Saint Paul Preview


by Jarrad Ackert





Desperation stands on the corner across the street

as I wait for the bus.

6:43 am.

She holds up a bag gesturing towards the cars waiting

for the green light.

I finish a cigarette and drag at black coffee.

Two birds hop around the trash, searching for food.

They’ve had their fair share of cigarettes too.

Eventually, Desperation walks over to the bus shelter

sits on the opposite end of the bench.

What time is it? she asks,

white hair and accordion-faced, shaking

back and forth.

6:50 I say

and turn the other way, looking for the bus.

She begins talking to herself.

I hear her digging around that bag.

What day is it?  Tuesday?  Wednesday?

I turn back to face

Desperation, saddened.

It’s Thursday.



The look of disbelief on that beaten

face of beaten life.

I see the bus’s light in the distance.

Slow to stand up, it almost rumbles by.

I make it on and the driver apologizes; I sit.

The contraption begins to gun down the street, as if on

the run.

A janitor on his way to the job is no better off

than the rest of the animals.






The barbers weep over fallen hair.

Children laugh as they poke at the ribs of poverty.

Armies are recruiting those who “want to see the world.”

My cat has hidden my socks on me

and I’m really in a loop this time.

Men and women don’t care for men and women

living here, working this job, living that way.

Some are too busy gloating over numbers of any small variety

to look into eyes

or nothing.

Snow lays everything to silence.

Cars fire back in the never-ending war to keep our necks warm.

Cigarettes kill.

Music, for the idlers.

Sleep is death groping at the ends of your hair.

I am 24 at the time of writing this and

once I find my socks

I too will amend

the history books.








I set fire to a cigarette and watch it


Sketches of Spain plays

as I dream of

the color orange, flowers, brown


This is my finest moment;

this is all I have to offer.

If you wanted a good word,

if you wanted a cure,

if you wanted culture,

if you wanted righteousness, redemption:

well I’m

sorry, try the next room over.






No tongue; slate.

No nostrils; cork.

No stomach; marbles.

No head; spasm.


The body vanishes upon delirium:

flashes of electric surge

a train going straight on a curve


I have seen I have tasted I have heard

but the diary entries are missing.


Atlases evaporate in the sun

Desert sans horizon,

where the thirsty laugh like fools.






Walking the quiet streets,

Sunday’s gift,

an orange morning sun

striking an ocean of windowless tan buildings,

buildings wherein men with windowless minds

will shuffle their feet and stir their throats



Seagulls pass through the above, intoxicated

with a hunger that our scraps will satisfy.


I too, dig through our scraps.

Nothing quite fills me.









The wires are heavy

with unmovable excess.

Boxes pile up in unreachable closets, excreting threads of dreams

curled yellow and smelling hot.

Pairs of gloves, pairs of gloves

on every mass leaking electricity

labeled hazardous.

I can’t see your hands.  I bet they shatter.

And so, I need the sun: where is it?

Hook a microphone to my brain:

the noise is Red Giant

burning knowingly sick.








The blade cuts – loosening winds

that shake pink melody from the chimes

of trees.

Listen to this white wall of heady storm


the fabric between lands and seas.


As you watch the undoing of our transient threads

will you dare stand on the edge of Horizon’s beach?

Will you answer the chant of sun priest?

the hymn

of sirens who wash the linen moon?


Unscrew the lid of your skull

– brain spins web ‘round this cosmic womb.


Strip bare your body

– flesh recalls starry chill, the nude.


Dip your dusty feet into the ocean

– aimless infinity swallows crude.


Tell, towards where is your swimming bound?

Tell, if there wasn’t a place for you,

would you smile as you drowned?