will not deny it.
My parents had seven children; some of us have bank accounts.
There was nothing sadder than the look of defeat in a man’s eyes.
Instead, I touch: The powdered organ. The thief-shaped hole.
The woman who raised the woman who raised me was a mistress.
Lorna was like a sculpture carved by some Greek out of marble.
She did something few girls had ever done with him. She laughed.
He wrote and rewrote endlessly, and rose at night to reread pages.
He thought of the love that had filled the great central chamber of his life.
You could not look at Leila for long, and yet you longed to look at her.
You could not look at Leila for long, and yet you longed to look at her.
You could not look at Leila for long, and yet you longed to look at her.
She is complaisant with all her clothes off. She moves to his touch.
Later, in a sudden about-face, she gives herself to him entirely.
The wine was administered to Theo’s lips, and then the rest of us.
What counts in the long run is pleasure in conversation with each other.
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen has become the saddest.
Bone unspools its musculature to the crush of atmosphere.
Limbo: Latin, limbus, meaning a hem between sclera and cornea.
He resumed his nightly practice of writing without being able to see.
Grandma was forced to break her vow of silence only three times.
“Come here, my good child; sing me Pergolese’s Salve Regina.
I asked for water, and he shot me a look of henpecked resentment.
Sometimes one does wade into it or is ambushed as by a incensed fog.
They tried to kill us, my sisters, mother, and me; I still have the scars.
The boys searched for their father, lost somewhere in the Olympic Range.
“What would Toby do?” is a question that often appears in my mind.
There’s being young and growing old, being here and being gone.
He’d be buried in the town he so desperately wanted to leave.
Put yourself in bad positions, they’ll remind us. Address your weaknesses.
I grew accustomed to seeing the sun rise and set from the school.
The psychology in climbing is to look ahead, but that trick was little help.
Beyond the glib off-white palisades lies the answer to an urban dream.
I loved David, but I loved another character more: James Steerforth.
She offered her face up for what should be a brotherly kiss.
Together we invented intimacy, both its benefits and its horrors.
Of all she taught me I like best the lore of spray-on cologne.
Absence rarely makes the heart grow fonder, or so my mother said.
The store was one of his last-ditch efforts to make a pile of money.
With cane in hand I felt a twinge of superiority to the crutch people.
The angel lay in his body effervescent as a flake of alabaster.
Her skin was bruised under her eyes, purple like the swollen toe.
The tomatoes weren’t there. She looked again at the ground.
Goretti was a victim perfect for her time, an icon of Catholic sexual politics.
She only eats condiments, pickles, slices of sharp cheddar.
Rebecca beheld the sword which was suspended over her people.
Summer’s erosion has begun, all that taking the waves from shore.
Sneaking was one thing, entering a bar with a someone else’s ID another.
I want you, you captive, delivered into each other’s territories.
I’m afraid to say anything or nothing, I’m white & unalterably broken.
I taste on my tongue a gunshot of synapses warm and light like butter
A camper fighting off a grizzly until someone can shoot it dead.
You’ve seen her almost every day, going to and from the gardens.
“We’re not like other species,” you say, a novelist at night.
Zeus’s tongue thrusts straight and deep between my lips.
Appearance does not really appear, but it appears to appear.
It is only the failures of love that I regret, those times when I did not give myself so generously.
Oh love is stupid but it’s true, all day I feel as if I were a dog on a chain.
Let’s put a frog in his bed and have him feel it jump all over him.
What was happening? All she wants is for Teddy to fuck her silly.
A story about what resists change, and what’s eternal, in six words.
The tension between words and actions, in a six-word story.
No one’s alone. Men kill for this, or for as much. And what of the dead?
“Just sex,” I say, and the old feeling is back, the creeping nausea.
It’s all good,” Mila says, meaning, it’s so not, her voice glass-like.
Sometimes these fools shoot themselves, playing with their weapons.
our minds are not the same if they were the same you would be here
The boy in the woods was a secret. My secret. My first real secret.
We entertain them. We kiss and spit and strike. We’re always changing.
I know now not to measure my insides against others’ outsides.
The girl I was could not have imagined the woman I grew up to become.
Coil of metal, coin of wood, two-headed and soft in the middle.
I take what I want, and have ever since what I want disappeared.
My relationship with god resembled that of a prisoner and firing squad.
“Some men’re like that. They have to see what they’re missing.”
I did lose my dirty fingernails and ragged legs, my purpled forearms.
You can always tell the military folk by their even stance, their steady gaze.
I’m there inside La Fonda at the bar ordering another glass of red wine!
A field. No clouds. Tall grasses bend toward the foreground.
A boat-tailed grackle counts the passing cars from the traffic light.
Every morning I wipe the sweat from the hollow of my master’s throat.
When he died earlier this year an enormous hole was left in my life.
The materials were everyday and the possibilities were open-ended.
Since his mother’s fall, Ali had been stopping by every week to help out.
They went to pray for the dead. It was important to shed some tears.
I promised to return, but secretly I dreamed of staying in America.
Some people see the man but not the light, the field but not the varnish.
I’m not here to remember a friend, but to say good-bye to a part of myself.
Thank goodness Dad died—sounds awful but he left his condo paid for.
It is our first time, both of ours. This sentence ends with hate myself.
The thumbnail spoke directly to the most excitable parts of himself.
The guy from the funeral home can’t get the gurney into the house.
Cat food smells even unopened like vomit and I don’t trust cats.
How smooth their bones, like alabaster shaved from moonlight.
The Nazis are training some of their storm-troopers here in America.
When an old man marries a young piece of flesh, she is the ruler.
I uttered words I will regret to my last breath, which is already near.
I was all alone in a little room, nothing but that big gun in my face.
The prisoners were ten ragged scarecrows wearing prison suits.
I am drawn to these victims because I was there the night they were killed.
The neighbors were Ukrainians with bad tempers and owned guns.
Ambition and coincidence had led me to the Royal Theatre.
It was the truth of it all—hunger’s chill, the scream beneath the surface.
Vita brevis, source of all not enough. Light leaked from stopped time.
Kansas is a cold dessert, I say. No, Kansas is a tongue depressor, he says.
I’m the astronomer unable to lower his telescope, or look away.
It’s hard to save your own life, to take such extreme measures alone.
For the president’s arrival they shot two dogs making love on the tarmac.
Books are territory of the hands, hands that shook my spine.
It stood across a narrow side alley where light-green ivy grew.
The night shower is a personal pan-blizzard, a folklore-free zone.
Of course the despicable wretch would beg her to forgive him again.
There was a time when all I wanted was go back. Ask all the questions.
“We know what can happen,” Mike says. “We choose to do this.”
When we wake up, the five windows and the French door are full of light.
There’s something to stepping right out of your dreams and onto the page.
We’ve tried, but it seems it is in the stars for us to hate each other.
Before he started spraying he would hand her the mask to put on.
He says to his boots, “Well, suppose we went for fish.”
He tried to regain that moment of grace, but there was no conjuring it.
Hearing them coughing in the hall, you rose from your desk.
Mostly, though, you could turn them in your hand, hold them to your nose.
He was afraid he would be sucked into the world like this cousin had.
The damn dog has been brainwashed. He doesn’t know
Soon everything here will be sopped up by time. Only art will last.
He said, You have no brother. I didn’t know what he meant. I do now.
He studies their mannerisms, looking for clues to the psycho spirit.
Ghost still pace Georgia, hungry for babies, for husbands.
there was a boy made of bad teeth & a boy made of stale bread
I let him record me doing it all. I wanted to watch me be a monster.
Come winter, they go to the funeral early & count the living.
I shouldn’t have to say why the confederate flag is a symbol of hate.
You need to teach these cows to meditate. To lose their bodies.
The laughter rises like the roar of a train as the men leap to their feet.
The church was clearly the work of a madman driven crazy by the wind.
Louise Farmer Smith
You’re standing too close to a lit house which could be yours—is it yours?
He saw the car bearing down and gave it the finger, a snarl on his face.
Keaton didn’t control his emotions; he put them to use.
The day was beyond the reach of words like tragic and hilarious.
We drink to Nixon’s impeachment again, this time with the good stuff.
It whispered a promise of great wealth, and I was listening.
We skip across the surface like a stone slung by a giant travel agent.
“We’d be naive,” Crump went on, “not to assume that people are vile.”
Gresham’s law. Stupid talk chases smart talk out of circulation.
The house is full of houseguests and they’re giving Netflix a workout.
I wanted to be a citizen of the empire called American Express.
Early on, Castro learned and opposed the unfairness of things.
I’m in a fight for my career and the SOB won’t be there for me.
When one of the Baxters yelled, “Hey, Turd,” we all turned our heads.
Left Behind climbed the Octopus Tree to find the source of fire.
This is the woman who had shrunk so small, nobody could find her.
We press closer to look at a picture: a handcuffed boy leaning toward us.
It was a very strange dinner. I didn’t dare ask my parents questions.
Let’s span a time with each other. The mutual will give us pleasure.
I want to bring the duality of us together, not spar with language.
He sits hiked up, naked to the waist, like a stone in the bedclothes.
I’m happy in the unmapped landscape inside the bottle.
The power to alter one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark.
Everyone roared at her wit. Ravenous children prowled like tigers.
The chocolate was old, dusty white, the way chocolate gets after many years.
I don’t want fiction. What I want is truth. Or someone’s version of it.
Idzia is a little monster. For a monster, though, she’s awfully cute.
My sister says, vicious as possible, “Don’t you dare try to protect me.”
Michelle dances on his forehead like an imp, like an illness in motion.
The end of a relationship, through four six-word stories.
We were in a play about affection. We were in a play about sex.
Perhaps more than ever writers may have two kinds of fame.
Ahab went mad when he saw the sea is just the sea and nothing more.
Does he not see our likeness? Fursten seemed to see nothing.
I had the tongue of an adder and my heart was black with rage and hate.
Florence’s cobbled streets spoke like a broken wheel, a halfhearted
A summer without passion, our selves pulled together like the leaves.
Christ is not alive but the she-blood is. Slow down and swerve to miss her.
I give you a real blue song the mountains hold under their foot.
I’m going to cut me some ham and wait for death to lace his boots.
He bound me to blind obedience, for which I’d shown a propensity.
There is hardly a rich man in the world who has not such a friend.
I dream a sonnet made of buttons posed stiff against its milky plastic sky.
may your harvest fit in a sack may none of your apples be sweet
Pummel nests from limbs and drown the furred things in their dens.
The snow on the windshield a tunnel of wings my friend is driving through.
His body so close I hear the cicada hum of his cells, and he slips away.
In the thickening smoke the workers clawed and flailed at one another.
The proper qualities of each sex are eternally surprising to the other.
The future of the book began to appear among imaginary woods.
There lay before us a bag that gave forth, at a touch, the jingle of gold.
I wanted my love to be everywhere, then love began to bite through me.
I dug a hole in you; I jumped (here is the church, here is the steeple).
He drowned under a different name, a fake name chiseled in German.
The sounds of Africa exploded around the white men and women.
Hemorrhages, it was thought, do not appear for no reason.
I was writing copy for cheapo furniture for a crummy ad agency.
A world of adventure awaited, a world of beautiful, available women.
We would just roll down the old biology road like all the other suckers.
He could not stop marveling at the velvet quality of
Life is a dream, he thought. Something she knew and I didn’t.
“There’s life after birth! That’s what jails and lethal injections are for!”
The legendary author Robert Stone, in the words of his friends.
The palm’s outline shimmied in the sunlight against the aqua curtain.
The place your truest self inhabited was the place you could not bear.
Our camera pans along the porch, and we see each praying woman.
The notebooks reveal insertions, deletions, queries, and corrections.
We went in search of the vividly remembered missing pages.
“Why on earth are you taking luxury cruise passengers to Zamboanga?”
Poor boy, he only wanted to love some man—who knows who?
How can you love them and yet how could you live
All this while, I am eating the apple in this careless moment of life.
It was spring: the field, a botanist’s mirage of wild flowers.
The moment in your drunk when you become rich! A connoisseur.
From a pyre on the burning ghat a corpse slowly sits up in the flames.
…when you walk to the edge of the Mekong and make a wish…
Heat heat and the sky a flame of sapphire, even rocks blazing.
We spit out the black seeds, bits of night glistening on the grass.
Every day I was forced to return to the one place I did not want to be.
Interviewer said he had no intention of stealing anything from Subject.
Turned out Bauer was one of the ones brought alive by misery.
I sometimes forget I’m a horse. I’m also a man dressed as a horse.
You never see Westerners, so you don’t think of them as human beings.
My brother could Wichita wheelbarrow like I never could.
He is too young even to be drinking let alone educating us.
If he’d had that seat belt on, he would have been pinned inside.
Make It Big, all return and rhythm, a groove that plays to the center.
It’s a girls’ college we’re going to, but all the guys know Polly’s name.
It commands your presence, mocking your impatience with its steam.
If party isn’t what we set out to do then you should go home.
Someone was saying his name, and that’s how he knew he was dead.
When I come to be old, I resolve not to tell the same story over and over.
We talked. She was the same inside as I am, from the same kind.
An empty day without events. And that is why it grew immense as space.
It’s other things than the like of you would make a person afeard.
She does not know within a decade she will unload a slug into her mouth.
They rise in waves, while a lone hawk remains unperturbed.
Before we too vanish, we hike to where three trails converge.
Mistaking water hemlock for parsley, I die hours later in the hospital.
I do not expunge the past but ignite the fuse to a whistling pinwheel.
Of what use, other than to the butterfly, are a butterfly’s wings?
I stay gripped to pine and the sugar of existence runs through you.
Lying in wait, set to pounce on the page, are letters up to no good.