Landfill

3 Poems by Kelly Dolejsi

The Lost Jockey

He wrote rattleboned, he wrote after soup,
he wrote in his banker’s suit and turpentine
that we are capable of liking what we like,
spilling out of bed each day like chocolate milk
or pipes or lenticular clouds or madonnas
and the others, the incapables, sleeping
and not liking to sleep but also he put them
in the dainty branches, a see-through forest
of glass trees, glass squirrels, a collector’s
dream, somebody’s dream. On his horse
in his gray stripes and painted-on hat he wrote
prose to unborn granddaughters, post-scripts
to Mary the blue sea slug, Chris her brother,
every shard in the whole trampled scene.

The Commuter

Thoughts continue toward yesterday,
always giving way to sameness as gnats 
do, as newly cut blades of front lawns. 
Again, I wonder how to head home when 
home multiplies, when I scatter my wish 
on too many stars. I head home. It is night, 
and so warm I could sleep on a branch. 
I listen to steady light rain on the shell
of a wandering turtle that every few years
I return to the creek. I feel both ankles
in the familiar broken ice at the bottom, 
and hear another girl breathing next to me 
in the snow. I gallop away, sure that I’m a horse 
and that I’ll never think about this day again. 

Vigilance

Midnight, children quiet as painting
of saints in a long hallway that no one
has ever entered. Midnight, our bed
like a long gray whale, its belly pressed
like one tine of a rake into the zen garden
of the seafloor. Midnight, your hand
on my leg like a major seventh minus
the third and the fifth. Midnight, is this
what it’s like to be immortal? Thing after
indigestible thing, each one praying
silently and yet I hear them all. Midnight,
and yet day comes — I wake to see a deer
in the backyard, and I wonder how what
we grow could possibly keep him alive.
-
Kelly Dolejsi’s work has been published in many literary journals, including Cincinnati Review, North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, Broken Ribbon, The Hunger, West Texas Literary Review, Timberline Review, Junto, Gravel, Dirty Paws, The Hungry Chimera, Joey and the Black Boots, and The Disconnect. Her poem “Loyalty” was nominated for the Best of the Net, and her contribution to September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Additionally, her chapbook, That Second Starling, was published by Desert Willow Press in 2018.

"I Know How to Buy Draino Like I Know To Always Carry Tissues" by Alain Ginsberg

Mom cries in the car / makes a flood out of a leaking faucet / clogs the faucet
with my hair /
my mom buys draino a lot

mom seeps down the throat of herself
trying to work / correctly / looking for the manual
to turn off all of these damaged pipes

when I came out to mom it was in the car
and the rain seeped in through a hole in the window or
the momentum of a turn whipped / one of her tears
across my face so it would make me cry too / or, clog my mouth
with hair, fill my drainthroat with paper mache,
make my mother buy draino again

and there has always been something viscous filming the back
of my throat / watching the pipes dry up / watching the grime
strip itself down the whole of me / sit passenger seat confessional
and look for salvation / to run like water

I live in cars full of tears or / the heat of a chassis feels
like the heart beat of my family or /
I cry the most in the car / when I’m asleep / when the motion
takes me and drains my bones of water.

I clog the faucets of my homes with hair
and buy draino and sleep in the warmest places
to pretend that I am still worthy of being held.
-
Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City whose work focuses on narratives of gender, sexuality, and mental health and the ways in which trauma informs, or skews them. Their work has been featured or is forthcoming on Shabby Doll House, Rogue Agent, decomP, and elsewhere. Outside of writing they tour the country performing in concerts, slams, living rooms, and caverns. They are a taurus. 
facebook.com/ginsbergbutnotginsberg
twitter.com/anotherginsberg
anotherginsberg.bandcamp.com

"Real Life with Science" by C.J. Miles

I have loved so many things my heart needs a nap.
Are you now or have you ever been aroused
By a Coldstone Creamery?

I Google Earth-ed Google Earth. 
My computer had a nervous breakdown.
I told it I understood in the present tense.
See, the bus I'm on can't go under 50 mph
Or it'll explode. Kaboom is a noise
I never want to hear. It sounds
Exactly as it’s spelled. That’s science,
Like taking a mosquito fossilized
In that yellow goo and making a
Lizard older than Jesus that can blind
Newman before eating him whole.
If we ever get off this bus I’m going
To dirty talk my dirty talk. I’m going
To make a sandwich and eat
All of it, even the crusts.
I love what comes from us.
Being tied up can be fun unless tar
Is being poured down your throat
Or Donald Trump tweets
The nuclear codes. We have to stay
A whisper, they're videotaping us,
They being the moon and the flag
We stuck on there, so we have to hush
The vowels of our mid-moans,
Even in the dark, even when we reach
The tip of the highway and there’s
Nothing left but what follows
Kaboom, the longest description
Of what comes from the meeting of lips.
-
C.J. Miles lives in Iowa with his wife. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in ForageMoonglasses MagazineMobius: The Journal of Social Change, and Jazz Cigarette, among others.

"Washington" by Ivan Doerschuk

it was cold come morning
along Raging River
when I came up off the ground
me and the dog
we walked up the hill
and through the meadows
looking for you

but we could not find
the way
it was in
the sun-streaked current
that I saw

that I knew
what had once passed
before your eyes

and it was more
than any ledger in stone
could tell
• •
*for Nicholas Ridout

-
Ivan Doerschuk
 wrote this poem. This piece is part of a larger collection that was written during a period of itinerant travel in the Pacific Northwest during the summer of 2015. This poem in particular was written after attempting to find the grave of a friend on his family's property outside of Issaquah, Washington.

"Non Pearl Body" and "Quilting" by Nathan Wade Carter

Non Pearl Body

God’s eyes are yellow.

I peer into them
in my celestial bed.

The color of god.
Heaven is yellow.

The stars spell things
whether we want them to or not.

Whether they mean to or not.
Whether it matters or not.

Words mean things.
I didn’t think I’d need to say this.

This very long tunnel.
An electric light every so often.

This underground bend
through the mountain.

My eyes get used to this dim.

I have yet
to connect

enough dots
to make a picture.

I stay in bed for days
boring a hole in this spot.

I am surrounding
my foreign body in nacre,

making my own iridescent mother
and being her.

I have this hard object
within my soft tissue.

My mantle has made something
valuable.

My immune response
is beautiful.

-

Quilting

A tectonic inch
My oceans jostled
A cup of water
On a bumped table
An earthly hiccup
Waves pull away
To rush in
Cities reclaimed
I am a new landscape
After fishing the lake dry
After wearing holes
These knees
After spitting
This wind
I sit in a puddle
And pretend I am
A gold fish
All forget and yellow
I use the last pencil
Down to its ferrule
Which holds a finished eraser
One cannot erase what
One cannot record
I survive
A quilt
Warming
Assembled well
Even I say thank you
But there’s a gap
An ocean
I worry
I broke
Without noticing
I am built different
Too many years of feeling I need to be
Fucked or never loved
A sand castle erected so proud
So bound to fall down

I will not sleep with you
I will not live with you
I will not have sex
I don’t want to

-

Nathan Wade Carter is a queer, grey-a poet, musician, and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry can and will be found in Heavy Feather Review, Horse Less Press, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, The Fem, and others. He is editor and founder of SUSAN / The Journal. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot. He is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at nathanwadecarter.com.