Table of Contents



Nicholas Alti



we have fun      don't we?           we are more scared than ever     huh?     us gloomy waning folk
what will it be? what was it already?                                 a cartoonish cotton-candy blue volcano
emerging from the microwave darkness of the universe                      belching millions of cold chrome warheads    from behind the Morningstar?    from Nevada deserts?     should we look?          

a world enamored & soon enough ruined          a universe of loneliness besides rumors of particles

& you too can make   the brain    a wishing star      thrashing   thrashing   violently enticing ruin

we were    carbon carnations            the vellum we didn't mind          minding it, we've woven us       

let us study that nothing    do you see     there      right there        a shiver of     glimmer?      there

it isn't supposed       to work                      the squirm of cleft Earth          let's look at that void     

this time, this time my kingdom comebut where is           everybody?

our world is not          unkind     but     my god          what it gives        & gives
                                                                    is taken         & took                      

is that disparate                      are we together when we try              an axiom shift
when i cup with my lips a little star                      & you with your mouth spit out

                                                   my knowledge of orbit is a way i pretend martyrdom
to whirl childlike             until everything              for a joyful    intoxicated moment       blurs

we would be better gods      we would ravage nothing    our kings would become smithereens

one magical trick       to disappear           is to turn away from you        everything else

a moonbeam may mean         help me          or leave us              as much as you can spare

or this light   is not           weak, always weak      
                                                                                  i was so strong          against myself

when we were hopeful      ochre rose through us     when we were patient we were rust

when i am good     weeds weave around my knees     when i am good i am molecular gardenia

rich on moonshine       on the moonlight we oozed from            our own embers are excellent
& when inhaled           our heartbeats are         constellations           The  Long Ago  Nows

sometimes i sing    to empty my lungs        sometimes i dance       to break apart my own bones

the missiles     rockets    warheads      like pigeons     warbling      seeking     transient    in transit

everything is weaponized           when you need it most           our bodies have tendencies

which tend to end        or, if you are fortunate, phantasm      our ghosts guide up our eyes

wanting us to see a miraculous feat      of incomprehensible magic         this time      this time






i am thrilled to
hold my breath
for you                for you to
                             pass me by
& i                     
                             Dear human,
All of this                        yours



in an effort         to be open           i've pinned my           ribcage
like         butterfly         in it             a triptych         first we have
a     densely forested       planet                   being            inflated
then an          apocalypse of   the dead        rising        from hell
seeking out            fresh       blood &        old              colleagues
at the end          are      coordinates         to my             embrace 



alms, my garden is dry dirt
it has always been dry dirt            i've never planted a garden

what if the flowers decide
they don't want my water             that being dirt was fine

i recall trace alterations
inverse metamorphoses                i get it, getting worse



our new          favorite         ghosts
are pressed          or poured     in       throats
& lungs       fogged         & brain         fogged
isn't      it          nice       to        just          chill
but                                                       it's scary
        it's too nice                   
this                       tiny         haunt        of   joy
so                     i have                               taken
the   liberty      to have                           taken               everything 



we are coming to know
          the absurd extent
of human hurt

           i've been waiting
on a throne of electricity
           & iron spires

hoping you wouldn't
                  find me here

a blessing of misfortunes:
i've learned the secrets of
            existing wounded

i hope you don't ask me for
the ingredients

the recipe in itself
is a form of cruelty

i've long wanted
to ease another's pain 

i only hope that you know
i never wanted it
   to come to this

i have always wanted
                better ways
                to be better



you might worry
to have neared me

don't worry
you haven't                        i saw you coming
                                             i moved over here



sometimes                            when
a lot                         of           wires
entangle                  your      head
wavelengths  of   sparks   ripple
instead of                 unwrapping
i will                       say             hey
what an       amazing          head                    
our      alive               malfunction



one awful day        you will awake punished
for no reason         other than you've existed

what i tend to do on these awful days
is shake, is clench, is tell myself its okay

its okay                              one day soon

you'll go back                             to sleep

& dream         again                 of a lake

& did you know       the next time you'resad

    (& i mean sad sad, much like like like)

you'll dream             of that very special lake

you'll find a wine bottle floating above tadpoles 
& tied to the wine bottle with gold & with twine
an empty bottle with a weathered note that says

These are both                     for you    

(its your fav wine, btw, & this your fav font)           

Please enjoy                   this dream



here is my wide-open mouth
i'll breathe with you tonight
together our separate needing
can be pollen in drifting wind



you're worrying
that when it all ends
it's simply darkness
what kind of light is your preference?

i've got a shed full
of construction materials & tools

i've got too much time to think

i could go for some handywork

we can build
whatever heaven you'd like



the clouds laze—ephemera
the stars ooze—saturnalias

everything seems about right

everything seems   ok    don't
you laugh     it is    silly     but 

i                  think i love it here    






I was in a real rutt with being creative because I wasn't quite sure what I understood enough to create. What am I interested in? What do I know? What am I even thinking about? I was like, well shit, I'm not sure. I don't really know much. So I figured, well whatever, I'll find things that I know I won't even be able to understand and I can see what that experience is like, to submerge myself in a space of non-comprehension. I eventually stumbled onto this masterlist of Paradoxes on Wikipedia and got so fascinated by all of them. I didn't really know what any of this shit was talking about--but that was the fun in it. Spend hours reading about something I already know I won't understand, no pressure, right, and then just try to exist with that and spin it through the old Poetry Rotary in the brain or whatever and see what comes about. I did this for about 30 paradoxes and learned a lot of cool things I promptly forgot. Awesome experience.

I should also say that during the reading and writing about paradoxes my obsession with Panos Kosmatos's Beyond the Black Rainbow was at an all time high, and I'm very enamored by the storytelling and worldbuilding and everything that occurs in that movie. I think it helped me understand poetry, or at least my understanding of poetry.