nick twemlow





Remain saturated to the point of hegemony,

all these trees tinged with dropsy dystopia,

heart on my sleeve bridging its last beat

with second stanza of lost Goldberg

Variation, variation on a theme that screams

theocracy’s lungs out from the bottom rung

of civility, wherein machete lops in a stutter

of dropped frames, gnats flood the eye,

& if I hesitate to record.


As I said to my cube mate, “I’ve been to your church.

Your church sucks. But we do all this

for the same Guy, right?”


“Dog fell apart laughing at lugubrious louse

weeping whilst working the crease from

my pants. Never meta woman I didn’t

paint her portrait in splattertones.”


I’d been given to writing such lines                     such lines!

some months ago when I had given up

hope the dog down the street’d

end up bankrupt, sire of three pups by three

bitches, fuzzy dice dangling over each newborn’s

crib. That kind of life I smoke through

when I’m out of weed, wherein

the Brads accumulating like snowdrifts

in my reruns of high school

end up like that.



where my tent isnaked wandering thru

forest of dune buggiesperil washed in w/tide

people think he’stheirs the way they hide

fleece him likemantle Argonaut

stereo-care whenbut when sometimes

the sun shits in my ear

pang & desist,


& I overheard my dealer on his cell whisper

directions to my apartment, down to the extra

jiggle the doorknob requires, next thing

I’m knocking on an apartment door

I don’t recognize, waiting for an answer.

Which is code for I’m sort of an indentured

servant, but that’s the boring, obsessional side

of addiction, who isn’t afraid their partner’s

brokering bad deals with Syria or Iran?

My wife’s the exception, but even she

turns blue when all the words match up,

& she’s lately been carrying nukes in her nook,


the implication being that a turntable is still able

to reverse antiquity. You’ve seen it in board rooms

mahogany sheen to the brow of the man

putting for the company title.

“Data? I didn’t even know her,”

then some remix of the conversation over a wet lunch.


As the sun sets on the American Century,

the abstract clavicle also tenderly put to cheek

in one of many “human moments”

the last surviving member of the Donner

Party wiped constantly from the brow

of nostalgia.


But when I was a little boy, around five, I saw

my mother inside the jaws of a great white shark

& terrifically dressed she lit a flame in its belly

but the dead sea, god, is a mistake, reverse engineering

for the progress in us, minions, minnows, the sea

the salt, I’ve grown tired of not being able to exhibit

my sadness to others, the mug shots, orange

jumpsuits, the sinners hogging floor space.

One held my ankles, another pinned my wrists

to a hot plate, the third put his mouth around

my ear & told me he had “too many new ideas

& stories crowding” his head, he was crazy

for wanting to put his dick in my mouth.

I told him I had an agent unafraid of

representing Delphic Oracles, so he recites

a story of a cloned white tiger with an almost

human brain (what’s the missing ingredient?)

take control of the life of his owner

in a horrifying way, by spreading blood

from its eyes. He pled for me to give him a chance.

He also writes action stuff. I told him I’d

bite. He called my bluff.


I need to bleed the river of truth. Fascicle

for the sad inside, street team smearing

me over the drear of last night’s whiteout.

I know what I should do. I should

take off my shoe. Serenity

now, the promise crystal

meth makes with an armbar.

But I love the drugs I can get in this town.

Said meth flowering like flowers,

roadside fruit stands wink in the periphery

as I near the wall at such great speed, Las Vegas,

it could’ve been Phoenix, such insane slay of day

light. MRI bores a sonic hole in my head,

tumor’s twitched into a lake view estate fronted

by a swinging gate. A trembling leaf falls

from an apple tree, rich with shame. & someone

please remind my wife to read this when I die.

“Honey, please forgive the histrionics, but I somehow

got stapled into the wrong journal. Please

print the errata & slip it into the memorial program.

Otherwise, I’m your casus belli (I hacked

the Pentagon mainframe & typed “in bed” at the end

of each line of code (that’s just the tumor

doing its best Shari Lewis; you’d be surprised

how lonely, & thus ornery, it gets)) in case

your despair goes on hiatus & you start

preparing for each student conference like it’s war.”


Let me be clear. I am occasional.

I deliver on a promise, so if I say I will

drive a stake through your heart,

fit your coffin. You are useless, dead.

This is the true Twemlow. Whether you know

my name or not, I assure I am feeling it,

feeling Twemlow, that eternal, brandied optimism.

Trust me, when I tell you his name.

His sidekick will crush your knee.