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                                                                (Issue #1: July 2012)

Millbrook | Ryan Murphy

                    “The sun rose, having no alternative, on the nothing new”

The gray sun of March
Falls like an ash
Into evening.

The prince
Of every small town.
Everything now distinct
In its outlines.

Not the cure
But what ails it.


We live no longer
In a tense.

The grass grows
A branch breaks

And the you and I
A bough.

This is not a feature film.


Trouble breathing
This is the fall
I was warned of
This is the fail
-ing I was warned of.

Lay in the lights
of the library night,
Love only that
Which is far from you.

Ativan and a fox
In the streets, the slow decline,
Giving up or is it in?

The night I mistook “thunder”
For “tender.”


If you think of it
One day, perhaps not soon,
Not too soon,
Pull down The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara
(University of California Press)
And start at the bottom
Of page 30.

No, the sun is out
After the thunderstorm,
The bees trapped between
The window and the screen,
And the flowers, fleshy
And damp blown
From the Tulip tree.

No one writes back.
Or they do it is too late,
No one listening any more.

Go down gunning.


The girl’s school is coming down
One way or another.
(The grounds littered with small paper horses.)

Please don’t forget that I
Am a person too.

It’s too late,
I know—

One closes like a fist.

We whisper through knuckles.
The tenacious despair of anxiety.


They said two years for arson
And return a hero.

And there are some songs
You will never hear me sing.

Hope is the last obstacle to happiness.


I will climb in your mouth
With a horseshoe

Let the wood warp.
Let the lawn run rampant,

The apple tree fall.
In time
The wind will fix it all.


Adjacent to the rain
Falling sideways.

There is no future
You anticipated.
(And thus a shadow of relief.)

The crows have returned.


This is ghastly:
The leaves change
And I change.

Chasing ghosts is white sheets.
The screen is torn.


Don’t confuse compassion
With love.

Don’t confuse love
With love.

What is broken is beyond repair.

The wish to be mildly astonished.


I would
Burn it all down.

With Scotchgaurd
And a lighter

In the season of fauns.
And if I smell like a wet dog,

Its because I am a wet dog.

I wane for your return.


The reservoir froze over
For everything you think
You’ve lost

There is more to lose.

That having grown past
Is too hard to reach
And that which cannot be anticipated


There is snow in the throat of the wind.
Happiness is its own small death,

And I kneel on your feet:
Something nailed down.

What but the pornography
Of stars?
A gutter-grief?


The knees on your chest
Are a prayer
Memory is the grieving
I have scrubbed every surface.

Each start repeated
From the same empty vowel
Regardless of the weather
The water runs underground.


The light in the trees
Is frozen
With rain

I’ve believed a hundred
Different things
Not one of which was true.
The light in the trees
Is foreign.


Despairer, I have felt
Worse. The moon
Is always dead.

But what is a year?

The low clouds of spring


There is no belated only
Effort by which nothing
Is made better
Only more itself.

There is a hole
The world rushes through.


I am a machine
Of bitter history.

I am worried I will lose
My teeth.

The sky is pink.
No, the sky is simply dirty.

Having touched wires
Beneath the skin.

We call it Beatrice.

To have grown more opaque.
To have grown more transparent.
Simply a question of weather.

I painted the floor of my bedroom blue
To remind myself of you.


This rain could offend no one.
I have had enough company.
Let me forget and be forgotten.

It is too hard to be looked at now.
My heart hurts
Where I slept on it.


I fear most
For my medications—
O perpetual ebb.
We must go out again
As ghosts to reclaim
Our shadows.


Acknowledgment: An excerpt of this work first appeared in 6x6.

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