6.08 / July 2011

Two Poems


listen to this poem

i had a system for drawing maps of rome:
all the roads led there & i roamed them

smearing concentric routes across
like the petals of an absurdly placed lotus

i would like to fold myself
in the dove wings of myself

in the dub gestures my double makes:
i love myself

though i have no chin & neither does my family
or genus: not even a genius

of yester-then could edit this profile
into shapes a maiden would stop & sniff


i was listening to you yesterday

is a compliment
my cries over spilt milk were overwrought

crashed across tracts like an annulment
of an avalanche. we suspects

suspected a nether-home
below the accidental froth;

the antecedent ones drew lots
of maps of an outlet on the outlet itself


a flashbulb is nothing like a bulb
this tendril of earths nothing like afire & when

& if yourself touching
dismembers your honorary

face you better
make like the alamo & remember it


listen to this poem

i spend roughly a fifth of the timebeing
being miraculous

a sometime performer
whose broadways narrow

i had a title role in the commonplace
as the one weighing hearts against feathers

i bloody the gavilan
just so, here is this midcentury

midwestern mild mannered shame,
a kid points at you and says god

in the radical turnaround
kid scratching his name

with a needle into the wax cast
the deejay lord places you on your

unsound track
thought you were lightly, thought you were a descant

well the turntables have turned,
a kid points at you and says dog

the hegemonys quills are scattered
like a blown dandelion

weighs gaiety against the common cold
& weighs nothing

against nothingness
& finds the scales tip,

theres the dustjacket & its downy lint
theres narcissus limp blowing himself

apart, buries his cloneliness
in the clay, in the clouds, in

the future-pertinent tense
reeds arcing dumbly but only partly mutely

the motley temps romancing
is making your heartache

lessen, replacement bulbs preen like future leaders
here are the fulltime mystics

they are crossing their eyes,
dotting their jays, here they are

drawing crosses on their whys & cays

Brian Laidlaw is a poet and folksinger from Northern California, currently finishing an MFA in poetry at the University of Minnesota and teaching songwriting at McNally Smith College of Music. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in New American Writing, VOLT, The Iowa Review, American Songwriter Magazine, and elsewhere. News, tour dates, and contact information are available at www.brianlaidlaw.com.