Three Poems by Michael J. Newkirk with art by Keenan Dailey

Keenan Dailey (c) 2017


a pantoum variant

wrangled into Faraday’s cage with threadless screws
besieged by ghouls who must be attenuated
a wreath that does not bend the rules
because recognition invites validation.

contents under pressure, breath poised, tentative
to fess up, as if this is the only way
the damn thing will work. Feed the package through a sieve,
yet the message arrives unscathed.

and if his skin is like ink, an illumed shadow,
he will be consumed on a page, dowry or sold
but will run to the edges if it rains in a bowl,
in which he is already drowning. None think, though,

with tip slipped in the cushion of a diner booth,
to ask him if his narrative is his own
spectacle to some, but to many, a recluse
a fiduciary “we’ll take it from here,” tone.

deemed evidence, not of death without presets,
but that lull drip genocide is less uncouth:
wipes the corners of its mouth with a serviette
instead of its hairy knuckles, drooling.



the sun comes up way too soon around here

our eyes, dark concentric galaxies
dried like clay chards from hustling tearlessly
coronal mass ejection,
not a bottle hitting the street,
just some other young Sadhu souls who wanted to test this.
one puff of his chest and the rest is
a self-preserving blur arrested to fill my private prison
but when i strained I could make out an object i had seen before.


payslip slipstream
streamline line-dance
dance-off offal
alone oneness

essence centurion
ion disc
disciple plenary
aryan antsy

systemic microphallic
icy cyan, ide,
i’d tell you but would have to –k
spea-k where precedent cowers.

errs does the narrative that
attends its flask of ink with might.

Michael J. Newkirk is a professional editor from North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.