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The Cool Deep

The numb heave through
the all-present tense. Even the sea
is limited by its shore. Lately, the air
lacks a certain flint in its gut.
The assembly lasted less than a minute
before it switch-backed back
into bare comment. See how what’s red
can hover. See how the nest
can stretch. What’s felt about a feeling?
Bystander, how do you stand by that?

Cold Diction

blot man out
loose land
in sky

eye flat
drift foot blind
wring the God’s wind

its breeze
twist the stars
to flake

night ice
and pressure
zero degree

Articulate Speech

Did you parade into the sun? Did you divide
your joints into a kind of eloquence? Was the plume
that feathered from your mouth made of fire or fog?
Did you or have you made the botch? Did you lead
your led metaphors ad absurdum? Did you just type
dead for did? Did you reach the meridian?
Was the show cancelled on account of language
or weather? Who or what, pressed you to stop
stop asking so many questions? I knew a word could cut
like a string but make me a bladder of darkness
into which I could curl? I did not. Alas, the space
between breath and speech doesn’t last very long.


Hyphens and Their Elimination

It’s a far cry from floor wax,
the ice blindness of the office boy.
He double chin in double time,
horse trade to hung jury.
Listen, grease pit and grease gun,
there’s no group insurance
and the law is common.

We’re afoot awhile until
dead heat becomes dead end,
pro forma to pro tem.
Goose egg to gas main,
there is no round trip.
No room for the room clerk
or his representative at large.

Post auger bellum partum mortem
it’s life buoys on the lower decks
and barbed wire at every barn dance.

Alternative Sentencing

The question is where to?
The answer blink and blackout.

The method is combinatorial
but it hardly adds up.

Here’s a pack of rules
and a notebook.

So the sour song turns
to vinegar in your throat.

Does this clean us
of our spiritual pollution?

An ocular echo
is a shadow caught in chalk,

and this is the season
for gathering darkness.

Pay attention
to the throttle board.

What of, is the question,
so we take off our clothes.

Sadly, nothing happens.
My scratchiti fails to scratch.

My one-off’s off
but gravity holds me. Great.

What if you spent your entire life
making a single map?

Mr. Nada’s on the mystery train again
painting the black books black.  


Catherine Wing’s first book of poems, Enter Invisible, was published by Sarabande Books and nominated for a 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Since then she has had poems in Best American Poetry 2010The Nation, and The New Republic.  Her second book, Gin & Bleach, came out in 2012.