The Dead Having Risen

Girls love me & you should

Make me an altar,

Even in peril, you peg

Me, evil—I declaw

Nursery school songs

They made for you when

As the devil

You bit the world best

By explaining how

You don’t exist,

So to Maidsville, Muskego

We head in between

Letters for Ludwig, motley

As our leftovers linger

Among unnamable sparks

I Discovered the Knive Today

Took the chicken out of the bag:
two legs, two wings, one thigh between us.
He also passed shoppers, living in the midst
of pupils-up-the-sleeve,
I mean real rabbits, dirtier than before,
who became our main water supply.
At the onset of this newest news, I heard you
sighing in a voice deliberately low, so much so
that they gaze down the valley to see, bull’s eye
of Sunday’s thickness, an unusually warm night,
abandoned on thoroughfares for these useless things.
We were damaged with disrepair,
the skin-in-sin to replace itself with paper lanterns
with shadows chasing bones of a midnight light,
swollen from prayer. I’d given myself sideburns
by then, where none had been given,
rather than listen
to one’s own heart titter in the closet, misfortune’s
stamp, an angel with wings glued loosely to his sight.
Who else will make that time capsule box,
quick as silver, pools where wild horses end?
We are in the eye of democracy a balm
to defend the mirror against—an ostrich never
buries its head, or eggs, without a fable
to tell the truth within: When Russians used
pencils, we developed pens at great cost,
and a secret nerve connects everything,
which is in us, but we require words stapled
onto syntax and grammar to draw these maps apart.
The prized rowboat with its flailing fingers
dipped and dips on shallow puddles of cheer—
If I lose the sun’s right arm, I will become
one less limb in the face of insight,
a soft artichoke across my table, my lap, my own
wingspan, melting broken bones thin enough
to flex the world against. Soon somewhere else
becomes a windowless honeycomb
manufactured with my name stitched in;
outside, your grammar gets me, gets
me so I feel myself a serial being eating
the linguistics of meat, which are similar
to abbreviated flesh stretched just enough
to initiate the compass in this beating bony chest,
never made of papier-mâché, elastic, marked
in blue polka dots that connect us along the way.

Dress Her Up, a Sun-Skirt, Some Booties, a Gun Too

My immigrant soul, bred to the sea,
once and again
thins and verticals from a cabin chimney
I develop
horizon speculations,
the boy watching with binocular distance
a small estate of flesh
with leaves and bits of grass,
unknown island, factual climate
that will never know a personal state
fair with jellies and pies
to paste ribbons and business on—

Go back as though
to a street too swollen, where a soap cake
floats, chained to the ebb
of her river columns, its banked communities
who have posted gutted flags
in rippling plaids with fingered dirt,
a bathtub, an economy
sold on the premise of cleansing,
baptismal woman drawn to water,
not the girl still
making her way with tendrils
through rooms, her tongue that tempts our raft

For Many Days We Have Been Tempest-Tossed

—for Todd Colby

Let it get nice in here tonight, at night—
Let the bowling alleys ice and let
these carnal deeds become the same
mental processes we house in strange decaying
arteries away from polite company.
A squat grey building of only thirty four stories
stands guard atop our earlier insect steeples
that guide us in composite directions,
hoping we won’t collide,
collapsing together as neighbors who do unto others,
each at once, alone. In the beginning, man came down
from a little room in search of adventures
called, “Community, Identity, Stability.”
They were perfectly normal bowls, deep
and evenly gouged, evenly dented out of sight
of the kitchen we shared for depositing
a range of collectibles ranging from good fortune,
a gigantic cockroach, video clips, and
museum trinkets that glittered when we spoke them.
Seven minutes after midnight, I already knew
something else was going to happen.
Our golden nation shuddered and mewed upon
the grass in the middle of the backyard lawn.
Vengeance bore her only daughter and sent her
in a basket on uncharted backwaters to later
go male and split the sea in half.
Resurrections were brewing, and we were at
a standstill. Wielding martinis and wearing
white Dickies became the favored afternoon pastime
until—our minds pulled away with a new and delirious
itching-turned-dance, which brought us back
to the unfashionable end of this western spiral,
but we were Blank and full of uncorrupt needs;
we were in our perfect distance, being re-birthed
at every trace of backless planets competing
for another evolution that never knew the sun
until it did, so much so that never melded into always,
and we were in all ways, all ways we could ever
inhabit and not finally exist in. We were as deeds
de-natured by habits; we were questions
building new mottos,
when I took out my key for the next to last time
and ate what breath I had already spent
on my first commodity, long since gone,
returning to a pocket unlocked before,
with this forthcoming serious infection-culled-peace.
After the band-aids, you’ll pass this on now, won’t you?







apocryphaltext Vol. 2, No. 1

Amy King is the author of I'M THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU  (BlazeVOX Books, 2007), ANTIDOTES FOR AN ALIBI  (BlazeVOX Books, 2005), and THE PEOPLE INSTRUMENTS (Pavement Saw Press, 2003). She teaches Creative Writing and English at SUNY Nassau Community College and is the editor-in-chief for the literary arts journal, MiPOesias. Please visit for more.

4 poems by amy king