you are in the diode archives winter 2010



The Fall

A secret is that
mothers drop babies
on their heads
all the time.

They make sure that
no one has noticed.

this calls for
a distraction—
a silly ringtone,
a nipple slip.

All of us
have suffered,
have tumbled
to the asphalt.

All of us
remember the fall.

Some of us cry out,
even now, still,
to be carried.


Ring Theory

Just as we’re sailing a small boat
straight into a big storm, my dad
passes me the paper, points out
an article explaining that the world
needs more mathematicians.  These days,
the data floats like ghosts, no one
listening to the whispering.
From somewhere far below the boat,
a charcoal cloud, another.  A jolt,
and the jib rips in half.  Halyards crack—
live wires.  I go fetal, dumb, feel nothing.
We survive—who knows why?  Later,
I find the paper in the galley, see
a Tiffany’s ad for rings: precious,
senseless things that encircle us.


Slush / No Slush

if the kids are still smoking, though
            the first person
they all know better
            is the one
if they’re not checking IDs
            who lets you know
or making magic marker
            that no one else
crosses to forgotten gods
            showed up
if everyone looks familiar and
            for the party
no one says hi
            thanks to your
if the lights are off
if the stage is small
            in the invitation process
if the band is from Glasgow
            the second person
and the first line ends
            is somewhere else
with something about the girl
            somewhere better
running faster
            and more fuchsia
the second line is
            without any velvet or
bound to be about
            expensive drinks
some drunken bastard
            there’s art on the wall
it’s nights like these
            that you might like
that make you want to take a job
            they’re playing the Pixies
on an island and see
            the second person
what happens
            is always within
even if what happens isn’t
            a ten- to twelve-foot radius
in the chorus of any song
            of your imagination
even if down there everyone
            often sporting
dances to the music
            something small in her hair
swaying and stomping
            a crocodile, an elephant
like no one’s watching
            the third person
if the fan is on all night
            whispers in your ear
if the schoolboys all wear orange
            about the night
if you decide not to go back
            you’re not having
no one will write you letters
            he whispers loud
about the slush in the streets
            like you’re on the bus
of Boston this year
            and your nose is bleeding



The band wore white suits
so that all we saw was the song.

At midnight, my milkshake
turned into a princess.

A taxi drove us in circles,
but we paid in pennies.

The later it got, the more
stars your voice made.

Walking home, you said
you felt like Count Dracula.

Or Chocula.  To be safe,
we found a punch bowl,

two soup spoons and
some fake plastic teeth.

I don’t remember sleeping, but
I don’t remember waking, either.


Donkey as Teenage Son

You kneel down to check and yes, there it is—
a punk rock bracelet around the donkey’s wrist,
little metal pyramids, three rows wide.

As the rest of your tour group clomp away
down the long face of the canyon,
you and your ass hang back to chat.

“What’s with the bracelet,” you ask,
but he wrinkles his nose, kicks up some dust
in that adolescent donkey sort of way.

Soon, he’ll be wandering off at night,
returning only to stare into the embers,
to trace the last wisps of smoke

as they bend themselves into letters,
into silent curses and comminations.
You’re sure you’ve lost him for good,

but when you scratch his back, he turns,
sinks his sad gray eyes into yours
and drops a pile of dry apples
softly at your feet.  


Rob MacDonald lives in Boston and is the editor of the online journal Sixth Finch.  His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Octopus, Hanging Loose, Anti-, elimae, H_NGM_N, No Tell Motel, Free Verse, The Raleigh Quarterly and New CollAgeLast New Death, a chapbook, was recently published by Scantily Clad Press.