Sous Rature


Anselm Berrigan


from “Primitive State”

The debates were complacent on the matter of widespread coexistence.

Then this dog puppet gets up in my face.

Combing over the polaroids of drug lords to get acquainted.

She thinks it’s funny to put things she finds on the floor in her mouth.

Venom and anti-venom being aspects of a costume prone to occasional reanimation.

Impressed by the substance of our debt we watched it crawl all day long among the empties.

Flagon, barium, perimeter, deep vandalism, excavation precepts, cruelty-free fallacy, the cordial affect of the tick, coloring books digesting their young, and a gefelte fish were what I brought.

Looking for that angle from which it looks good.

All the regal pre-conditions will be there.

Between the panels of an alien invasion I was told I’d be getting a free taco by the television.

Her aim was to get into the pink and grey still life and do in the jars.

In that each situation is prone to irony but so what?

The reestablishment awaiting its liquor license, focusing cross-eyed on the signs.

Nostalgia in space.

Blithe cunning came into light with illicit aplomb.

The rug must taste good, then.

They were gently arrested and put upon display.

Under the gun I have a plan.

Inside a two-dimensional colored box the terrible cordage hones in on the nukes.

Every expression of thought put forth by the candidates felt like an improper touch.

As an exhale I felt rather unanalytical, if dissociated from intuition anyhow.

Fuck your third term, moneybags.

When the armoir fails, my organic cell-things entitling no longer its viscous muting against roll your own, I build into the love and abandon your so-called future.

The mystification of being paid strikes again.

At that speed, the ball is not your friend.

I remember the Butthole Surfers covering Hurdy Gurdy Man.

In the storage locker we keep our classics of the period at bay.

I thought the whole point of technology was limiting the need to go anywhere.

Mostly having to do with my perception of non-commonality as a catwalk to break through.

In order to take part I have to cough up some dough.

This perfect stranger I’ve paid attention to for thirty years, he shouldn’t have been fired that way.

Booing at a public event is the most abject instance of self-fulfilling prophecy one can repeatedly experience, as they understand well in Philadelphia.

Because safety is a priority, “you got thirty minutes” is not a guarantee.

Enjoy Natural Male Enhancement.

The problem with writing in hip establishments is the lack of light.

Expecting a split, receiving a change.

It was a controlled towel waving, some forty thousand strong, despite the rain, that established presence.

My bell’s only recently cracked.

The arbitrary line drawing that I barely noticed doing adds to my growing fear of being self-conscious about the wrong version of me.

It feels like a problem that stems from big government.

Theirs were gut full of angles.

Total prescience for everyone: would we still use money?

Yellow plastic is my favorite color, flavor, dromedary, lock set, doghouse pillow in form of a bay window, sound of white wine mid-swill.

Early cannon fire: sharp appeal, but I misunderstood the formal principle.

Today I successfully suppressed some bad feeling.

Whatever happened to the guy who gave you the rosary beads at work because he deemed you needed them based on your personal narrative, creating the obligation to wear them all the time in front of him, Monday through Friday 9:30 – 5:30, until you showed up after a few days of this and nodded when he said you must have found someone who needed them even more?

That’s Sir Enemy to you, my20friend.

Tacky to throw the frisbee at the rear end of the tripper.

Because it’s illusory to ask if the world needs any more of something.

My dead friend, anyway, disagrees.

Once it was pointed out as a failure the redemption market opened wide.

I was exercising an earworm made from lozenges in the firmament, much to the chagrin of they who made me a fugitive.

Headless variations.

A shared scare preceding a cheap film collage ahead of a return to Tennessee with a tenuous lead over the Colts, whose quarterback fought off a staph infection to be here with us in this sequel of a bar tonight.


She believes only what she reads in fine print.

Granted, nothing much is actually worth currency….well, that’s obviously foolish but, my fellow prisoners, I mean those against whom I couldn’t agree more with the general charge, there we were, starting low, staying low.

But the melting ice sculpture of the word ECONOMY wasn’t there yet when the troops I led arrived.

Thankfully they were beyond their rejection, in which I played no small role.

Something was on, letting the head turn to mild radiation, though everything else might be aflame or, at least, considering self-immolation.

Holding back all the stuff.

The notes sounded like they might be surging from the audience.

I’m a sap for taking wooden nickels from a blue stitched bird on a cloud-parted design on a sticky pillow case that represents a variation of dignity within a domestic object whose origin foils my memory by eliding it as all things must.

The derriere of everywhere.

Ten triplets!

All it knows how to be is a hook.

Worthless little wrongs plague my entry to dreams.

The drum beat sounding back to the entry into life, my sense of my life as mine, or simply as loud.

Underlings massing between notes.

Nothing gets to be flagrant.

The point is she won’t recall the costume unless we document its wearing.

Phantom digressions, capable of arcing, or possibly slight implantings, not to be assiduous, in doubt, merely for a slake.

As a victim of his own elegance he is a model of reflection and ordinarily suspicious at once with teething pains all over his body.


He, not me, feels it closing in.

Study that face today, as it will not be apparent in such detail much longer.

I eat like shit sometimes for smile’s sake.

One night off and I suck again.

She predicted, ably, the duration each interjection of distracting material would occupy.

Feeling sappy, brush fire?

I sentence you to eternal reincarnation.

Vagabond jetty, dutiful as personnel pleasure, risible, laying down pipe or sliver.

Too many forms not to go to?

You just head butted your nude boss.

Spank the literalists; spank them as if they were children touching wet blue on your unfinished canvas.

Treason shook, as its mind perceived the opening of the field: the line outside lengthening.

The corrupt prime minister has the musculature of a man fifteen years younger.

I’ll tell you what I’m doing, but the why will take too long to explain, so just tell me something about you.

Internally I find contempt engaging, even charming.

You execute ideas, thus I fear you’ve been brutalized.

I had to get out of here for the simpering reason of a well placed mole signaling me from behind your scalp whenever you look me in the eye….but only, truly, in one eye.

My biodegradable apologies.

I reach emotional depths of self-revelation only when the soundtrack behind me is just so.

The trundle, the trundle, the druthers, the druthers.

Inside his sophistication is a munchkin.

Don’t go, but if you must, go holy.

And spurn me forever.

My only cause is all of you.

As I enter my mid-to-late thirties I feel my weakness for artificial flavor creeping back onto my tongue.

Placement and name at once.

Above Savoring in smaller letters the words Bring Happy Hour Home.

Night’s exchange of scale.

For a Hot Talk, Real People.

This bloated distortion of personality circled us, cut ups of cut ups in its briefcase, on occasional manic release.

Every speech muted, lips still quivering under the guise of force.

I can’t believe I thought it was good; I must have been distracted from its cheesiness by the global decimation.

Anon in the conclave, stamping out a brand.

I prefer the replication of a handful of experiences at semi-regular intervals.

Strident searching for a centerless lesson on seeing, or let me do it differently, be my route, my pathfinder, my monosyllabic guardian with smoldering deviations.

Puffing space.

Gold licked pollution of a sky.

How does the minimalism work for the guard stationed in its room all day?

$1 over salted slice or $3 mini bacon cheese onion ring bbq sauce burger from vending machine?

Is her seeing any different for diving into the white?

Being an aw shucks sunuvabitch gave him reference as a players’ coach, a competent klondike bar in a profession of pricks.

She detests American football, but she likes saying special teams, and she likes the hand roll the refs use to indicate off sides.

Here, just here’s vicinity, doesn’t smell faintly right.

I dig the ego of the unelectable anyone.

I remember the first claw to touch American soil.

Somehow climbing up the side of a giant fucking cliff is gonna help stop overdrafts.

Present action in plain ink, mutual understanding post-meter, the job opportunities writing about you, specific proximity amidst the general fealty and other factors.

The back up practiced feeling up the center.

Insane obstacle course, you still, thing is, don’t need that much to be so hard.

The money clip isn’t used much in poetry these days, nor the form opened for anyone to use.

The amount of escalating angry conversations taking place only in my head has declined eighty percent since the birth of our daughter.

I am not holding the table down.



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