Saint Paul Preview
by Jarrad Ackert
Desperation stands on the corner across the street
as I wait for the bus.
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
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
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
Snow lays everything to silence.
Cars fire back in the never-ending war to keep our necks warm.
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:
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,
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
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
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?
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?