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Two Poems and Four Sonnets

            —for Harryette Mullen and John Wieners

heirloom hairline sugar
lips what’s up gas lit
you’re holding the match
dirty mattress book rhythms

deep cuts deep coot swamp
diver give it suture “get right
with Godzilla” because she
wants giblets and goblins

ghost of my femur such
a fever holding on tight
to these lashes lachrymose
lust if you must

I’m moving like
bootstrappin’ molasses back
in machine time churning
out administrative eros

using my future
growing it like a pearl
or buffalo a rumor
a deer a seer urchin

sibyl salt water
messenger getting
to bottom of soaked
the sea is renewal

the DNA stew is cruel
one allele two allele
to half sashay
pockets full of ​​neuroses

Cassius Cassius
we’re in butterfly time
vibrating all the way
back to the moon womb

It’s sad hour at the messiah’s
strip club tender vitals
chicken wiring a solution
to our escape problem.



Open the back door for the felines to sniff
                            the morning breeze

feed them from the dishes        
        of immortality

analyze my father’s heart (from a distance)

make and drink elixir made of good earth
        and warmth from my favorite star
        be relieved the fault did not break big overnight
        sniff the morning breeze
        ponder when Kate will wake
     kiss Kate goodbye

marvel at myriad of birds (black crowned night heron,
                       snowy egret, diving brown pelicans etc.) gathered at 
        tidal lagoon
   keep an eye out for the bat ray
bewitch academic bureaucracy
from country to cuntry
   be on the lookout for blood

   pretend I’m a crow


            —for Ted Berrigan

1.       dear Ted, hello. It is 5:15 a.m.
These horses are all up in my
hippocampus (in a canter), or
could it be another sea
monster feeding on deep
brain limbic loop juice:
Judas Iscariot spilling salt
into a black hole swallowing
the story of its birth,
ours too because we
are wherever light is
(or isn’t) even if only
eight minutes and
twenty seconds away.

2.       dear Ted, hello. It is 6:00 a.m.
I’m reading about an antimatter
experiment in the world’s largest
particle accelerator, oh, they said
the anti-hydrogen atoms drifted
down like maple leaves
in October. And how beautiful
I thought they annihilate so
harmlessly in the detectors.
I count gratitudes with
coffee. No rockets fell on
me or loved ones while we
slept. Everyone’s bins got
emptied this morning.

3.       dear ted hello today I
learned about the language
of internal vibration I can no
longer do child’s pose and
not think of children under
colossal debris of their
homes mosques hospitals if
one pays for bread with
one’s life who eats
the word origin circulates
my nervous system
flares base pairs native
soils exile bleed out
exhale into the sea.

4.       dear Ted, hello, I don’t know the time,
only that it’s a rainy December
Wednesday, and the fig and persimmon
trees next door delight me. Leaves
leave fruits behind. Unlike the figs
pouring over our fence, we will
never reach those orange hallelujahs.
Unless we ask, but we won’t.
What does it mean to have one’s
familial history tied to trees? For
example, groves of ancient
olives. To see them ripped from
the earth before one’s eyes—I do
not know how to end this.

Tiff Dressen’s latest book is Of Mineral (Nightboat). Songs From the Astral Bestiary (Lyric&) is their first full-length collection of poetry. They enjoy spending time with their felines chasing wildflowers and outdoor adventuring with their partner. They are currently very focused on the poetry of Ted Berrigan.