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 the radical       with flowers

            there is no sugar in the sugar (only you)
                        tho it may on a wavelength
                        surprise jolly folks
            there is no feather in the gossamer (only you)
                        tho it may on any occasion
                        surpass the littoral fog
            indeed a crown is dented (only you)
                        and the fog is equally pestilent
                        as the folly of a great city

            More and more aware am I        of my body and the gestures       
                        of habitude and the gestures

            of responsibility I’ll send for        my things I’ll send for my        
                        dented things indeed the fog

            is only ever a passing thought for        someone like me I’ll never
                        grow up my fog is sugar my        fog is folly my fog is my
                        dented crown my fog is my        feather all dented yes now
                        can we send for our pestilence        it isn’t comely it isn’t even a
                        folly it’s as mercurial as        the wavelength of habitude as
                        something you can’t make with        your body as something you
                        can’t calibrate or leverage

            The front is coming really        truly this time the front is
                        coming and comely not in the        jolly way of folks in the
                        littoral space the front is         coming I’ll grow there yes there
                        I’ll grow and by watching         someone else I’ll see myself
                        and I’ll be aware of myself as         someone else which is so basic
                        and basically selfish so        don’t skip on me now you un-
                        reliable fool so don’t        make the front embarrassed
                        when you’re selfish I’m also and        you don’t get to hog your-
                        self all to yourself while I watch         I didn’t see myself and I
                        didn’t see myself like that I could hold        out not describing
                        what is desired and instead        always desiring I could
                        hold out and wait for        the littoral space to take
                        its hold it’ll happen it’s         like a massacre it’s like
                        a pestilent massacre         involving the beak involving
                        the feather involving the        distance which is why
                        the need for the littoral to        close us in to enclose us
                        be so very convincing        right now we are neither
                        enjoying ourselves nor each        other but when the space
                        holds us and it will and        holds us onto each other


                        the structure of the gesture        will be tested the very
                        good pestilence the very        fog of pestilence will be
                        good will be undeniable        it will be the most healing
                        affront upon ourselves        and each other when the
                        littoral holds us and it will        and holds us onto each other
                        and the structure breaks        and does not heal will
                        our parts be surreal again        will we have the chance
                        then to discover our parts        again our each and every



the radical        gully

                        this is my guile
                        everyone knows how to beguile

you have mentioned insouciance before
you need not even        the hammock to make

                        this is my guile
                        everyone knows how to beguile

the necessary distractions in life
you have sought the places with
other tortured souls leaving seagulls

do they protect you or do they
continue to?

continue to contact you?
there is always an epileptic photograph now
there wasn’t always an epileptic photograph then
now you have your running shoes
commotion doesn’t jerk you
off a fine example of practice       I am not gonna
live through what I lived through
again with you       



the radical        gully

They have disobeyed        In the palpable epoch
            of epileptic doe
            two sleep
            sleep-talk for ten hours

They have disobeyed        Their conversations
            to the guidelines
Their conversation        is nothing out of the ordinary
Their conversation
            conveys inherent guile

Misfortune extinct
misfortune extinct
inherently as scientific
            instinct or superstition

We live more how
            we disobey        in conversation
            than how in superstition
            the guidelines are sleeping
            while we are awake
No        here        we sleep        and sleep-talk
and the guidelines wink        awake and the
extinct beguile brief business around us



the radical         basin soul

it could be an underlying

it could be for our best interest

it could be an underlying darling

it could be just over the shoulder

it could involve evolution

it could evolve involution .

it could be a lack of company

it could be an uncordial flame

it could be a lacky unaccompanied

it could be the concept of us

it could be the lineage

mixed up or messed up

sometimes in        stinct has no fire
in fact i’ve been looking
for that kind of         product
that kind         honesty
so that the heavi        ness won’t
mix me up won        ’t mess me
up un        less a good instinct
wills it to         i’m asking
is that even possibl        e
or what would i         need to look for
because then         i fear
which is to know
fearing is knowing
because         then i fear
if         i have a system

in the most unaware consciousness
we do not think         about thinking
because we feel         about thinking


so i think         it is good         it is okay
that two wholly broken         things
should be instinct        ively honest



the radical        not for nothing

You were giving yourself a chance It wasn’t omission

You were giving yourself a chance In your channel
there the embarrassments         and the shame to be focused
for once now or not since

It couldn’t be never        in your channel the other estuaries
would channel since the focus was crucial
to chance anywhere in the channel

As an an embarrassing         estuary and a
shameful estuary         were you becoming your
estuary? Would that have         been a sentence a
beautiful sentence? I know how this ends

You are in the estuary
again except after        you return to be showered
you will be completely crucial        then you’ll be released  


Valerie Hsiung is an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, and performance artist. Two of her books—incantation inarticulate and under your face—were published in 2013 by O Balthazar Press. A recipient of the 2012 Frances Mason Harris Prize and a 2013 Mabou Mines Artist-in-Residency nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming with American Letters & Commentary, Apiary, Denver Quarterly, Mad Hatters’ Review, Moonshot, New Delta Review, PEN Poetry Series, VOLT, and elsewhere. Her first full-length album, IS, will be released in the summer of 2014.