Stephen Danos



Everything Is a Wellspring

for Dean Young


The printer runs     out of black ink
and you must connect with a total      stranger
over the hurdle      of dial tone or brick

and mortar store           I've fallen out
of the lineup     brindled with the utmost
concern that the concierge is      friendless

How many more poems can I write      about
isolation           Swaddled in afghan admiring
your gallery      of facial tics     Promise for your   

Trapper Keeper     If you throw a murder mystery        
party      and I am the killer      I will be a terrible          
liar and confess      via pantomime     And such

thought experiments will push you      off the dock
before you're really ready      to swim with icecaps
in polarized waters     Skyscrapers of glacier

bisected by      a delinquent strait     The crowd
goes wild with      selfies that reverse      foreground
and background     Flocking         to new experiences     

has been known to      devastate   the wetlands  the arctic    
the category five hurricane     the downgrade
the tropical depression     Mounds of mud give way

to flaming geysers     Even sediment boiled
by our gratuitous      blue earth         evacuates 
There is no season for        today




Everything Is Armed Robbery


                                                        Breaking entrances and for what
Glorious Electronics and Kinetic Energy        Each memory of our
metropolis is ravishing a cold-hearted assurance    beige grass

deprived of pursuance      Renter's insurance     the cop's mild
suggestion        Thank you for helping me     skirt the law's loftiness    
officer              (wink) (wink)       This is the way we break bread          

by seppuku       and slow jams               What preventative measures
can one take other than             more padlocks   deadbolts   electrified
doorknobs        Your Bengal cats scurred under the bed

There's no denying       the brackish taste           of insecurity
There's no denying       the blueness of my        stolen Motobecane 
There's no denying       the gun was really         a plastic toy

but what if it fired a plastic bullet into your     casual heart




Gone Floridian


I received handwritten epistles from
you, a literal prisoner. The focus was
workout regimens, swollen with illustrations,

missing the stench of thesis. What is it about
trauma that transforms amateurs into
medical experts? Everyone agreed—you walked off

the latest breakdown into a frigid block.
Drudgery as being ready for close
quarters, cut off in a compartment,

and magnificent teardrops. I am ready
for cargo shorts and metal detectors,
the hunt for that elusive perfect grain of sand.

What is your four-leafed clover? I took your
cue, parasailed into big decisions, dangled
like bait over the great white ocean foam.






At night in the Pacific Northwest haloed headlights
signal automotive saints. I was told eating carrots
and fish oil pills rid eyes and heart of laurel glow.

At night I go partners with isolation, carve roses
on all the records thrown at regal toes.  
Lion’s share of time spent at desks, I take to tattling

on myself, on misleading the leaderless, practicing
a shameful gait. Is it raining or is that bar clamor?
You see, my devouring is parallel to yours.

At night I sneak into the neighbor's yard
and break their apple tree's bones. They suspect
that kings pace their gardens, since their guard

Collie never perks up. My hurry across their minefield
of cores is parallax error. Is loyalty spitting out
the seeds? Is truth really a mouthful of worms?