Critical Mass – Nathan McCool

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now.  I may have once
been a ghost of water
able to enter and exit places without recognition,
able to touch a mouth and not leave a
taste or a mark – just
the sensation that something has been there
to calm a need.
Some days now I’m more just the spirit
of fire.
A ghost of smoke
A ghost of echoes
A ghost of ghosts
And I could truly be of the same amount
of use. My grass is overgrown.
Hasn’t been cut in weeks and I just
don’t give a damn. All my guitar strings are dead.
My Social Distortion vinyl skips on all my
favorite parts
because that’s where I’ve accidentally placed myself
again.
My fingers pressing in involuntary, pushed
by the weight of all I’ve done and failed to do.
I’m so full of everything. I’ve taken in so much
of what the world has to give, and I’ve
tried to take back so much of what life has
stolen. But sometimes I still can’t feel it.

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now. I break in
in the middle of the night and step right
into its tomb.
This crater overflows with me
and I think maybe nothing and no one
will ever be able to hold all that I am now.

let’s be strangers in new orleans – samantha lucero

next-day sore, fabled romance memories we’ll never have again hang themselves over the morgue of my shoulders. they sling there on the murderess hews of my collarbones like a noose. over the rubble of me like a shapeless dress, they cling. my sadness is a one-size fits all.

there’s a bad mystery of stitched up, prayer-words smothered & held hostage underneath the humid crucifix game of your nails. maybe we could be in love. your calloused hand, my beating throat. memories are ghosts that can physically embrace me; embrace us.

like  dirt-sweat in a ghost-tour day of that hot mouth street in New Orleans, where the grinning specter-folks wanna stay like pasted gaslight posts in booze-colored hurricane beads. where there’s oiled-up candles in the balmy night lining decatur & quivering tarot cards in a sweaty palm telling me i’m meant for greatness. hail the votives for a virgin or a saint-chief, & watch palpitations at every pop-up table. my black boots on powdered sugar all over the concrete long after sleep should’ve gently tapped, hold the the dust of cemetery reflections & the 24/7 menu of the cafe du monde.

meet me for smoke, insomnia, primordial love.

you don’t need the blonde smiling photograph of her burned onto the back of your eyelids when things go wrong for us.

i don’t need the memory of him sewn to my back like a corset scar, like an unhealed secret.

we can make our own memories now. let’s erase them.

let’s erase it all & grow old

in the sweet, warm arms of new orleans where desperate, spilling souls belong. 


[Samantha Lucero is an unseelie that has a nursery of shadows at sixredseeds.]