from Thanksgiving

The proposal came:
noisome ideology
of cities plopped down

in cities. How cool,
let me lay here in the sun
until my dream’s done

feeling mellow and
the hills are on fire, focus
grouped epilation

crawling toddler-like
AC-chilled purgatory
a drive-thru order.

I listened to way
too much punk rock as a kid
and reside there still

in part, so easy
a tell: this poem’s rough attempt
at starting a pit,

a crazed whirl masking
highly ordered behaviors
of intimacy,

equilibrium,
a critique of dominance
while sucking it off,

the far harbor of
tongue both an imposition
and imposed upon.

My Awesome Wishlist:
a color without a logo–
tattooed guillotine–

the dancing flambeaux–
naked pesto slip-n-slide–
these are normal things.

What’s abnormal is
the taste is gonna move you
whether you like it

or no. He slipped and
fell right down on his little
fat newsflash, stretching

the canvas to shreds.
They’re us, that’s all. Bugs in drag
and I run away

together, evening
turned rain. Never recover
from all of the lights–

that’s discomposure,
brassy triumphal tunage
a cavern of false.

I’m looking into
the moistest superlative
availed us today–

it needs be squishy
by def housed in conventions
and double yellows.

Yes, I like to dive
’round in it like a porpoise,
shining divider

collection. Focus:
a regional brewpub chain’s
dirty taps exposed,

Toyota outrage
on the new Bluetooth headsets,
blood on seat covers.

Toss the garbage, kid–
roll the window back up, this
is it boys, it’s war.

Where’d you grab your voice?
It’s as if a myth rang up.
The rich man sprang in

the dirt carriageway,
tipping the cart and killing
the hack ‘ere this morn.

The trouble with lauds:
our wounds are foul and fester.
There is no healing.

There’s no shortening
of the commute, peons to
forthright dream cloture

and broadened embeds
of a gouged mess of supposed
entry requirements.

We’re talking class, sure,
and we’re all trying to eat
and it’s difficult,

but pause the game, bro,
and kill your uncle, you know,
the one with HD

teevees on all walls–
a rust-covered disused grill–
a trip to Vegas

every quarter now,
silent cousins and your aunt’s
downcast eyes, he laughs

and slurps and sings songs
regarding a liberty
he can’t really want

since his breath remains.
The Rousseauian koan reeks
more each year in bloom.

My lenses altered.
I think of how hilarious
the temporal fold

we inhabit here:
I’m injected with poison
that murdered four friends

in this year’s vapor,
villain in this mass crisis,
and I moan awake

to what? More bad news.
Under the bridges shaking
north and east of then

someone you know coughs.
Hold a mirror to the nose.
Its sense is a rake

or nails on the skull:
ancient tobacco–
unwashed and warm ass–

leaf pulp usual–
butane leak and melty plastic–
I carved some names in

the fresh concrete slab,
lifting my shirt to my face
and repulsed, let go

an abstract throttle
toward an acid bath sunset–
years from now collapse.

I hope bog bodies
continue to fascinate
in that so far place

just to sit around
in the evening’s conjecture
and squelch, collected

and with sunglasses.
Everyone’s now on these drugs,
factor in wood grain

then it reads okay–
oh my god we created
an approximate

cut-out of raggy
yet slick shambolicism,
a desperate cheap glue

that manages, sure,
but its persistence burbles
mostly harrowed down

a development
with some good tree’s common name
then Euro suffix

of sorts, like villa.
I have a garage plain stacked
with unused hard drives,

bulged tubs of paper,
dry shrubs, scythes, alum shovels,
webs fibrous, gooey.

So do you feel that
or do you hear what I hear,
the beating of lambs?

Wrong poem or lyric.
It’s like medical strobing
or unnerving asks:

What if we’re pen names?
What is the space between horns?
Press hand to temple–

plug one ear canal–
repeat for the other side–
cry out with what’s stored

in the lifelong glimpse
into strange windows at dusk–
the unbecoming

variegated shades
of ill yellow, an orange
corporate in its gnaw–

kick the shit outta
me, a mistake, too many
syllables. Wrong poem

or way on one way–
it’s a car, it’s a mountain,
I’m spewing on both

and forgetting
my purpose here: to envy
these fabulous blinds.

I push a slat down
with my finger, observing
the seasonal rains–

red neon on plastic
bags weighted with cans, two guys
waiting on the bus.

I can see my breath
inside but do not shiver,
I’m not a butcher

but resound with flesh
and the cool wind infection
in the air tonight.

Don’t worry echo.
Scratch that. Reel with the horror,
the daily haboob

or tsunami waves
or dry ground cover ridgeline.
We fought then were found

huddled and naked
down by the canyon’s river–
oblivion smiles.

I wonder at times
of my own sheared petulance–
Cordelia Street world–

what do I despise?
I will stay a teenager’s
perpetual gloam

very probably
an expansive root system,
yea, a sad entry

of hundreds of reams
of thin plain copy paper–
a suburban zine

altered to a hearse:
Yell ’til you’re hoarse, but nothing.
It is a forced truce,

a wicked head bonk.
Here’s the pitch: an office park
that’s overtaken

by dull vacancies
becomes the new headquarters
for a radical

anti-state cult org.
We’re living on Nutrasweet
packets and Keurig

pods, storing ammo
where the break room once bubbled
with flirty and trite

timbres of despair–
in the spring we pick cherries
at midnight and deer

chew grass growing through
the pavement. It’s a nice life,
quiet, we have cells

where we fuck and speak
to each other in hushes,
count the ceiling tiles.

Then, a visitor,
with news of outside after
all that has happened.

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Ted Rees

Ted Rees is a poet and essayist who lives and works in Philadelphia. His first book of poetry, In Brazen Fontanelle Aflame, was published by Timeless, Infinite Light in 2018. Chapbooks include the soft abyss, The New Anchorage, and Outlaws Drift in Every Vehicle of Thought. Recent essays have been published in the Full Stop blog, Full Stop Quarterly, and ON Contemporary Practice's monograph on New Narrative. He is editor-at-large for The Elephants and teaches creative writing and literature at Temple University.