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bau bae

business as usual
before anything else

string me down low

                   like a gift
                   you bring me
          to the party
and you give me away

          under the brim
          it taste like it did

          it was like a pause,
          except that it
          was happening,
          half the story

         I felt a little large
sweeping through the mess
                            like the real
          mechanical bride,
                            not the cracked
                   and unwelcome
                   explanation –

          it was a dying
          classroom – I was
          learning by leaving --








night hydro

jim beam incognito
as if sight were the only sense
and even a blind man could tell
that we were getting stank up, yall –
shall the rose bush grow
where the cherry once stood

                   and the roses all
          covered with dung and bees
          when the nicotines
no longer lay waste
                   to us all –

let’s rough the fuck out
let’s just wade
right into
the war on broken hearts

          days when you whisper
          nights when you cry

sounds like some horsemen

          all the burnt parts
          still rule inside








ask me if you want more

         starting from where
         I was turned out
          turned out to be
a bad position – I lacked
                   the leverage
          to move myself,
                   I did not have
          a fuck to give --

          sometimes a pain
                              in the ass
is just what we are looking for

                              the right knob
          for the wrong hole








space gelt FKA “skins”

my slump was a luxury
                   and I sucked it,
                                     so thick --

          save your late roses
for the walking cadavers
                   you traffic in,

          little birds telling us
          miscellaneous bird shit
                   all the live long day

                            got a lighter
                            in my pocket
          and I sure am glad
                                     to see you

there’s more kinds of love
                            in this world
                   than you can have
          with just one person








snow in the suburbs

                   the world is loaded
                            with evidence

          a currency to save
          your country money

          a handful of ancient letters
                            to break the back
of your brand new alphabet

                                     you’ll be gone
                            and I’ll be gone

                            it’s my
                   battle cry







progress demands execution


          it is not enough
                   to have some
                   great idea
and tell us all about it

          you have to shed
          a little blood
          to get a seat
          at the table

          the heart and the mouth --
giving it all you got --
you’re just getting started --

                   everybody is hoping
                            you will kill it








spectra sonic reset


                   in that city living
          partly cloudy

          electrical grit

          brokes & breakers

          dark alignment

it ain’t about the crowd,
                   it’s the sound

how people get along
          in  times like these

          adjusting to the unseen
          order of reality

          hanging out the window
                            to maximize
your portable telephone

you’d think after all this time
I’d be used to my friends --








swimming I mean not really


          plowed a dead end row
          just to say I did,

                   how cheap is I

                   I treated you bad
                   it was all I had

lyrical erotic
          of her okay

                            such cases
          have been happening
almost since the beginning

                            we get what
                                     we’re like --
                            we get it

          what it was like
is more interesting
          than what happened








the cop dilemma


          every boss has to face it
          you can’t enforce a rule
                   and not follow it

                            passing through --
                            they were here
                            this morning
                   and now they’re not --

a long and tedious middle age

                   roses are cut down
                            in the middle
                                     of life

                   did you never hear
                                     a good man
                                     talk about
                   a bad decision --

                                     sweet honey
                                     in my mouth

ain’t none of the rest of it
          interest me at all --








as one who went on foot
to the motorcycle rally


somewhere between falling apart
and being put together again

                            shadow formation

reparations for the last run
preparations for the next one

some people like to play with depression
          others love being attacked

          they were like weren’t you
          wearing a helmet
I was like you understand
          I broke my leg

          they said didn’t you
          use protection
I said you get that’s not my kid --

          it ain’t no sense
                   talking about
                            my life --








house of portable devices


          place names to help
                            us forget
                   this is nowhere --

          marine animals
          in the basement

                   I get the bus
                   all to myself









material space society


                            no crisis but
a thousand emergencies

an erotics of sourcing
                   safe in the web

the voluptuous anxiety
of exploding the wardrobe

photographing the fridge
                   to figure out
what to get at the store

boarding the frictionless
          brushwork of travel

all memory is fantasy,
          it is not here for real --








kettle rips


a sense of mal aimé
                   on the part
          of everything
          that is the case

but it will not do
          to jump the groove
                   and ignore it

every time I dropped
in for a quick one
                   I ended up
          staying all night

don’t turn me out baby
when all I want is you

                            it’s what you do
                            I do it too
                             it’s how I knew







Buck Downs

A native of Jones County Miss., BUCK DOWNS's latest book is Shftless[Harvester] (above/ground press). He lives in Washington, D.C.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2016

All Issues