Glenn Shaheen


I once thought late into the solitary night
about the variety of sexes occurring in my
city, out beyond the walls of my particular
prism, strangers and, yes, perhaps even
friends or, erm, prior lovers, but now, late
in the sun's grey draggings of dusk I think
of thefts. Some are harmless, words maybe,
some involve careful planning, a crew,
guns. It is true I have stolen and of course
so have you. It is true I am desperate to be
loved, respected, admired, etc, etc. I don't
mean to make myself look like anything
less than a hero here. The name of the book
is Death, I wanted it to be. I was told it was
in excess of what the reader may expect.
It's important to be expected. It's important
to be good. I have stolen but I have only
stolen from the truly terrible, would you have     
it any other way. I'm in charge of this
network decay, this nagging admonishment.
Sex, out there, I didn't mean to think about
it, I didn't mean to think without permission.
I think killing is quite wrong, if you want
to get serious. I think stealing is wrong.
I consider all the animals, I consider them
to the last sorrowful bite on my plate.
Can you love me yet, can we revel in theft?
I'm, let's see, I'm against Nazis. I'm
against war, my accounts all say so, the
algorithms know me best. Yes, ok, yes
I stole but it wasn't very much. America,
I live here, I profit here, I drink an
assortment of microbrews here. I think
I underreported my earnings this year.
The chorus rife with sopranos, contrabasses,
and nothing in between. We've handled
bones with our bare skin. We've eaten
flesh. The skin from each others' lips.
Inhalings of the blood cloud shivering
off us. Bacteria in a breath. This must
be the time I am finally invited onstage.




They're up, they're keeping the little
problems out. They're a variety of
windows with which we can see
into the market's innards. They're
colorful and fragile, we limit their
use. Get thee to a summary. We
want an explanation, digital narrative,
a story we don't have to think
about very long that passes
through us like a phantom in mist.
Screens salving us after days
of interminable struggle. I just
want to know where I'll be buried,
but the jury's out if there'll even
be a burial. Home just a mist that
seems it will never lift. Whoever
outlives me will make the choice,
ashes in the high rafters, audience
below gasping it in. Nomads across
America. Screens a crush of mesh,
of light, of characters looking
deeply into us, into the camera.




The soft touch,
the slow water
coating your
back. It's easy
to advocate
being humble
when you get
everything you
want. I get likes,
hearts, unfriends,
an unidentifiable
animal corpse on
the back porch.
The best artists
are the ones
everybody talks
about, everybody
retweets. The
piece of styrofoam
blowing around
the parking lot
creates its own
rhythm, you think
you're better than
random atonal
arias? I am not a
literary darling,
I'm not even a
literary nutria.
The only artist
worth discussing
is the one who
takes the best
selfies with other
artists, who can
name the top ten
Billboard hits for
whatever week.
Yes, true, yes, I
won't deny I'm a
grouchy nerd, still
afraid of getting
slammed into the
lockers by my
fellow whomever.
Poets, I thought I
was safe, a timid
paper crane amidst
the sticky hands
of toddlers. Poets,
nobody I'd rather
avoid. The little
roiling bowl of
frosting, the
calorie free cake.
Nobody even
remembers the
bones, rocks we
carry with us,
so focused on
soft folds amidst
the skin, so
focused on the skin.



When hiring Nobuhiko Obayashi to direct the 1977 horror film House, the production company, Toho, told Obayashi they were tired of losing money on narratively comprehensive films and wanted instead to lose money on something incomprehensible. It's one of the best movies you'll ever see.