Justin Dodd


In this version, I have learned the taking of foods again.
It has become more difficult to sleep. 10 mg. 20 mg. 30 mg.
Still, I'm not removed. Still, the fog machine is running.
                           This is for effect.

To the south, elms crack a dead red. I'm green-eyed.
I love you with blame & a hexed heart.
I prop thirteen books over my face but can still breath
through the gutters. To sleep is to erase missing you.
                           I'm not trying very hard.



      discover half the city missing; do not mind;
      haven't visited the tobacconist today;
      will go quietly; will finish that drink; will never cast aspersions such as "mattress back" or "real man";
      have tendencies; minister in the waste places; should be there in about fifteen minutes, really;
      keep a safe distance from the sky; keep it like a secret;
      never cut in line; never talk about the year of the scalpel;
      like it that way;
      collude with Autumn to overthrow kingdoms, principalities, powers, nation-states, city-states: fire in the agora, fire in the trees—all around music—bending breeze;
      think often;
      easily dissuaded from unity, meaning unlike a Greek atom, meaning whore; will not be doing that again, thanks;
      count miles, men, labors to love; lengths to go to;
      bed down in evening's haranguing heat; dream the dream of brothers & rumors of rumors; fade as a filthy rag, or a leaf would;
      troop in serried ranks; can only kill one at a time; dress wounds intending scars; nurse a grudge, a want, a man back to health's harm;
      build a building that will ruin, ease into decay as a body would into a hot bath— steamed mirrors— luxury that is without season— Roman luxury— the marble & libation of it— the sacrifice & fucking of it—;
      build a fire, a reputation;
      admit to flamboyant camouflage;
      drive home in a blood-heaved fog; drive home with headlamps off; drive home points; depart; have a barbed heart, catch what can;
      pass on the left; dress to the left;
      enjoy the piled perfection of combined medications; enjoy when legs grow numb, when arms grow numb, when hands shake, when the amphetamines graffiti miniature slashes into stomach walls;
      eschew the need for lights, coats, antibiotics, boys;
      pretend not to;
      do not forgive;
      follow the steady stream of gulls that pattern the sky;
      know you are terrifying;
      know you are me.






Both of these poems stem from my ongoing struggle with manic depression and insomnia. Of particular inspiration for "Without Subject" was a photograph by Holly Wright that depicts a woman with the word "you" written on her forehead.