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Gary Sloboda


She often appeared in sweaters. The falling darkness bleached on the horizon where the sun fell off. Minds accustomed to revel in the been-there, but there's urgency to the atmosphere of chatter. An insistence. That the night will peel back its lids to look into us. And we feel sad because the mind is not in its lushness, the perception of beauty like a possession, a paper wing turned in on itself so the body soars for the ground. Before it can burn. The dreams seared just before wakefulness as the oriole faces casual murder beneath the wheel of a bus. On a quaking branch of a golden birch, on the near horizon, the almond eyes of the forgotten slowly open. And blood spots un-fade on the sidewalks. So ignored, the teenager in embroidered hosiery crashes the cabriolet into silence and streetlight spill. The ventriloquist wind speaks through the asthma of birds.


I am not weak. An involuntary victim of knee debridement, my pink slip kissed the garbage pail rim and tracked across the cutaneous carpeting. And upon the next sunrise, a girl sang in my ear with a nasal inflection. A catechism of fluff. My hand on her back, I pictured in the dark an ontology of clouds projected as a form of righteousness or nostalgia. In this moment, intentions are freezer burned. The denuded landscape below the tinted skylight windows endures the architecture of minimal variations on stucco. It receives our muddy gaze: puppets of markets and whim. Recollecting how a psychic chorus once swelled over the boulevards, the pause of recognition magnifies antagonistic feelings. As spotlights slander the peace of night in pursuit of young men.

Conductor Muscle, After Will Alexander

Gel spots elucidate the bathroom mirror's diorama of a shell based design scheme. Not far from that, arsenic tide pools loom beneath x-rays of sparse willows and the aural effluent of migratory birds that winter in Oaxaca. Impoverished young women clench deer knives in the folds of Maoist tunics and walk alone through the architectural heuristic of dissolving empires. Pledging allegiance. Beholding the anthracite choirs drifting down from the cloud cover to accompany the sonic drift of the greater metropolitan area. While in the plexiglass of abandoned bus shelters blurred expressions embed upon hieroglyphics of rhetorical doom. Such that reversible sunlight repostulates the sky as lugubrious canyon and the lights from the windows of the populace as rising in telepathic seas of acidic encephalapods. And the infants are born with informational diacritics like black sails in their formative brains.

So. Cal. Meditation #3

Slipping into the corridor through clouds of incense, the croupier smiles: an example of ghosts who follow me onto buses and into graffitied bathroom stalls. For memory is also the grainy footage of security cams, as if I were you lost in a fog. Like the weight that disappears when you're dead no one misses. A series of vowel clusters. A rectilinear chamber of echoes. Behind the window smeared with the nose blood of a pimp, the debutante sheds her blouse and the plantation blinds lever down. A breath like a layer of silt runs through us. May this tongue of defilement follow the sick barking of dogs into the rouge of afternoon, into the sanctum of creeps, where the depth of our likeness ascends.

Monte Rio

Monte Rio awaits my return

where the shotgun opened the wound
we were forced to learn

under the luminescent oaks
condemned by fungal disease

consciousness was discarded
in the honey light of bourbon

through which we sailed
our bodies into nothing

it took years
I backtracked

into hoof-prints in the snow

I lit a fire
so to speak
a 6¼% loan
the castles of night
deep into these bones

she whispered all her babies
had tetralogy of fallot

I am just a visitor
Monte Rio is her home.


My feet are not on the ground
(maybe I'm skating)
thru an architecture
of erotic stone arches
receded by years
of blunt traumas from above —
pitted ruin
laced with complex shade
and not enough snow
to make it soft
a dragonfly fossil
at the base of the perimeter wall
signals my eye
I drown in
its lineage
of murdered wings
of patience,
an appetite
my beautiful companion
not to blink.

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