Photo by Jeff Sirkin



The floor through the eggshell

mattress, the whole apparatus

of the fan humming metal on metal.

The protective face shakes

against its linchpins.

The blades grate on their axle.

One of the blades is bent

and conjures the wind

to voices in the funnel of an ear

swirling as a blur of waving arms

and bloodshot eyes and Matt

with his shirt off

the TV on in the background

and everyone surrounding

me and Nicky in the den

insisting we throw punches at each other’s heads

only Nicky can’t yet focus his rage

because he’s younger

how I’m younger than Matt

and he barrels ahead red-faced

and full of tears with his arms wide

while I punch metronomically

as he approaches again

and again

flailing at angles

with his shoulders I don’t

let close enough for him to land one

on the back of the head, or hug.



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*** ** ***



On the uplift

over the pavement

under my shoe soles and the tips

of my fingers reaching


they didn’t even need

to reach after

a pint

of liquor

and a few lines

and the tip

of a cigarette dipped

in coke and lit

it was really working.

I was gliding through a perpendicular world.

Everything was right angled

to the shithole way I felt

night after night

in a red-papered bathroom with a key

cutting my losses.


of dog songs

and immortal television

smearing a balm across.



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*** ** ***



All the novelties of american ardor

are tanning themselves poolside

dragging their salt hides

from lounge chair to lounge chair

and sipping trophy cocktails

despite the prohibitive martini sign

beside the drawing of the breakneck diver

and unaccompanied children who wail

from the second dimension for a mother

or an uncle or a friendly

stranger to wrap a towel around

their dripping suits and shivers

and lead them out of the high-locking fence

beyond which anything can happen



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*** ** ***



I haven’t ever not

messed things


or stealing or operating

a vehicle too intoxicated

to walk properly

mess at a party

on a trampoline

anemic and no sleep

the shop van crashed


on the mercedes guy

and hundreds of miles at a time

asleep anywho

when not

and better thinking not

fucked up

I am a stopped

funnel mushrooming

in sheet rushes

of rash and numbness


steel in a blackout


train sleeping

work skipped broken

finger in

the polishing wheel

missed reading

fucked them over

finished that batch of stainless

several psychotropics

stabilizers lithium and I

would fix my eyes

to straight flat angles

running the variable speed

over long rectangle

of steel after long

rectangle of steel

the grinder

if not kept flat swaying

the plane

so I worked the whole

panel an eighth

inch down to level

the mistake

and wore the new

unusable dimension flat



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*** ** ***



When I’m out on the floor of the restaurant working

and describe the source and flavor of Forever

Roasted Pig, I think of my father

working on a scaffold in a warehouse room

adjacent to the killing floor

in another dimension in 1970s central Florida

where he lifts and lowers

himself on the scaffold to hover

around the inverted carcass of a cow

and skin it with a huge pneumatic knife.

He’ll come home and my mother will loathe

the smell that keeps them fed

and she’ll ask him to shower

again as if between night shifts

it could ever come completely out.



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*** ** ***



I love this huge

matron abusing

her skinny cook

to whip

an egg cream up

in the diner

on a scalene island

by the soda plant.

She implores

through the portable

in her thick Queens

to bring the dawgies down here, yeah,

and bring their bowls.

What I don’t need

I don’t know.

They have real buttery waffles with fake butter.

They have fuzzy amber affinities between wallpaper

and lightbulbs. I’ve been awake

so long now light weighs

my pupils into dowels

bracing me and what I’m looking at.



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*** ** ***



On a phantom spool someone has spun the slack from my life

and waits around the corner with it as a tripwire.

No one notices you falling when you sink slowly always

a little further down into the couch and driver’s seat

until one day you will just refuse to rise again

and the world will have to move around and

around and leave you little pieces on your delta as it passes.



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David Hutcheson
is a poet living in the Hudson River Valley. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His poems can be found in Michigan Quarterly Review, No Tokens, and Ploughshares.


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A dozen poets. One a month. Nothing more.