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Up Late Packing While Outside It Rains

Rivulets, which are hungry and without surface, their mouths have mouths.  We’re not thirsty but we notice their thirst.  They redefine compassion by their persistence, so that it includes going first and also not explaining your actions.  Mouth, dark and snow stuffed, is and going to be.  Mary is sleeping and I’m not sleepy her breath is a wave as I type this.  Some cotton, on top of the plastic travel casing for her insulin pump, next to the keyboard, I shouldn’t complain about the clutter I’m making, three pairs of shoes on the floor, all mine.  I use my mouth all day long, which feeds a body of water that breathes, down the tip of my back, which awaits winter.


Chris’s Chickens

Or it’s very good to eat and it’s good to hang out with the chickens who spend their time eating.  Lay wrinkly oblong eggs.  Deep hearted chickens, God chooses the strangest of languages to discuss intimacies with us.  Mary tells me about the General, whose wings she clipped today, how this bird escaped and flew up a tree and then she clucked in surprise at my wife, as in how did I arrive here and I have been hearing stories and even though I’m up here I don’t like the view.  So Chris called the chicken down, fed her crushed seashells. Small and suddenly quiet you can feel the static like a very soft blanket.



Worn off a little.  Like the lilting like the flow of it, and the way that flow halts and resumes, the motion of the sea, to which so much is so.  Which is a danced lullaby, for women dressed in blue, their arms moving like ocean swells, where the feet step simply to the side and all is expressed in the upper body and arms.  Then be, or become, or display horror, or be horrified, get tacky, get Hollywood-style, grass-skirt hula dancing, two witty numbers.  Get set to soupy vocal music by Alfred Apaka, get to communicate, make them feel the dark mortal menace that hangs over me, in my heart, where all it does all day is dance, it dances like the sea.


All I Want to Do All Day Is Smoke Dope and Stare at Crows

He tries to sleep with crows in his bed, he likes having crows.  He gets fed by the crows, they feed him like a baby crow.  He goes to the bar the crows come along.  He goes to work they circle the plant.  He says hi to his daughter they grasp her in their claws and fly her towards him, she thinks she’s a crow.  They peck at his eyes, so he has to smoke dope.  Smoking dope, he smells like the art teacher’s office.  He plays bad music really loud, then he has to wear a suit that has nothing to do with healing his eyes.  Then he has to go to a concert, then he has to quit smoking, and his pupils become soft squares once more.

But all I want to do all day is smoke dope, stare at crows, and wonder how I’d handle my life if that thing with the birds ever happened to me.  


Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and two Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery and Good Morning!  His poems have appeared in such places as Crowd, VeRT, Volt, Spork, Cue, Slope, Aught, Fence, Swerve, dirt, Zeek, and Sweet. He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven.