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Five (5) by Zach Arnett

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  • 4 min read

by Zach Arnett

Seeing What Others Have and Desperately Wanting

swears up down my nape like hair
to say nothing for these dunce earthly things
of hamburger ozone and worms

the moon tonight’s another lamp
that shines my mother’s death mask
against the side of the house

against the side of the house
I guttered her final lung’d words
to petition the saint
that my piercings are perfectly normal

a lot of needle lay between us
her saint wants to fuck
with local tens
shaped in the key
of my childhood door

he’s reckless with his pancreas
grabs quarters off the backboard
the saint sniffs bicycle seats

pray-tell how the American
believes in god
to the jelly point
of this sorry votive

baby I renounce knowing
where to start
better to buy shit
spit on the rug
and shut up

you can’t jimmy contrition
we bid for a cruel redeemer
you can’t even tell me
if that last is the bible
or prince hamlet

Hello, Dammit

I’ve no preconceived notion of Elvis
but yet he knows our demands
of angina caul for a heart beat
negative rule of love
I tilt back the full scobee
now mirrors lay over my eyes
in inclination of schism
I see a beachcomber wallet
I see a kept wife in the attic
I see a candle of a human
who don’t cotton to
tray passed germs
inside your cut
trees reach in square
over passing box trucks
trees rode hard
and put away wet
I keep trying to draw Elvis
on a horse
but it comes out
the state bird of want
where I’m from
swoops the truck
dripping milk
the doctor who pumps
pumps the cuff
and asks
just what I consider teeth
I tell him white American
whole male thank you
brothers to dogs
lean in rage
my essential sloth
forms my grid
in St. Rose inches
negative rule of love
when a student is ready
the mask appears

Burial, Burial, Burial

I used to do stuff
I gave few shits
familiar primitives
I'd barehand bluegill
till they honed
their spikes     giggle
then feed them
back into the sudden Wabash
I hired student estheticians
to hover mosquitos above my lips
and purse for DUI cops
in the sin of flesh
that is not ugly
we could maybe tie this
to the sadism of my father
with all the work and fog in him
how he taught me everything can yawn
everything that breathes     yawns
my childhood house came to us
in halves down the highway
my earthly possessions
hung around
to out me and     outlive me
now here I still am
at the 2 furlong pole
of my life
the emergency stop
of a dead treadmill
around my neck
ages pass through me
               in pornography
I never knew the bluegill
               just their names
the second arrow
never dug purchase
it's still assumed there’ll be time
for great books

I keep this cupcake situation
with a rural rat girl
and braise my way up
her extravagant contortions
in the red light R
of Kenny Rogers Roaster
she pinches my nose and blows
                     graceful movement
back into my lungs
she's saged the haunted rooms
              inside my mouth
the clouding emptiness
in my belly
all of this is there
to grind back into the coral
we make a home inside ourselves

Mouth Warmed

Specifics of my life bury me
at the Warren beach pencil
I could used to afford an uber
to the liquor store
now woe betide those
who fall foul of the foxes
that peck at my liver at night
you’ll decay a hundred
lives before I’m planted
some stranger fingered it
on the sand above my head:
here lie such a worm
a little pleaser
cousin’d in the familiar messiah patter
of lesser deities you can
make a deal with
my hours pass by caffeine stacks
with a longer green eastbound
whose course is obvious
it finished inside me
so I’m full of premonition
just ask me anything about your future
your worries, Shoog, are still a puppy

Can’t Kiss an Airplane

back on the bare hook
with flirtatious nuns
-all of whom vaped-
who assure me to relax
toward human death
so that got to be my way:
vaping and acting new
on the convent path
ensigned with the departed
collar names of Skeeter
Butch and Wishbone
still how they bark
past the town marker
and solve something
unwashed in me
it takes a great much to ignore
somebody gets their head wet
it gets hairy it gets brief and
horny in my tooth enamel
smiling white as sex
division manifest
my pussy finger jammed
back into my wrist
and I’ve lost my sense of smell
a hex on me for all my
untoward body environs
tortured in my parts
on the 24 hour plan
I should have been born a dog
might next time
I’ve always had a tell
that wants catching
even when I was 14
in high lechery
at the 4H Fair
Miss Cass County’s father
put a warning finger
to my lips and said
save that breath boy
cuz you’ll be running

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