A Poem by Aaron Fagan

by Aaron Fagan

I dragged a garbage bag
Far into the park at night,
A shovel over my shoulder.

Streetlamps dotted the way.
Every so often I’d stop, look
Up and listen to how quiet

A city can be before I found
My place where I could begin
To dig in the earth, far beyond

The threshold of my capacity
For fear or rage, driving me
Down past all sense where

Something else of my perfect
Youth I never knew began to
Course through me as I lifted

The shovel again, momentarily
Allowed to be confused by
The swirls escaping me out

Into the spring evening air.
As I go digging deeper into
The hole and back through life,

Sparse drops of rain came down
And then harder, breaking off
An uneven shelf of earth

Knocking me out at the bottom
Of the hole, the earth came down
With the rain and filled me in—

Letting the bag rest there
Glistening in the moonlight
Between forms of misunderstanding.

A Poem by Shon Toney

raft of birds
by shon toney

floating down a river of okra
on a raft i salvaged out of
dysfunctional birds with the flu

the earth is my imaginary friend

i am the stomach growl
where some sort of organ of conscious should have been

i am adrift on the tiny chip on her shoulder

her vagina is a giant canyon shaped
like a magician’s top hat

gravity guides us past smiling gravestones
into the currents just off the edge
that jet into open space

everything that ends begins here

in this free for all fall

a raft of birds makes a poor kite

i am
what i feel


next time i close my eyes
i really will

A Poem by Reed Posey


There is no magic if everything is magic
by Reed Posey

I wanted an answer to the difficult questions of the material world:
What existed before the big bang?
If space is expanding, what is it expanding in?
What happened to mar the pristine singular void and submit the lake of totality to the trouble of actually existing?
I did an experiment
I did an experiment to test the effects of magnets on quartz watches
People said it was a crazy thing to do, and that I would look like a crazy person
And that people would be embarrassed for me for doing science in public
Because, as every one knows, I’m not a professional scientist.
I am, however, doing science to try to figure something out that I want to know.
An experiment to test the effect of solar flares on komboucha
You wouldn’t believe the results. You literally wouldn’t. Imagine a nearly implausible result.
Now imagine I’m telling you that’s exactly what happened.
Now imagine yourself not believing me, as I wave my hands in front of me saying
I’m not shitting you, I’m really not.
I did an experiment to test the cognitive bias of people who drink diet coke
And you wouldn’t believe me, but it’s true, they exist as a singular culture
Many of whom who would kill Parent A in in order to save Parent B from Parent A
At age 15 and younger with a gun in the kitchen, yes, I’m afraid this happens again and again. Charlize Theron, your personal suffering has given your characters amazing depth.
I did an experiment and made copies in my brain
Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy. Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy.
Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy. Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy.
Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy. Every time you repeat something, your brain makes a copy.
An experiment to define the dimensions of the mind, in cubic inches- it turns out you can’t; the mind is 3-dimensional, holographic, and fully scalable with a nearly infinitely rescalable zoom starting at any point- it’s the resolution which changes, ostensibly based on the size of the memory or the thought.
I did an experiment playing 2 different copies the same cd on 2 different portable 10 second anti-skip protection cd players, both of Japanese manufacture, at the same time. They began in synch but got out of synch in the first two minutes.
I took them to the computer lab at UCDavis and the technicians there told me that the CD’s contained exactly the same information. As I had suspected.
I took them down to the electron microscope lab for a closer look. The man at the front desk said they were going to call security if I refused to leave.
When security got there I pleaded my case: Sirs, sirs, when you look close enough at matter there’s nothing there. Everything is made of space and a series of repulsions and attractions assigned to nuclei that are only definable by the forces assigned to them as described in the laws of the universe- there’s no speck of anything there, not when you look close enough.
It just disappears. Everything exists as energy and information: energy synchronized by the forces of data recognition conditions. The implication is that the entirety of our universe is information, and as such, it can be hacked.
The man at the desk told the officers that I was right, and asked them to let me go with a warning.
I wanted to leave them, the officers, and the scientists, with a final thought before being escorted away:
There was a time when humans lived the same as their ancestors had for hundreds and thousands of generations,
and they lived as their heirs would live for hundreds and thousands of generations more.
Humanity was cradled in the abundance of the web of life, the sustainable systems of the world.
But something happened to start an irreversible change, cascading like a virus through cultures, replacing long-standing mandates.
It was humanity’s introduction to the period of time we call history- and how long is history? 10,000? 20,000? 25,000 years? And then what?
Well, consider the metaphor of the birth canal. History, being the birth canal, is the transition zone between our animal bodies and our god-selves.
And if we stay too long, we’re in danger of poisoning the womb.
Our fingers are stuck in the delicate web, and the harder we try, the worse it looks.
Our species is stuck trying to bring its imagination into the material world, but we will all become gods when we understand how our imaginations already construct our material world, our systems of governance, political structure, economics, family structure, eating habits, work habits, aesthetic taste, psychology in general, and cognition totally.
One of the officers blogged about the event. No one commented on the entry.

A Poem from Klipschutz

by Klipschutz

National Poetry Month or no,
I am, per usual, alone,
in that dreary little cul-de-sac
removed from luck and light,
green to yellow COOKING,
the bitter dream of TRAVEL,
surrounded by the pure pith of the ages,
the rotten, ripe and wax fruit of the age.
My eyes fall on an argument,
The Ordeal of Robert Frost,
no doubt misshelved, well-reasoned prose,
which I don’t disturb,
having ordeals of my own.

Outside a weak sun shines
as my Rockports carry me
back to this Tendernob cavern.
(What used to be a “garret, carpet new”
now lists as “atmospheric, skyline view.”)

Okay, he had it hard, we know, we know.
The hired hand comes home to die,
that much I recall, God-fearing solid souls
take him in. Apples, birches, fences,
the virtues of persistence and blank verse.
Still no matter how you slice it,
the ordeal of Robert Frost has gone to sleep.
I on the other hand rock on
from crisis to conceit,
elegy to chorus, cheek to cheek,
beset by editors and landlords without faces.

An early April afternoon could’ve gone worse.
One’s bookworm cul-de-sac is the apple of another’s universe.

Klipschutz (pen name of Kurt Lipschutz) is a poet, songwriter and occasional freelance journalist. This poem is from his new book from Anvil Press.

A Poem by Smokey Farris

Arbuckle Wilderness
by Smokey Farris

It’s time to buy a truck.
Awaken to a new vehicle.
It’s likened to a wide awake
Nightmare when edgy
And arbuckled into laundering
Your blood from bottomless socks.

The wagon overturned and
A battery of heads rolled down
The eternal cliffs of Ozarks.
Shade given so commonly by
the mirror like moon.
Is taken away
as the Nuclear warheads,
As illustrated on dayglow
Concert posters.

Unfurled curls of southern smoke,
Draft upwards and
Obscure the clansmen.
Who above the dreamlike
Stage of our fair city,
Hurl burning cans of oil,
And delivering telegrams
Of pure hate.

Bottles of booze are lowered
Down the slopes
Into arcades and onto welcome mats.
Memories of almost buying Cocktail
At blockbuster suddenly outweigh
a distant heiress bearing her breasts.

My past life comes in handy sometimes.
I get washed out in a hailstorm.
Get punctured a hundred and fifty times.
Get buried before the light goes out
And count pea harvests
And watch owls
Swoop low upon the earth.
Until time becomes meaningless,
Existence futile
Until I combust into
Precious gold dust,
And sweep my self up
Into a neat little pile of protons.

Smokey Farris runs an engraving shop in Walla Walla, WA. http://farrisengraving.com/

A short by Dirk Michener

The Boys Are Back
by Dirk Michener

When Thin Lizzy plays his guitar I can tell me and him are like brothers. When he is singing about the boys being back in town, I am one of Thin Lizzy’s boys and we just got back from being in some other town for a while, maybe doing some construction work and I just got back, and me and Thin Lizzy go to McFeelies and everybody in there is really glad to see we’re back and there wasn’t any accidents or anything and me and him do a karaoke together of that song “Jailbreak” and everybody’s cheering and screaming and singing “Tonight There’s Gonna Be A Jailbreak!” and buying us pints. Then later I tell everybody that me and Thin Lizzy got to go and do another construction job back east and everybody at McFeelies slaps us on the back wishing us good luck and they’ll miss us and not to worry because they’ll be waiting there for us when we get back.

Dirk Michener is also Cavedweller. You can find his music on bandcamp: http://cavedweller.bandcamp.com/. He lives in San Antonio, TX.

A Poem by Dan Raphael

Phototarian Moon

aware of the dark body , a gelatin shadow ‘mong lights sporadically sourced
like stars with their backs to us, like squirrels w/ white laser eyes
occasionally a tree exhales, occasionally too many branches
for anything to fly through, not enough leaves to empty rains pockets

I smell lemon though its january
butterflies daylight at 1AM
forest of brownian dancers clothed in moss & unraveled flight

the wind speaks the cutesy voice we use for infants & kittens

how 5 inches changes everything—half a head, gravitic multiplication,
another tree without tracks, a banana skin filed with blazing butter light
faster than its own name in a thunderstorm of adjectives
open the flesh to free the salt– last week the clouds were celibateO

tomorrow begins in lush green smog
hunkering into an afternoon brown I wish my skin was
lunar rain brining another night on the grill

Since moving to Portland in 1977, Dan Raphael has been active in the poetry community as poet, performer, editor, and reading arranger.

A Poem by Charles Potts

A New Mayan Letter
by Charles Potts
For Joshua and Jeremy

South of the border
The many borders
Where rich Texas Cubans will erect walls
For the poor to fly over
On their way to heaven
Though it may not be as heavenly
As its proponents take pains to point out.

It’s been a long time
Since I was young
Driven apparently to excess
By roads that stopped at the water’s edge,
The border crossings
Bearing the failures of bureaucracy.

Get old or die
Are the only choices
But living beyond the means
Act young and get real
Make good second choices.

The American dream is rattling the sheets
Of a population asleep in it.
Without a frame
The picture goes on forever.

Charles Potts is an American counter-culture poet. He is sometimes referred to as a projectivist poet and was mentored by Edward Dorn. Raised in rural Mackay, Idaho, Potts left Pocatello, Idaho and Idaho State University in the mid 60s and set out for Seattle, Mexico, and ultimately the location where he rose to literary prominence: the counter cultural hotbed of Berkeley, California. He is currently a horse rancher in Walla Walla, WA. http://bluecreekappaloosas.webs.com/

Thanks for all the poetry.

I want to thank all the wonderful poets who allowed us to post their poetry on Arthur while I was the Poetics Editor. I had a wonderful time reading the work and comments and helping bring a poetic flavor to the content posted here. Many people asked me how I was chosen for this position and I tell them it was my resume. When asked to provide more color I refer them to my resume which I’ve posted here.

Thanks to everyone for a great ride into the world of Arthur poetry.

Travis Catsull

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