Issue a5 · 2012



Two Poems


by Rick Marlatt





Items May Have Shifted



Midnight coffee is incredulous of men

           who believe in the safety

of an open journal.


Tonight I sit in Denver International Airport

           feeling the hours thin away into

unreachable boarding times


while cities call their children home

           and in this mobile consciousness

I am also a child.


I’m young in the fashionable way

           hipsters ride moving sidewalks

into platinum time.


Still young in the sense of a back pack’s

           allegiance to balance

maintained by trapper keepers.


The old man reads travel logs to his wife

           who crochets a quilt embroidered

with excellent swans submerged in moments.


She stitches his words into an everything song

           that cradles the movement of bodies

through desirous spinning voids.


Outside the night is an usher

           with slender meticulous hands

and the runway is talking to strangers.





Against the World



As we            are written

                                    a car door slam

           invites dog to bark


the telephone chord

           coils around neck

                       like a cobra


or desperate   tree strap

                                  raised knife drips

           with left-handed silence


shag carpet cries

           for companionship

                        each nerve ends


on a broken    syllable.

                                    Ten words against

           the world surely


include lyricism

           brake pads quitting

                        whenever pressure


is applied        I know it’s a trick.

                              Catchy         funked-up

           hip        stuff of legend


all songs inevitably

           fall apart

                        living each moment


for a beautiful way to die











Rick Marlatt holds two degrees from the University of Nebraska, as well as an MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where he served as poetry editor of The Coachella Review.  His first book, How We Fall Apart, was the winner of the 2010 Seven Circle Press poetry chapbook award.  His most recent work appears in New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Anti.  He writes poetry reviews for Coldfront Magazine and teaches English in Nebraska, where he lives with his wife and two sons.