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Joshua Vinzant



Some characters come back in
from the Green Night like the low brown
of the slow gray trains & sunken
salvage yards of Omaha.

Corn, caskets & Max.
A few things go horribly wrong. The beginning
becomes the ending &, dear reader,
there is no ending. The people come and go

and then not appear. Most are seen
from far away. Grain bins lean in to listen.
Max stumbles home with a penis
inked on his forehead.

Ominous belly-growls from deep
forest. A cold wind off many brown rivers.

I am writing this last.


Max holds the bones of a small child
in his mouth. Rattle, rattle, rattle him to sleep.

The bare white room. The grain bins
lean in to listen from the Green Night

of dark corn. The sun rise comes on
like a pink and purple barroom neon.

As if the moon ever really mattered,
Max lays down his toolbox heart.

Click here to listen to poet Matthew Graham read "Cornscape"

Max Gives a Poetry Reading

I was reading this poem down at the local old-folks home
about how death comes surely and painfully to us all

when I felt the strong desire to tell them my
taking-a-shit-on-acid story & my-friend-Moon-who-snorted-the-
biggest-mound-of-meth-I've-ever-seen-a-guy-snort story
                                                        & I questioned
         this desire

all the while still reading my poem about how death comes surely &
         painfully to us all
where I go on in the poem to say how death is just the fucking ace
         of spades no delusional heaven of harps and white & that
         even as the heart stops or the brain
takes the o-my-god snap of a tired aneurism there are some
         seconds there where we unfurl like
         white sheets on a summer clothesline
         wind holding us aloft
         before our gods

I could tell by some looks that the farmwives in the audience really

         got what I

I listened to the orchestra of oxygen tanks and thought of Moon
his own grace from a Les Paul's low E & how he played that guitar
         like he was
                    killing snakes

this took me back to my strong desire & to thinking of my getting-
couldn't-have-been-more-lovely-high-or-sober story

I saw a man staring off into the institutional peach space behind me &
Leslie Ann in the moonlight a gravel road I probably wouldn't do
different about that night even if I had the chance all my best stories
         involve a going up & a
                                            coming down
         I made a decision
I worked it into the poem about Leslie Ann & the gravel road
& even the moonlight just one line & I was pleased to see how well
         it went over after all
that business about unfurling & being held before a god

Click here to listen to poet Robert Wrigley read "Max Gives a Poetry Reading"