from Nylund (the Sarcographer)

Chapter 1
I’m a lug

What else could I be as I walked down the street but a sarcographer of raining. I had to build a cask around it, built like itself. Tell me, where is Beauty Bread? goes the gag question. Save it for the Joy Page; I get it all the time. This time I did almost no hearing as I watched the puddles brim oddly like clavicles on the splayed street. The kits and cats waggled non-spayed pudenda. I was all wet. I bent like a spout and circled the building. Last week the cat burglar hid the diamonds in plain sight, enlacing the wrought iron railing. I read it in Crook Parade. Last month they hid the money in the cake. Now the evening is grinning like a combination lock. Now a stranger steps away from the stand, the green felt chair stumped down the glistery seement stair on the magazine face well, well, I was thinking of you nylons in the open window getting wet. The four legs kick one way like fangirls or a stutterframed weathercock. Fine rain we’re having. You don’t feel that way about it when it’s your job. You don’t even see the legs anymore just the gridded polymers hot from the mold. They got two densities throwing light on the damp interior. The blooming grey bank of the couch. If there’s another world war just c’mon over with your bank where the hyssop grows. Giggling and combing each other’s hair till the day. Look you got black roots, negligee, a cigarette hanging from your mouth like a streetsign slumped on its post and pointing wanly at the gravel shoulder. Your skin will be grey in the time lapse of smokophilia but now it’s beach-weed yellow, your hair white like a rich baby’s. There’s a margin of aristocracy where your hair and shoulders meet. C’mon tumble down the ladder, baby. Double up in the craft I’ve converted from house to boat.

It mopes. It doesn’t like it’s job as a coffin.

But you knocked me out, heiress. Rope a dope.

We wanted to get rich by writing one-liners for the joke page in Reader’s Digest you read when the school nurse took you to County to get your tetanus. Laff Parade. Nothing more natural than the way that ripped can bit your ankle. Or the beahavior mags with Goofus and Gallant strutting down the street in matching cornball shirts. We could do that. If only we could twin our behavior to oppositely arrive.

One of them turned into a store.

By which I mean: twin of mine. The green light streaming off the tackle. The pinstripe of the buttery lines. Paw off on a drunk. The drunk tank like a houseboat. We could go and bid him out or we could tow the line. You could get it for a kiss and a pull off the whiskey beetle. Nobody bleeved we were twins. Later our faces were red, both in the same way, and nobody could forget it.

Your skinned knee.

The table cloth straight as a diagram.

Sit on the floor, dogs.

No not there on the good linoleum.

I’m wet to my cuffs. I’m feeling my grommets. I’m feeling my age today. My wingtips can’t breathe in all this moisture. I’m feeling the black ribs of the lamppost where I grubbed and felt her up. I’m feeling the toooth of the lancet where the stitch went in, last week. Then the tight band around it then the trouser loosed over the leg. Striped like a road like a streak of gelding going south. Flood down the leg and into the other lappings that tide us all into destination. It’s relative, can’t be helped. I’m feeling the grain where I grubbed the mast and the mess where I embarrassed the masthead.


Chapter 10
Ear Piece, Hair Piece, Cigar Box


Two white cords drift off to corpus white foam, driftwood elaborately along the shoreline. A colossus of stars wadded up on the sky, a colloquy of dazzlers blind to each other’s blind. We’re blind as the specks on the cheap office ceiling. A duck, collapsing. A bridge collapsed in the convoy of shoes. Two hands lock at the thumb; a bird shunts off. A hand gathers out of the crotched sky and probes with an index finger the shallow disk. A bell goes off, a vibration, the vibration of the hammer hitting the roof. She hit the roof. The disk spins and prisms. The digital answer jumps to its feet and dives head first out the window. Septimus. Septicaema. We were so close that when I got an infection in my foot they used the styptic pencil on him. Sarcographic development: telepathic surgery. This body swaddled in neoprene and dunked into the water around the coral reef. This body waiting at the ready in the gleaming hosptical suite that doubles as heaven in the next scene. A caravan of residents winding through, coats made of bedsheets. The narrowness of tropical fish: needlenoze. Razor fin. Their decorated rows of teeth they can drop to the ground like the panties of heiresses in the penthouse suite. The ground is covered with feathers. Played in reverse, they array themselves in showers in the air. Zeus here disguised as golden hair.


Zeus here designed as golden hair. A wax clad easter egg in easter ed. A dividing district. How it is dividing into units and doubling in force. The yolk exerts itself outwards: becomes a gold egg. Parthenogenesis. It fits in the peasant pedestal like a typographical error but keeps being there each time she peers into the room. A tower room a loft room a chest into which one has been chained a veronica of smoke a broidered cape a lanyard of motives and motivations. She motivates like smoke across the flagstone courtyard, over her head a cape. We gathered at the seminary for a family portrait, all the priests carefully sequestered inside. Sidestepping over the groomed hills and long, blandish lanes, trying to find an angle or a vantage point. We walked all the coifed way around. We abandoned the project.


I dreamed I Saw the Seneca Review in Gold an Indian at the larder or out the lead pane he had a shawl wrapped around him a 500 ct. luxury bedsheet, he traced the lead pane with a finger absently like a woman like he was inside and I out. He appeared without motivation wandering like a fox crossways over the fenced yard and unfenced hills studying the water pump the wheelbarrow the truck’s grill which in this scene are rendered in blacks and green with a slick moon slightly parted a sick and memorable fancy.


Cigarillo is right if I could climb that Mt. Madre where the brown hair turns and turn back and allows itself to be secured with pins and bows. Around the crown are ringlets around the temples are wings around the name of the neck unimaginable is a cataract is power is the dam which fires the casinos and dry cleaners and day clinics where the kids slump next to the parents on plastic chairs. They have the waiting room set up like a classroom with rows and rows of old and young and very old and very young and too many middle aged people for this kind of day sitting fivewide and eight deep in the kiddie chairs held up by the straining zippers on their too tight coats. Here is hair: thick mustaches and lovely fat waves that dip back and away; braids; blond hair declaring blackness at the roots; sallow girls whose hair and skin and disdain seem all made of the same materials like gold thinned with milk. A beaten egg. In the rows facing forward. Nothing is before them. Above them, Steve McQueen demonstrates the carchase. He leads by example.

Joyelle McSweeney's second book, The Commandrine and Other Poems, was released last Fall from Fence Books. She teaches at the University of Alabama and writes regular reviews for the Constant Critic. She recently co-founded Action Books, a new poetry and translation press. Her work also appears in Tarpaulin Sky V3n2.


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