Open Call 2019, Poems - David Appelbaum



Slither is one of those words

By David Appelbaum

you mix slime with


but the little garter snake
would have nothing of that


being accord and grace
over the tarmac crack


seeming like it


a neutral thing
slung like a jay
flattened by its weight


a stop-action shot


where you see motion
at its purest


as the mind recoils
into a future imaginary


a pick-up in a scene
when stills cease

to exceed any origin


and become the rod
Moses held in his hand


before God made it
a random thing




Hummingbird to the window

I’m all used up


hearing me say I’m done


meaning dry finished history

flown in from South America

distance and time
vibrate with true feeling

my own thoughts
and fingerprints
their glorious stuff


we look
(if bird eyes are frontal)
and nod words across
the thin glass pane


—can we come down
from the clouds now?

—yes, but only for a short


A line

libation cups
papier mache
on a strip of
corrugated cardboard


twelve gods
prepare to drink
to the dog
in hell


song alone calms

song alone says


dolor and bliss
sisters of one womb


his bark is powder
the halls bring
a steady reign of it


his food grows
between the two


he eats nothing
thinning thinking


a hollow below
his neck

the same as the dog
in heaven

who eats anything

bland toasts
no butter



David Appelbaum has worked in the university and in publishing, and is an author who specializes in the work of writing. His most recent books include notes on water: an aqueous phenomenology


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