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General Strike

What we did wrong we did
for a living:
jerk chicks for pleasure.
My dark removals ex
pedite ‘ego’ --
You chomp & are pesky.
I suggest misanthropy so deep
we’ll come out the bottom into a kind
of ethics.



Reaching the middle
we stuff our sentences (sofa)
in awkward attempt to fulfill a class position
we hope could be ours
but isn’t.
Torn into the wide road
we search for location
& find jockeying, conflict,


I am cruel but like syrup
w/ no core.
You feel hostile at the start
but that’s so bottomless.
We write
to style the present.
It’s our gift to the past,
the lost ones,
their clamor.


Tonight I saw
waves of smoke
& quiet solemn crowds on the move,
lumbering & ancient.
Something fatigued in the air.
The whole country is sore.

Excitement pursues us
from afar, afar --
the dimwitted war, its fuck face.
Trying to walk in the melody
of nothing happening
we cross the high bridge
sky shimmering
w/ tiny blond
chains --
A cloud further off,
a cloud man
fucking a cloud woman.
Tenderness in history
as the end hurtles into sight.












I follow a verb palomino.
When I stop, it vanishes. Then I come upon it,

tearing grass, swishing tail.
It trots ahead
along a path to future’s canyon.






Here, in
what the map calls
“the vast field”—

Dash the high mesa.
As plow lake light
& ice teeth grind
two move single file through slippery
clouds of grass.

When I stop, it vanishes. Then I come upon it,
tearing grass, swishing tail.
The verb palomino.
It trots ahead.

I follow the snow.
The solvent is a band of color
Across the band of yellow nature.
My body is a puppet that makes nature pulpy.
I twist my body into the meadow syrups
sky shimmering
w/ tiny blond chains.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
The patriarch sings into his porridge:
Twelve wise sperm
create weather.
Dive into the soup.

mystery of the aggregate






Under a scruff of fawn colored hair,
a wink of a girl.
We talk of our dead parents.
Sweet symmetry
is poor
& then his ghost:
Her father blessed them all
By suicide.

The nurse tried to prop her head up with a pillow but it kept drooping to one side. A tear pooled in the lower lid of her left eye. I watched it keenly, anticipating my grief. The stapled Xeroxed booklet had said that the dying may cry. My mother could no longer speak. Over the hours of the day ripples of breath slowly diminished. She began to look younger, as if her face was emerging from wreckage. Finally the body: abandoned luggage. Yet appearing strong. Language (its alien bits) had disappeared.

The alien: now in the body, then in the word. Surges and withdraws.
Our actual home retreats the moment we recognize it.
The wink girl nods. She calls it that woohoo shit.
She says, “I think of negative space as a great mass of darkness holding everything else up.”






Being a criminal is hard work.
On a good day: 12 gold teeth found in a dumpster.
I admit to being lied to
Standing in silence
As you drive away
Gun under the seat.

Slowly your car glides by
Past the pump
Street side
Where the boys hop
Nervously forward and back
The alert boy waves.

Your horizontal presence is brutal
This is your struggle
To live around the cut
Preserve the moment
Even as it takes the form of retreat.






Leaving circumstance
a place known as revenge
you make a vow:
When I come upon a strange place…
that place known to me,
everything is old.
What stands forth is precedent:
What is thy sentence then, but speechless death, that robs my tongue of native breath?

Gusts bend the eucaplytus,
stream through thin long leaves.
Huddling in the wind on top of a garbage can
You contemplate
a poet’s honor, in script.
How can I be
now, and sentenced?

The resting place is in the darkest woods.







Camille Roy

CAMILLE ROY’s most recent book is Sherwood Forest, from Futurepoem. Earlier books include The Rosy Medallions (poetry and prose, from Kelsey St Press) and Swarm (fiction, from Black Star Series). She co-edited Biting The Error: Writers Explore Narrative (CoachHouse 2005, re-issued 2010). She lives in San Francisco.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2015

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