O Bury Me Not

Flat on my back in switchgrass, I sing ‘O Give Me a Home’ to the thousand-mile wind. Sometimes when I sing I even love my father. I feel how his braced leg fails him on any grassy slope. I see his withered right ankle, pale upon the good one, as he scoots along the floor to the bathroom—“out of my way!”—his privacy lost to loose BVDs and desperation. I sing of the sweet land where fathers died for liberty, and I love him.

I love my mother when I sing of that swan like a maid in a heavenly dream. I sing our Kansas anthem and in those few lines I float with her, calm and protected. I forget my ugly duckliness, and I love her.

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cement mixer me

I do not sleep, night after night.

I stomp my snock-wall cranium,
leave bloody bootprints and bone bruises.

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I will not survive the end of this poem

Stop writing as if you'll survive,
be discovered, and understood.

Don't pretend you have time
to not mean every word.

Mean it. Every word.
Or else make spreadsheets.

Precious, clever lines
won’t sound better later,

or accrue in value, or
change to gold from lead.

Write like the dead.
Syllable your last beat.

You will not make it
to the end of the page.

You're already gone.
What do you say, for your self?
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clitta-clat king of the bucket

I smell crawdad in mud-glow,
fish-tang from a hidey-hole;
zinc-y water-rot aroma,
stink of joy to a barefoot boy,
slipfinger boy in wet dungarees.
Grab a blue shell, wave a snip-claw,
mechanical claw, bend-back claw,
to trim a trophy off curly thumb—
but giddy drop and he becomes
the clitta-clat king of the bucket.
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psilocybin syllable

goodbye to weight within;
i am the helium beast, i rise,
ugly as sin, clean as nimbus,
to the mothering sky.

i saw every color. i felt
you tremble. how true
my heart was, long ago,
how reliable my tongue,

before i knew bitter. all done,
o best beloveds! my gifts,
the psyilocybin syllable, and
the blooded, holy words

of sorrow, are delivered.
the boy prospered, bless
the skin of his teeth, and
the propaganda of love,

and the slow fuse of truth.
light wants in, after all. I am
so sorry. i stayed as long
as i could. as long as it took.

i rise,
ugly as sin, clean as nimbus,
to the mothering sky.

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goat costume

tear me out
send the children away
    sleep, sleep
give up on me
    slice, slice

I'm bad, I'm wrong
    always, always
nothing holds me
    gone, gone
I’m a flame, in glass
    fraud, fraud

there is a truth
    liar, liar
I gave up long ago:
    damn, damn
I wanted more

the bad, the wrong
    fade and fade
hope will die
    die and die
and horror, grief
    always, always

be good as your word
    and give, give
be better than me
    do more, more
the fail, and lie
    and lie and lie

will not undo me
    not me, me
I stayed my hand
    I stayed, stayed
soft as a peach
    I hold, hold

I count for something
    six, five
I measure up
    four, three
not infinitesimal
    two, one
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feel everything

can’t sleep. i wear a
horseshoe crab hat.
brain is stubble field.
hand gropes upward in
a dark not dark enough.


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i rise

Nana, in the kitchen,
her glasses loose on their string,
pours Uncle Sam cereal
into her measuring cup;
shakes, puts a little more.
I close my eyes; I hear:

My finger-scratch on chalky page.

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fine art prints
writing by Greg Correll