will take place (and time) this Saturday, February 18th, 7 p.m., at Avol’s Bookstore, 315 West Gorham

and will be enacted by Chicago’s LUKE DALY and MICHAEL SLOSEK, and by Madison’s ANNA VITALE.

They are all amazing writers.

(Incidentally, Luke and Michael also publish ARROW AS AAROW, a series of some of the most gorgeous (as objects and as words) chapbooks around. There may be some there…)

Sample poems coming soon!

See you on the weekend!

Andy and Lewis


Luke Daly co-edits the arrow as aarow chapbook series with Michael, and co-curates a monthly series for noise and experimental music in Chicago called Kaleid Series. He is the author, most recently, of VATS and AV/AV.

Michael Slosek co-edits the arrow as aarow chapbook series with Luke Daly.  He is the author of The Sequel and Holding Place, and the forthcoming The Blond Notebook.  With Eric Unger, he makes up the other half of the drone duo KLØP.

Anna Vitale‘s recent writing can be found in P-Queue, Abraham Lincoln, The Brooklyn Rail, and Vanitas 5: Film. Her first two books, Breaststa and Anna Vitale’s Pop Poems, were published in 2010. A few poems based on Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” are forthcoming in Compost. And an autobiographical project about growing up in Detroit and its suburbs is in the works. It’s currently called Anna Vitale’s Autobiography.

Anna Vitale’s Autobiography

. . . Dave was so angry, he hurt his hand throwing a television. I wrote a poem about him in college inspired by staring at this cute boy’s crotch in Spanish class. The boy was from Minneapolis and that was where Dave had moved sometime while were both still in high school. I’d imagined truckloads of long beautiful mothers arriving at 5715 Zenith with red arms, red faces, and red wrists. I’d imagined Dave or myself putting our fingers into his bedroom wall and the wall being on fire and the paint bubbling across our chest. He was, for a time, the mother that I never had, and I was certainly something equally important to him. He ran away and came to the place in Berkley (MI) by bus in the middle of the night, all the way from Minneapolis. He was in a school there for druggies. But he, like many others, myself included, was smart, interested in culture, wanting to make sense of what was around him, and music and books and writing and art helped, sort of. I’ve written Dave many times (I called him a lot in college, unwelcome calls filled with crying. I’m sure he had no idea what to do). It’s hard not to want to go back all the time, but the pureness of that love (and it was pure, or at least the memory feels untouchable) had so much to do with what I’d never had. It’s also clear to me that that kind of love was unsustainable because it was embedded in the remarkable and beautiful fantasy of the total and of infinity. It seems like it’s difficult for people (who? in grad school? in academia? I’m not sure, precisely) to appreciate fantasies of totality, but it’s not difficult for me. I want to be absorbed. Charles Bernstein says something in the Artifice of Absorption about thinking it’d be really nice if people wanted to read things that they didn’t understand; oh, I’m so happy I don’t understand this; it’s different from me, etc, etc. I totally appreciate this pedagogically and ethically, but at many moments, in my heart of hearts, I think, oh my god, I know we’re related and I’m so excited. Charles Bukowski has a book that Dave gave me (which I got rid of a long time ago) called You’re So Alone Sometimes It Just Makes Sense. I can imagine a lot of positions against this kind of . . .

from Luke Daly

Like the studied and insincere multiplying of the piles of perfect shirts, eliminating space between the next one „till the pulsations of the air are also square somehow to register the everywhereness of the message. I wondered why, when it was written down rather than commissioned, filmed from above like some frothing, forceful God. Did the story being told seem more attractive. One interfered with their biology when they commissioned trucks and cranes to fly the wildlife in that would replace the human form. That would appear eternal from inside its stillness even after the trucks called off and everybody had gone home. Down there, amongst the growing, stated structures and the moisture, the permanence of brushing up against another sort of permanence—the shouldered as the geographical in body. And always from above you tipped your hand and registered the non-plastic flash of ego in the grain of what was being listed as eternal. Nevertheless it made me question my own motives. If the height of the various structures made one value one‟s impermanence or remind one that at the base of one was rock. I‟ve started crossing over, crossing off the memoratic, seasoned parts of calling town. And when the weather coincides (as with the water, as with the buildings) it is stifling, as if coming in from far off. Entering left frame and the film consisting of the reels and reels it takes to cross to the center and enter the scope. By this time the landscape has been memorized, recited and recompressed uncountable times, bounced backwards and bounced forwards in decadic rhythm. “It‟s not for people, but there are people there.” Until the unique sense was memorized and held above the head of the limiting language. As if what was beneath was just a stream, or was nothing rather than the bed of rock that all of the stitching of Floridian animals has created us to come to believe.

from Michael Slosek


This will be my self-exception; suppressing the tin-bath
That I detect through the smell of combustion chambers.
A pantograph of lazy tongs martials at my legs,
Light jumping and rouge.

The rabbet invasive for which I have lain in wait
With spotless exposures, enrouted through mail systems in anger.
The breadth of equity sharpens in exact scarcity. Black border
Of white gloves with tourlourous keys.

Swarm clouds where another stiff adhesive should be
Without minting orders of auto-poles
But it comes to similar visions, further differing of heighten dangers
To certain analyzed samples that reclaimants have pressed upon me.

Slicing through the flooding earth, contrasts quivering in a nettled book,
Unfastened from control, relying on sympathetic feats.


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Opening the new season of _________-Shaped Readings, Milwaukee’s BRENDA CARDENAS and ROBERTO HARRISON are joined by Madison’s TIM YU.

This mouthfill of a reading will take place Friday, January 27th, 7pm at Avol’s Books (315 W. Gorham).

Only the conjunctions of their three very distinct poetries can adequately show the overlaps and resonances between them, but we expect language of contemplation, declamation and humor that bridges continents and sings to possibilities for new politics of human community.

Biographical Notes:

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of two collections of poetry Boomerang (Bilingual Press, 2009) and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone (Momotombo Press, Institute for Latino/a Studies, 2005). She also co-edited Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo Press, 2001). Cárdenas’ work has appeared in a range of publications, including The Wind Shifts: The New Latino Poetry, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century, Achiote Seeds, RATTLE, and most recently in the literary journals Cream City Review and Pilgrimage, as well as the anthology Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose and Photography. She is currently serving as Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate and is an Associate Professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee.

Timothy Yu is the author of two chapbooks: Journey to the West, winner of the Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize from Kundiman, and 15 Chinese Silences, forthcoming from Tinfish.  He is also the author of a scholarly book, Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965.  His work has appeared in Kartika Review, SHAMPOO, and The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century.  He teaches at UW-Madison.

Roberto Harrison‘s books include Os (subpress, 2006), Counter Daemons (Litmus, 2006), and a half dozen or so chapbooks. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Poems by the readers

Brenda Cardenas:

Why I’m Fighting in Wisconsin:
Erasure of an Op-Ed by Our Imperial Scooter, March 10, 2011

Outstanding first year in Wisconsin—
one of the best!
Reasonable changes force
schools to fire based on
my budget-repair bill,
which passed and awaits
cutting billions of dollars!
In Wisconsin, we are reforming
the way government works.
Our plan gives tools to total reduction.
Bold changes are modest:
State workers contribute
half of their health,
wages and benefits,
a sister-in-law, two beautiful kids.
A typical middle-class Wisconsin family
would love a deal like the one we’re proposing.
Concessions speak louder than words:
Local governments can pass
a hope and a prayer,
reward barriers that block innovation.
When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed
collective bargaining in Indiana,
the average pay for Indiana state employees
actually ceased; employees’ pay ceases
when they do something exceptional.
Pass our budget-repair bill!
Good for the Badger State,
good for government employees
who overwhelmingly want their jobs.
In Wisconsin, we can avoid the teacher,
schools, America, the future, our children!
Dire consequences we face.
Taking the easy task each day,
there are protesters in and around
our state. They be hard.
But their voices cannot drown out
the voices of the countless payers
who want us, our budgets,
and, more importantly,
to make government work for them.

Published in Cream City Review, 35.1. Spring/Summer, 2011

Roberto Harrison:

A diversity in oneness


Tim Yu:

Chinese Silence No. 4

after Billy Collins, “China” 

I am a cicada floating in a coffee cup
on the desk of the Poet Laureate.

Grant proposals are being written.
Many bottles of Napa wine are emptied.

But even when his nodding head
strikes the desk like a bobbing Buddha’s,

I lurk silently inside
my mug, chipped by the teeth of Ezra Pound.

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At Saturday, November 19th in Avol’s Books on 6pm – Mary Austin Speaker, Chris Martin, and Sarah Fox will be reading their poems.  This reading is guaranteed to be wonderful or somebody gets their clear something-shape back. Or quashad. Some bios and poems to follow and give you a sense (after this photograph):

Chris Martin is the author of Becoming Weather (Coffee House 2011) and American Music (Copper Canyon 2007).  He is also the author of several chapbooks, including How to Write a Mistake-ist Poem (Brave Men 2011) and the forthcoming Hymn that Is the Air (Ugly Duckling 2012).  He is an editor at Futurepoem books and curates the response blog Futurepost from the oldest house in Iowa City.

The Bat

for Sarah Fox

Self and
self’s subset
like a bell’s
tongue is part
of its sounding mechanism
also called a clapper
and will only travel out
in waves of beaten sonority
like how seeing strikes the seen
and the seen returns its blow
a limp fisticuff of color
that uncoils in animal brogue
a mouth of planes
that beat the eye
black with language
I travelled light
I literally
rode pulse
like a bat
like my mouth’s
wet flapping was tied
to maps of proximity
I consumed the room’s waste
to find a little place
inside the stanza for raising mammals
whose hands are also our cape
who love nothing above song
and make a map wherever
we bell into light
our crunched noses flush
against sun’s dénouement
a golden crown
devouring fruit
devouring whatever
echo suits us
there is never
enough to let go
we left coterie life
to map the night’s growth

Sarah Fox was born in the year, month, and hour of the Horse. She lives in NE Minneapolis where, with John Colburn, she co-imagines the Center for Visionary Poetics, and seeks to engage in any and all collaborative occupations that increase love, liberation, transparency, solidarity, and imaginative acreage in the collective psyche. Her book Because Why was published by Coffee House Press, and recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spout, Conduit, Tammy, humdrum, ElevenEleven, Action Yes, Boo: A Journal of Terrific Things, and Rain Taxi. She writes about occult motherhood, astropoetics, entheogenic plant medicines, and more on the multi-author blog, teaches English, Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota, and serves as a doula. Two new books are forthcoming from Coffee House, including Doctrine of Signatures—a collection of poems the Milwaukee poet Antler has deemed “a Paleolithic hallucinogenic dreamstate phantasmagoric shaman voyage”—and Mother Substance—a book-length assemblage documenting the psychic and somatic catastrophes faced by women exposed in utero to the synthetic estrogen Diethylstilbestrol (DES) (“the worst drug disaster in American history”). She performs “poetry rituals” and other acts of intersubjective communion in public and private spaces whenever she can.

(from COM[M]A)


I drownproofed myself and the dead
babies with shriek vests and we set
off across the lake on our raft towards
another shore whose inhabitants might
welcome us. We were transpersonal
pilgrims, the water revised us and we
knew that the lake was merely
the surface of our dream, like the raft
was just a borrowed womb the babies
couldn’t leak through. A clergy of crows
cropped up as magnetic chorus on
the horizon. I grew fins and amped up
our destiny. I was prepared to submit
to the crows’ reconfigurement, become
beak-scratched and claw-scrawled,
seam-spilling. Black caws feathering
my veins. I cradle the blood in my
hands, press prints onto the walls
of the chamber where I hoard all my skulls.

Mary Austin Speaker is the author of four chapbooks: In the End There Were Thousands of Cowboys, Abandoning the Firmament (Menagerie Editions 2009 and 2010), The Bridge (Push Press 2011) and 20 Love Poems for 10 Months (forthcoming in 2012 from Ugly Duckling Presse). New work  has recently appeared in Pleiades, Big Bell, Boston Review, Boog City Reader, 20012, Iowa Review, la fovea, Bright Pink Mosquito, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. She teaches writing and works as a freelance book designer in Iowa City, IA.

from 20 Love Poems for 10 Months


perched like
crows in the
sky’s highest
limbs so land
rolls its white
woolen rug
of winter
a flood
of yes

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That’s right!

Jeff Alessandrelli
Trey Moody and
Joshua Ware

will visit us from Lincoln, Nebraska, to pelt us with amazing poems
this Friday, November 4th, at 7 p.m.
Avol’s Bookstore, 315 West Gorham

it will provide your life with a coherent structure of meaning, or will do something else that’s even more exciting.

We, your hosts, got to read with Messrs. Moody and Ware back in the spring, and are very happy that they and Jeff are coming to our neck of the prairie.

Here are some bios and poems, the formatting of which has been butchered by this medium. We apologize for the stubborn left margin.

Trey Moody is the author of Climate Reply (New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM) and Once Was a Weather (Greying Ghost Press, forthcoming), and his poems appear in Best New Poets 2009, Boston Review (soon), Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, and Washington Square. He co-curates The Clean Part Reading Series in Lincoln, NE, where he teaches and works for Prairie Schooner.


Why a. Why not bring bodies
back to home. Bones
before our tracks, after parks
cleared leaves. Why radio. Listen
listlessly, then sleep. Why weather
becomes a lack—language suffers, like you.
Paths, too, refuse use. Why department.
Why soda. Five calendars of blue.
Light lingers long as memory, but
why winter. Music
wanes, despite the view.

Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of the little book Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound (Ravenna Press, 2011) and the chapbook Don’t Let Me Forget To Feed the Sharks (Poor Claudia, forthcoming) and currently lives in Lincoln, NE, where, along with Trey Moody, he co-curates the latest incarnation of The Clean Part Reading Series. Recent work by him appears/is forthcoming in Sentence, Quarterly West, Forklift, Ohio, CutBank and Eleven Eleven, among others.

Poem with Limbs

The audible shape
of a billowing scream,

avalanche that began milk-white
and died dark dark red.

The sun shining;
the resort’s holiday weekend package.

Too many birds staring
from the newly-understood limbs

of an upstanding tree.

Joshua Ware lives in Lincoln, NE. His first book, Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, won the 2010 Furniture Press Poetry Prize and was published this past summer. He is the author of the chapbooks Excavations (Further Adventures Press) and A Series of Ad Hoc Permutations (Scantily Clad Press, as well as the co-author of I, NE: Iterations of the Junco. His writing has appeared in many journals, such as American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Quarterly West, and Western Humanities Review.

You Sure Have Taken a Shine to that Cowpoke

the fluorescent
gloss of art
lighting, we sing
and collide. A scope and array
of colors and shapes
dizzy us into agreeing
every angle is needed
to view a panoramic of our
selves against fragmented
skies and rooms made
of grass.

Marge Simpson once said: “You sure have taken a shine to that cowpoke.”

In their younger days, the poets would get stoned and go to the grocery in search of Walt Whitman; they never found him. Although, they usually left feeling a bit dazzled by the large quantity of products available to consumers, not to mention the amount of “choices” available when a person is in need of one of those specific products.

Adorno once wrote: “Art now dutifully admits to being a commodity, abjures its autonomy and proudly takes its place among consumer goods.”

During the poets’ aforementioned grocery visits, they would become disoriented by the vibrantly colored packaging.

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SEPTEMBER 24th, a saturday, AVOL’S BOOKS, 7 pm

Whit Griffin (all the way from Memphis), Rebecca Steffy Couch, and Jordan Dunn (two localites) will shape the canola (shake the cannoli?) (whatever that means). Please attend, they are each amazing, and collectively / adjacently no one knows yet, it will be so good. If you’ve met any of these people you already know what I’m talking about. Biographical notes and some poems immediately proceed this note:


Rebecca Steffy Couch is a writer, reader, teacher, and a developing researcher-critic in English literary studies at UW-Madison. She grew up just outside the small town of Manheim in Lancaster County, PA. Ordinarily handy with plants, Rebecca has been challenged by a new and not-thriving hibiscus at home. If anyone has any tips on this or other things, please speak with her after the reading.

Whit Griffin studied at Bennington College and Brooklyn College, respectively, and was an intern for the Jargon Society.  He is the author of Pentateuch: The First Five Books (Skysill Press, 2010).  Chaplets include Fugitive Cant (Country Valley, 2010) and Cathedral Ring (Longhouse, 2011).  With Andrew Hughes he co-founded the journals Tight and BPM.  He currently resides in western Tennessee.

Jordan Dunn lives in Madison, WI, where he manages an artisan dairy, and takes daily adventures with his toddler son, Owen.  He supports bicycles, bourbon, and fine English shotguns.


Jordan Dunn

Twelve to Three

Some wine for the ghost, Chinese landscape monograph, little person, that counts, it counts more, traveling from valley to valley, concerned with weather, cirrus crisp morning, the mind like a jewel, unpolished, or the mind like void, a jeweled void, woodpecker striking the barn roof, cricket autumn, the thing thing thing he taught her, how to determine surface, origin, the probability of being evaluated, dragged to the river bank, let loose to cannibal logic in the thrust grove, morning, fog dense in redwood boughs, drinking wine, eucalyptus favors, I go, return, forget words, now relax and enjoy you on you, another parody wish list, foreclosed closet, bumper wheat crop, reevaluation of the thing itself, itself, itself, the thing, what, margin of error, translation recipe, dash off, sweet one, hidden energy will push you to the limit of purpose, song, sing, along you go.

Whit Griffin

Valley Sanctuary

Paralyzed by fears at night that
don’t even register during day.  Defending
the border of a hostile imagination.
Where are the wondrous animals that
will unlock the misery we’re living in?
Attend to various pleasures, populate
the vibrations.  Learn to sing with your
mouth closed.  Golden chime.  A fishing
tabernacle floored in stumps and knuckle
bones.  A tenuous connection with
the outside world, trying to arrange
a binding.  The crystal has grown
dark. The dove, country pigeon, bobs
and scurries with its mate.  It
rains, it snows, where’s the tomato?
How fast can you row away from a
former friend you once shared Xmas
dinner with?  Panic down by the water.
Cleanse the wristwatches, the wandering
uterus of Beirut.  There’ve been no
good statues since the invention of trousers.
Of leaving, of arriving.  I don’t drink
but have been known to sniff dough.  As
the baker manages his yeasts, no un-
believer was allowed to eat oranges in
Moorish Spain.  How many had to be stricken
before a plant’s poisonous nature was common
knowledge?  To live, to die, healed.

Rebecca Steffy

the eerie back tense

what follows
a noun in motion
from an idea
in shivers

for summer being done
all things stand in thickets
if they looked behind them
a hemisphere o’er shoulder
in no proper place
is past back
must be dorsal

geo-cache this news world
the shouldest
stifle mouth
it is eerie time around second
and third

fight Roger Clegg

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The Horseshoe’s Mouth-Shaped Reading

The ________-Shaped Reading Series returns to joyfully bring you the amazing poems of CONNIE DEANOVICH and MAUREEN SEATON. They happen at Avol’s Bookstore, 315 West Gorham in Madison, on Thursday, August 4th, at 7 p.m. An open mic will follow. Like a faithful dog. Or like sunshine follows rain. Or vice-versa. Or like conclusions follow premises. Sometimes. Oh, dear… this metaphor generator must be low on batteries.

Trust us. It’ll be amazing.

Connie Deanovich is a Whiting Writers Award winner and author of Zombie Jet and Watusi Titanic.  She lives in Madison WI.

Maureen Seaton is the author of fourteen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—most recently, Cave of the Yellow Volkswagen (Carnegie Mellon, ’09); America Loves Carney (Sow’s Ear, ‘09); Stealth, with Sam Ace (Chax Press, ‘11); and Sinéad O’Connor and Her Coat of a Thousand Bluebirds, with Neil de la Flor (Sentence Book Award, Firewheel, ‘11). A memoir, Sex Talks to Girls (University of Wisconsin Press, ’08), won the Lambda Literary Award, and her poetry has received many honors, including the Lammy, the Audre Lorde Award, the Iowa Poetry Prize, the NEA, and the Pushcart. You can find her at and and teaching poetry at the University of Miami, Florida.



Here’s your mistake back
you never made it

here’s the cushion
reshaping on the couch

your shadow slips under the threshold
you never crossed it

private paradise
is just another storm splitting in space

the sheets you never crumpled
fold up again

the words you spoke
were never spoken

when I walk into the library
I’m not thinking of you

when my heart drains like sand from a shoe
I’m not thinking of you

something was having trouble ending
think of energy’s mutations not of you

yesterday I devirginized
my own story

stuck my fingers in and out of my own future
until I broke its promise

today I’m not thinking of you
but of a souvenir tossed on the compost

a smelly time unpettaling
blackening rain and garbage

–Connie Deanovich


Lorraine Hansberry’s Grave

What is the name of the water in the bowl inside the sea, I once said to my lover, who took me to Hansberry’s grave on a winter evening—the name of the water contained within the larger water, I asked, rain in my mouth, rain in the boats of my shoes. All around us: deer shit and the dampened opinions of dead people. We walked past the graves with rain on our faces. Grass grew in sheets down the hills and rainwater glossed the marble. Is the body unclosed as the bowl in the ocean is unclosed, or is the enclosed body unclosed in the ocean of the soul, I persisted, the bowl in the sea, the body in the sea of the soul? My lover said: Droplet, Sea-bowl, Little Grave Seeker. They buried Hansberry on a hillside in Croton-on-Hudson beside white people and a river plunging south. We searched for her for an hour in the rain, my lover and I, wishing for slickers and luck and long lives to come. It was I who found her and shouted to my lover, who leapt to me from among the dead, her body aslosh with joy.

–Maureen Seaton

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The UnderoneroushipShaped Reading

That’s right!

Flaunting and taunting superstition,
this Friday, May 13th, we proudly present
reading poems at Avol’s Bookstore, 315 West Gorham, at 7 p.m.

Noah Gershman travels frequently.  His occupations are tenuous.  Right now he’s touring the country with his new poetry collection, The Enthusiast (Snail Press, 2011), of which Rachel Glaser writes:

“In these poems it’s as if each snow globe has its own society.  Gershman reveals the private moments of the players in a weird history.  His monsters have style.  To read these poems is to imagine all new occupations.  These are twisted old tales, written in 1708, but found recently and published.  Step inside them and rejoice.”

Ron Czerwien is the owner of Avol’s, a used and out-of-print bookstore in Madison, WI. Most recently his poems have appeared on-line at Moria, Nth Position, Qarrstiluni, Right Hand Pointing, and Shampoo. Ron hosts the monthly “First Thursday Open Mike Poetry Readings” at Avol’s. His latest project involves constraint-based writing. For more details attend the damn reading.

Aviary–Noah Gershman

This morning I opened my mouth
and a sparrow flew out.
It had something in its talons,
but before I could protest
it was gone.  I ate a second bowl of cereal
to fill the added space.
Brushing my teeth, it happened again.
A magpie absconded
and nearly crashed into the mirror.
At work I was asked for an opinion
and a crested thrasher made the break.
Business calls were a disaster,
the office filling up with birds.
On the train I coughed a meadowlark,
a warbler and a thrush.  Then she appeared
in her cumulous white tunic.
“Today I lost everything,” I told her.
She took my hand.
A partridge landed on her hat.

Stone Banjo–Ron Czerwien

What he came home with
was never revealed.
Curious hands across
the ocean of talk find
their journey is over,
one song learned
from singing along.
All kinds of hints
got repurposed
when not absorbing
outsiders. His prayer
winded the world
sleeping on a goat,
never learned
to cue the mythic sky.
The unquestionable maps
no place. Our people
on the ground
are down to earth.
Maybe the cab driver was
inexplicably profound?
The hours of lost swirling
blur the walk.

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