you are in the diode archives diode v5n2




So I was lonely, and yes, it was physical. All
the connections couldn’t work their way out.

I wanted to dismiss logic and become an animal,
real claws on the throat. The barbs dig in deep,

and drag me down. You know how it goes. That
brush. A small wind on skin, or hair falling

against the face. Great movements in the dark,
all breath stripped of syntax. No glass is left

unshattered by this parlor magic, all these
needles flowing through my veins. I get the idea

of sex. But I picture the women in all the towns
I’ve lived going to the forest at night to summon

the crouched wilderness to burrow up through
city streets and tear apart our plotted mess,

to rip open our churches like eggs, our
libraries. I still want them in a way that makes

me shiver. The words in the soundproof booth
escape all at once when the door is opened.

The collected words, from all the conversations
ever held in secret. Gropes and grunts. Hair

falling against my face like misdirected wind.
I can move slow, but I don’t choose to. I can

cure all desire in an instant. Errors, bloody things.



Albums of popular music have reached new lows
in cost. Thousands of labels, thousands of artists.
I’m not a giver, but I’m also not a taker. Here,
that’s what we’ve come to consider to be a hero,
if I do say so myself. Bombarded by music, what
to choose, what to be altered by, each assemblage
of notes creating minor explosions of love and hate.
What are these marks, these moles on my body,
there are so many of them. I can’t understand
this level of blemish. Nobody wants to kill me,
the speakers sing only loud music. Cancer, strokes,
specters hovering halfway in me and halfway out.
Music with just one click, always if you focus
you can hear it, you can’t drown it out. Let’s sleep
with all the lights on. Tonight, the moon is as bright
as it will be all year, as close as it will be to Earth.
Dolorous, the wind bringing us pollen. The music
is not a salve, it is quiet but the lyrics are reductive.
Say it in another language instead. The lights,
the sounds, the power bill can take it, the plant
is a marvel of engineering. I’ve been through
mandatory evacuations, I’ve moved as if heat
through stone. There’s a connection here, I’m sure
of it. Perhaps anger is our engine. Our staff in the
dark, our heat, our stone. The notes of a song bending
until there’s just a hiss of strings, a gasp of a chorus.


Metal Reports

It’s late at the bar, we’re talking
and we’re friends but yet there’s
a pulse that overtakes us, they say

it’s sin to want to dance so close
to a number of different people.
The remix of the pop song could

be successful without following
the traditional rules of songwriting.
Stay too long on a harmony, bass

turned too far up. A flute previously
hidden under the sturm und drang
of a danceable beat. It’s just enough,

enough is all it can ever be, enough
is satisfaction or a plea. To know
more about the presence of sin than

of God, that’s a gift. The presence
and the problem. Not that it’s a real
problem, that is, what is sin. I know

about the idea of sin, I know me.
I was born in Halifax, but now live
in Houston, where I edit the journal

NANO Fiction. My work has
appeared in Subtropics. New Ohio
Review. Common drawers, paper

plants. The metals used to build
Yankee stadium were subpar, they
were not up to code, and it will cost

millions to repair. Ha, the rich get
it too. We all get it. Sins in, or without.
We all get enough, we’re ok here

in America, don’t worry, we’ve got
our young myths. Nine you’re fine,
Big Foot. Apocalypse narratives,

hilarious things. Who’d want to die with
all this stuff around us? Dust on our
collectibles, one trinket getting more

attention than the rest. I don’t mean it!
Everything gets my love, what a sin.
I know it’s a thin blanket. I like

the cold. Come here, fond wrench,
I have poems forthcoming. The stack
of papers on the desk is highly sensitive.

All our hate is fake, is done to be dramatic
or get our faces seen, we’d hold each
other if liquor or cold commanded.

What’s commanding, the bar is closing.
The woman is struck in the shoulder
by a foul ball and the entire crowd watches

her to make sure she’s ok as millionaires
enact the rote movements of sport
within the enclosed area below.


The Misdirected Shipment of Fruit for the Poor Ends Up at a Festival in a Rich City Where It Is Mistaken for an Anonymous Gift

It’s the revengers who lead us to the open pits, through the dark.
I’ve brought the nails before, and so have you. I’ve wanted
to level a plank against my neighbor. I’ve noticed the villain

is always a swarthy character, like myself. Who has done
some great wrong against our kids. I’m always talking to religious people
about the terror that flows around us. In heaven, they say,

we will forget our enemies as we stand next to them. The fist
that clenched in our gut for justice and revenge is loosed.
Defeat. Will we know something so sewn to us in life

has been torn away? Not that I even believe in heaven. On Earth
I am always bound on the plane that drops the most bolts,
the train that jumps the most tracks. I always want a balance,

revenge, justice. The house that draws the most tornados.
You and I have nothing in common but our ability to drink
champagne. Or blood. Or you don’t know how it feels to be me.  


Glenn Shaheen was born in Halifax, but now lives in Michigan where he edits the journal NANO Fiction. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Subtropics, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and elsewhere, and his book Predatory won the 2010 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and was just published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Shaheen presently serves on the board of directors for the Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc.