• M. A. Istvan Jr.

Two list poems // M. A. Istvan Jr.

That Amygdala Place

1

The one who loves the other more.

2

Those long nights of summer far north: blue sunglow on one horizon, space blackness on the opposite.

3

Living on the road

pepper napkins

make you sneeze.

4

Nostalgia for free roaming Indians

now that their threat

has been wiped out.

5

When you give a bum a new suit.

6

Robber-barons endowing

churches and libraries—

manipulating reputation.

7

Blood-battles provoked

with good conscience, tossing

seed to savage birds.

8

Gelding the horse without its consent to stop its use

for human sex, sex to which it supposedly fails to consent

despite erections unforced by any human hand.

9

Fingertips now split black olives.

10

That final jerk-kick of belt-hung man.

11

Sundried shrimp pestled into a powder.

12

The heroic warship tugged

to a shipyard up river

for deconstruction.

13

Subtle rejection

each time the fan

directs its wind away.

14

Close-range arrow shots of the man strung to a stake.

15

Relationships that fail to survive their reunions.

16

Low living but high thinking.

17

The tune in your mind

has the skip

in your record.

18

Rails of all-purpose flour

there on the dining table

to welcome him home from rehab.

19

Feeding psoriatic skin flakes to the pet fish.

20

A dark drizzle—

and it smells

like a fishing day.

21

Creek eel

blue kiddie-pool

kids poking.

22

Great spaces between the floor boards.

23

The unschooled art of those at the fringes.

24

The young flirt and, watching them, the old sigh.

25

Boys serious on a trestle

sidestepping with the cleavage

rowing below.

26

Pissing, the drunk regrets spitting in the toilet.

27

Haunted at home by dark truths confessed with such ease on stage, where appearing brave and wise matters most to you.

28

Midnight headlights through the window reveal bed partners with eyes tense on each other, but the car is quick enough for them to deny what was seen.

29

William Peter Blatty doing yoga.

30

Rereading in hopes to read something different.

31

The child not allowed to go to the burial.

32

Realizing that there are many levels beyond yours.

33

Ac-unit rears jut out

windows of each story—

umbrella wish.

34

A husband’s gambling debts.

35

Flowers good to eat.

36

Palms open, legs crossed—

silence, the spawn

of subtle noises.

37

Needle-nosed pliers to turn the channel.

38

The rock that makes one stream two.

39

Praying for health

white sea crests

up the small rise.

40

Cigarettes dipped

in the smell

of black magic marker.

41

A bent cigarette

in the stubbled mouth

of the careening wino at dawn.

42

Exhausted from having to appear out.

43

Confidence to quit only when high.

44

Flattered to be liked even by the repellent.

45

Flattery to kill another’s drive.

46

Shut down by blizzard snow,

it seems as if we are seeing

the city at a time long past.

47

Whitman perfumed

for the injured soldiers

he would read to and kiss.

48

You should have been buried

with the TV, but many others

are hooked on the same one.

49

White creases of bloodlessness in the back of the red neck.

50

The daydreams of the prison guard: fishing, hunting.

51

Market sellers fake the accents matching their wares.

52

“Be sexually liberated, but still

be a good girl”: the schizoid bind

faced by contemporary women.

53

Convicts dreaming aloud.

54

A board between two step ladders.

55

The half-speak

between family

inside the home.

56

Behind perpetual liveliness

and behind the inability

to stand being around it.

57

Barely enough to pay for groceries,

and we are hit with how we need to change

our mattress every eight years?

58

Deceiving with regard to his heredity.

59

That bothersome angle to exhibit genital penetration.

60

Full-out sprint!—

it is almost painful

just to walk on crank.

61

Devoted to—loving—a city

for its amenities—ones

that you cannot afford.

62

Jail drama—clicks, beefs—

mainly to break the monotony,

manufacture novelty.

63

Nerves have us give tongue

to idioms—however out of character

for us, however crackpot.

Thirty-Three Angles on Birth

1

Born of the same stuff

as reality itself, even

a simulation is real.

2

Motel births.

3

Driving by the childhood home

to find one’s birth tree gone

can undermine the plan to ring the bell.

4

The dreams of those blind since birth.

5

As delicately as possible, trying

to remind the mother of the stillborn

that she did not even want the baby.

6

The faith into which you have been born and pressured

frames not only profound experiences in bed and forest

but also even your attempts to criticize it.

7

Even if you were born to be hanged, you could still be drowned—first.

8

Teens stroking often

to their birth films,

collapsing to the side in guilt.

9

An audible crack as the tailbone fractures in childbirth.

10

The rise of robots and our retirement from birth.

11

Is it bad, really, when sex becomes

just something to do, like sending

birthday cards to the grandkids?

12

If it is laughable to think that thinking often

on one’s last moments can make them bearable,

then the same goes for thinking often about birthing.

13

Words of sympathy used to cut:

“Such a shame your son

didn’t call on your birthday.”

14

A world of neighbors opened up by a birthday telescope.

15

Birth individuates, isolates (thus allowing

for togetherness), but death is but a shift

in individuation, a new isolation.

16

Smudging the mouth of the c-sectioned newborn

into the vagina would be best, but hangups

have us just dab it with a q-tip of maternal flora.

17

So grateful for the child that you wish was never born.

18

Your face buried in your hands

even in public—how did it look

before you were born?

19

Born with issues.

20

Those who think that repentance to the weak is a case of repentance not born from fear

of harm have forgotten about God or the Self.

21

Fossilizing the nail into the wood with fury born from it bending despite attempts to tap it in with soft control.

22

How much of our advances in knowledge

is born less from wonder than from a wickedness

in seeing people stripped of naïve beliefs?

23

Beetles born eating

their way out of mother—

quick nutrition.

24

The pliable cartilage of newborn ear.

25

Birth trees choked out by disease.

28

So that he might have something to hand the birthday boy, his wife slips a present to the father (home from work for a drink).

29

Artists mistaking being sick for giving birth.

30

Ensuring that your children will be born blind like you.

31

Courtships born from horror.

32

Love born from paucity is too needy and love born from plenitude is too— into, too in love with, itself.

33

Whether from denial, hope, a need

to birth—art production still runs

rampant in the face of collapse.

//

M. A. ISTVAN JR. is a zodiac surgeon and respected board member of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. Whereas most other zodiac surgeons are equipped to shift your sign only one position forward, Istvan can shift your sign either one position forward or—barring the unlikely circumstance that you are a menopausal Pisces with a quadruped gait—even one position back. Istvan hopes that increased awareness about zodiac surgery will help bring in the funding required for researching zodiac sign transplantation, which ideally will allow a shift to any of the twelve signs in a matter of hours (as opposed to the years it takes currently to shift just one spot). As Istvan recently revealed in an interview with Shadow Transits, he envisions a future where there will be a zodiac donor box on driver’s licenses.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Two Poems // Robert Beveridge

ASSUAGE pretty apron to hold onto is still, and rare, with steam against the rudder, fallen in a haze of ice crystals, premier league champions, fog. Do you eat dust? I eat dust. I thought the world a