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August 17, 2023 Poetry

4 Poems

Cash Compson

4 Poems photo

Drove For 2 Days and Died Over and Over

The drive wasn’t sexy at all.
I fluttered the full time, sleep 1000 miles from me.

Erie, PA. Looking at the sky
for my old self.

Cleveland full white-out,
war-like smoke spilling down into it, come finally to American soil in my life.

O, Canada. Gift cloak keeps coming, hot plastics link neighbor to neighbor. Hands across America. Beds full of breathless.

The air is nothing, then a city is there.
Rigid ghost-men playing soupy baseball, cinema high moonshots
up out from Progressive Field.

I catch it, I promise. Still noon and wide-open
batting stances. They call their shots and send it out to I-90.

History is here all at once and I’m
having a fucking panic attack. I’m westward.

I manifest nothing. I have no destiny.

I stare out ahead out through the windshield searching
for Death as I chase myself
ragged with anything
I’ve ever done or been.

Everybody at the rest stop wants to confine me.
I’m jealous of every child holding hands with their father.

I get cancer in Tupelo.
MS comes on—pins, needles, subtraction—as I tiptoe along behind Michigan while it sleeps in its great heavy waters.

The heart attack comes on one side of Gary, IN.
Bedbugs, lice, stroke on the other.

The inevitable march of something.
That feeling that something is about to happen.

Skyway to Chicago ages me.
I’m steady straight shooting to the last
month, night I have.

I spent it all on tragedy. I’m sorry.
I want to get out and love the rain when it starts. But never, no.

I really wish you were here.


summer 2009

milky eyes
and the burnt-out grass and the pill-sleep,
the ovular groups, ovular friends, the idea
of healing when I wasn’t finished suffering, me,
unhealed. james and his
cigarettes. remembering things
that happened to someone else. purplish night
with bottles under seats.

fled the hospital like
how devilish whispers slip from
the church we’d smoke behind. i’d come
back and cry in it, just to see if i could. What
is love.

a kiss in the woods.
cross-referencing trash lit and
trash anthems with morals, alongside all that.
withering on the old vine. your oldest collages, landlocked.

mom calling. a cell phone left
in the sand while our bodies
floated on the water.

the only other hands to touch
the wheel. ashen love under
eyes, september racing at us through
her. your legs chilled from the AC.
words about someone else in my pocket.

now when I come back,
drive the same path, all up in the hills
and pastures dark with sleep and decades,
those poems are long dead, eaten in
mania bonfires of birthdays, but her
eyes, crystal, held, wordless,

still like lake water, tongue like morning,
like rising wake on the crispness of
new. after. 2008, 2010. beyond,
before. everything but.


Watching a Video on Reddit of a Couple Fighting in the Everglades

moss like seaweed
reaching down from
Trident oak trees, swim
like jellyfish
over the miracle
of four pink shoulders

he is the
alligator man i fight
nightly in my
stench liquor dreams

girl like golden
music, humming in
wet purple
god nectar

cloudless, sleepless

shadows cast like heaven’s
hands down over her eyes. azure
in the mind

 i can smell
their love story

something happened
but it wasn’t captured
so it was never

earthquake in my
hands and i’m
god watching my
own old dreams

run it back
run it back

rinse, reset, relinquish
run it again



so many pills.
pills to strengthen,
pills to unwind:

the Pharmacy is God.

the Pharmacy owns what
i can not supply.

i am always gleeful here.
eager to shred my collar & crown.

i am so America right now.
micro-dosing blue, white, red

pills from the stained glass bottles,
the windows & prisms of church.

the pharmacy owns
the thick spit in my
mouth and the shit

on my knees.

Modern Rodent Creation:

I am pod.
I am plugged in.
I am contagion.
I have no conscience.

there are no words.