Friday, November 1, 2019

Two Poems by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

To The Graduates

One’s retired already
into the police. Scratching down

what you have and have not done
according to the called-in debris

washed ashore with every
panting broadcast.

If I’m feeling fucked with

I guess that’s because I set aside
big cuts of my shadow

to trick myself into thinking those bad thoughts
I’m having don’t fit inside a body.

It would be pretty funny if it didn’t inspire
such doom.

Not that you slipped free of your shadow, either.

But enough about us.

I reckon the others are working through
a shed of phantoms—yet they rise,

catch their trains, sleep late in falling snow.

Look at me, surrounded by rocks and trash
just begging to be flung into traffic.

Day After the Election Poem

The moon’s biggest at
dusk these days, lured up
through wet smoke
from the Catalinas. I can
hear some coyotes tonight.

They like to leap the so-called walls.
Night birds sounding out against
a rattled truck’s alarm in the grocery store lot.

These sounds all singing together, howling out—crying
reduced to talking, talk spun into a bad dream.
Muttering graveled into what is called thinking.

I would like to buy a hatchet. I would
like to carry it home on my shoulder.
Follow my shadow home

But those days are over.

What’s changed, you ask from the future?

Well, someone had drawn a swastika on the door
of the toilet stall long before the election.
Carved in, perhaps, with a car key or the nubbed
point of a pen in the hot morning. Up, then out.
Over, then down. & so on.

Nobody’s written anything next to it yet.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson wrote a book called Meadow Slasher (Black Ocean 2017). He lives in Seattle.

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