Seth McKelvey





Alm 24



we stand huddled in the dirt

blowing steam into our hands

trying to hear through the static

that throbs like a heartbeat in the eyes

as we play minesweeper with the dial

some of us methodical, some haphazard

but all uncertain, all in danger


every so often someone comes

along, one hurts

tries to reverse-engineer

the tuner, dismantling it all and sometimes

even rebuilding it, but rarely


but we have other radios, in various

states of disrep

-air or -ute


some playing jazz, some country,

some talk,

some gospel

-soft rock


but all peppered


meanwhile the rest of us wonder

if we caught that right, that

station identification

a call that’s only half a sign


destination’s name but hardly

an arrow pointing the way


but we hold our breath

as we scan the waves, sliding

along, one hertz

at a time





Alm 25



sunlight flares / off the spiraling braided cables

strung across towers

in catenary arcs


packed gavel suspended

over ursine sea


Nanna’s down there too, with the moon, in the wild

across the bridge, er,

the innkeeper, waits


it’s easy to forget

the view is nice,

glimmering through blood in bears’ fur, mattering


my summer

seen under sunshine


the moon means

something different:

ur’s in that famous valley where we’ve all been





Alm 26



once ago I stumbled

that made me slipped


too little friction from too much

—too much too to little—


Point X is the place where I remember

good dreams I never had


but I keep coriolising around this earth

-en basin, greased with in-


nocency, but the effect is only a seam

that mustve been ripped open once


I go, shod in bloodshed

caught in the well, escaping tangents


cold, I go gilt in no sense, heavy

in the glow, the warmth well have





Alm 27




up under

siege in this crystalline temple of topdown dis

-order order

molecules need no master


suck down another round of light


manicule volleys

in gold seen in back

-only ephemeral reflection

              of order for orders


(order for odors

and synthetic cuts are natural geometries)

no walking through these glassy photonic walls

-pure upper bound wrapped around



sneak down another road in the night


find in this fiat light hors-d’oeuvres

wave-particles the connective tissue

             - vector manacle from it to I -

a ray from flesh to aromatic herbs









Seth McKelvey teaches at Auburn University.  He co-edits S/WORD.