Friday, March 30, 2018


He looked at her on the bed sleeping after all that yelling her talking loudly at the toilet where she had dropped her very small pen the purple one that said something it didn't or hadn't said anything it just had printing along its fuselage that had faded or been scratched away with an insistent thumbnail and the fields the fields of her aunt's house the back porch wooden and cracked teeth pleasing death and decay with their half-smiles and all this time all of it poured into clouds sinking into the cities and dissolving into yards and yards and yards of waste rolling over and turning into empty magazines sneezing and unfortunate for sores in the shape of dances long forged by other stumps he had growing out of his neck and just because he didn't watch what he ate and just because he'd be damned if he'd eat anything again he'd be damned electrocuted by the light another day brightening into the disease of exposure thinning one's point of view drying on the line tightening around the noose following your every thought sliced into smaller bits of meaning and the rest will crumble on its own.

He waited for her to move maybe a kiss on the cheek the one that wasn't too caked in gore resting face down as she tended to do in the evening before the morning of our shitting ourselves depending on how the formula finished up on either side of the greater than or less than an estimate of what was outside the room or below the bed so many legs came out in the dark and tortured the sides of your face sweaty with menus running together onto the floor but that is for another time another crack at it.

"Do you have any idea how many shorts are stacked next to the ladder?"
"What's your theory about the blinds?"
"If I had to make one up on the spot I'd go with exhibitionists and fast food diets."
"On the spot? You proposed a theory just after we moved in. Something to do with abstract art and road rage."
"Moved in? Somebody's putting quite a harshly slapped spin on being brought here against our will."
"By extended family you mean?"
"Are you referring to the shithole before this?"
"Or maybe the rat sewage silo before that?"
"They didn't even bother to fix the locks. Just drove nails into my valves."
"Extended villains with their nails and the coffins where we spend our dark nights of insomnia."
"What happened to the shorts next to the ladder?"
"If they were next to the ladder."

Frogs the harbingers of stuckness
Throw that mucus at your pallbearer
entrenched in dust 
a sanctuary for worn out counters
islands with sharp edges
the backs of chairs for the perspiring
crumpled graph paper
rejected multiverses
changing out majors
crossed out diagnoses
Ants the moving pleats of trousers
the backs of chairs for the perspiring
sharp edges with islands
graphic crumplings
stained with multiverses
thrown like mucus
at a pallbearer

- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Not that it mattered much, but the news of their deterioration has been mostly acting as if it is attempting to mimic some version or variation I am he was she still is waiting for her sister to get back with an answer on which one is more appropriate to use and steering back off of the shoulder one of the slumped ones weighted down by insecurity reproducing itself into a world of more and more and smaller and smaller compartments and yet not a wall remains left I feel the little partitions the tiny slots dropping to the floor of my gelatinous brain hitting the floor and bouncing around under the desk shoved in my head-space to collect dust tangled in there as if it is attempting to mimic some version some variation some kind of I have forgotten see how it works maybe you do and maybe they do instead of you the crowd turning about in their mass graves of order submitting online whose orders names and digits can't seem to remember past the fourth one the column that leads down into the yard underneath the weeds and in the beds of slithering insomniacs as if attempting to mimic some kind of version of the next permutation guessing at the next repetition steering back off of the shoulder that vibrating between your disks between your pages of gibberish and she sat up and gave herself another excuse not to tell him what she really thought of him and as a result her shape of things to come spluttered and dribbled out of mute animals quiet except for the slithering of life decreasing as she went to the fence and stopped to answer her phone.

"What took you so long? How does it feel to hear me say it? Where's my food man? Man? Pinched loaf of half-assery? What does it sound like? What am I going to leave out next? When? When am I going to leave? How will it depend? Did you want to hear a story about my father and his sympathizers? His trail of followers through the pipes the tubes? Out? Down? Into shopping carts with the wheel remember? Have you ever felt so much heat coming down off of such grey fucking clouds? How dry am I? How many guesses should I give you? How many chances? How many phones?"

Her hand tilted and the phone slid slightly towards the edge of her palm where the fingers began where they got together and pretended they could roll dice and solve problems collaboratively he liked that or pretended the best the most effectively to keep us showing our stuff to keep us. So much broken glass and still hanging back to see if that jar will ever hit the floor throw? throw what? the cement is coming for me and all my doubts the cement is coming for me. 

- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


I won't look at her back at the wall and the cracks in her sentences how I have kept her on the floor the second floor and the light is on all day it seems she leaves it on and rest of the neighborhood knows about our usage so what is it to you to me I won't look at her back at the orange that fell on the rug and seeing the dark specks instead of plucking them off and getting rid of them I will take them I won't look at her back and take them to see the pillar on the back patio not the one on the North side the South one not the North the West and not the West the East perhaps South and lay them there carefully making sure not to jostle their sensitive nervous systems flooded with my sweat the sweat of my hands all that twiddling has made me recall the diseases that snuck up on me every night for the past several months and time has forgotten me and good riddance to this snuck up upon doldrum infested coffin-shaped excuse for a procrastinator withholding progress from their greedy paws to fling me into their pit of figures mannequins no numbers yes outside the parentheses again at last and it rarely never does.

From "At the South East Pillar"

Couldn't tell you where they were
but they were on their knees
if they had any
before the towering support
blocked out the part of the sky
they would have dried out under
miserable specks dark and minimized
to tell the truth
speaking so unnaturally
is what it meant
stars entered into it again
as an afterthought
the stars were an afterthought
smashed into one
narrow cognition
no effort
no matter
thin chance

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


It was his least favorite thing to do to say to ask to try to point out as the car sped along the dark dirt road along the narrow side of the mountain the side of the die least likely to make any way that you can see yourself clear to put in a word for him for her or their salt crushed under the counter dispensed with along the narrow side bulging with regret and memories that overlap with torn chip bags inside out and empty haven't thrown them away keep forgetting and suppose you get there and tell him then what you've been already doing that and now he is taking the middle ground the one that keeps sinking making their asses collide into each other a folded sleepless canvas of asses.

She told me once about her nightmares had the same ones for a week at a time or several days thereabouts and she would paint her hair with meteors orange and smearing the world sitting on a rooftop each leg on a side of the family home to not feeling like much of anything what I wouldn't do to lounge with her there atop the sinking middle ground bent for emphasis the italics of what I wouldn't do the basic fundamental measurement of my existence.

"Slide closer to the door and then push it open."
"I am too busy scratching."
"Scratching what?"
"The same result."
"Petty was his middle first last name all of them it was silly to pronounce it at any speed. The only day I can recall with clarity the kind that is sharper than the highest definition is the shittiest. The one where I opened my mouth."

You don't notice
what I notice
that you haven't noticed
that you've never 
said or denied
was a big deal
hurtling towards the basement
punished down there
bumping into what 
mother what father
claimed they could afford
dripping it dripped already
and watch where you've sneaked 
around the dark center
touching what 
you don't notice
what I notice
that you haven't noticed
that you've never
said or denied

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Bending to the image
narrow desert slim chance
rusting leftovers
noxious side eye
plentiful instructions
lost in the footnotes
warped nails frustrating removal
climbing out of the escape
lifted into the trap
an appeal rotting on the floor
stepped on by avoiding shoes
she knew what to do
just waited too long
was always hoping I would get it
get it she thought
one thing only thing
she got wrong
get it she thought
hopeless fucking face
in the mirror
I always knew that 
spitting into the sink
my only connections
networking into something
to keep the bills at bay
my string of saliva
to the hole in the room
going on and on
about damned elephants
when there are holes
all over your dying 
sack of a figure
dragging this sack
bending to the image 
narrow desert slim chance

- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, January 22, 2018


I throw the ball of paper crumpled in my fist toward the ceiling toward the crotch of the sky between knees of contemplated non-existence wiped from lips that split and bleed fragments of reasons for leaving reasons for staying the stuck manifesto translated for menopausal figures in the corner launching shit across the rug despite the after effects of not smoking for so long so many hours so many days across the rug despite to spite myself and my maternal silence can she not hear me as I stare into her reflection as I drive eyes on the road as I die as I want to as I sit here bathed in red covered in green pissing yellow over most of myself my figures in the corner launching shit across the rug puzzles on the floor pieces kicked about the room mixed with hair and toenails and dead skin meaning for a greeted enemy sharing too much too little in common suppose you breach the birth suppose you say what is on your mind and find out it was never yours where did that line go wandering into the desert the one that divided us and rotted into that canyon between our thoughts. 

She looked over the top of the partition and concluded she must have gone to the bathroom in her cubicle never got around to making it in time that was always the issue when one neglected to consider sharp office supplies and their craving internal organs for the puncturing random aspects of equations she could never copy down the way she had seen her write them down in fading colors always yanking drawers open and listening to the sound of metal drowning out the joking ignorance stitched into sweaters or skirts that lay at the bottom of a smelling cubicle.

"You are a disease."
"I forget which one my parents named me after, but I don't think it got translated accurately."
"You are an illness."
"I've relied more on excusing myself and slipping outside for a meandering into the distance. Didn't realize the two halves of the world meet in a vanishing point that disappears once you get around to it."
"You are filth."
"I am flushed with embarrassment."
"You are a contagion."
"I've never been one to overestimate my influence."
"You are a waste."
"She says very little now. Her voice is like sun tea that has been forgotten on the back patio. It's what she'd been picking up on. What was missing from every photograph or couldn't be erased when a couple of dimensions happen to be so thick. That night out what made the place our favorite it was only the appetizers they had bruschetta with sauteed mushrooms and zucchini sticks. Ruined by how he deformed what she wanted to say every future moment to take place in an empty room prostrate on a dark block."

Bag without handles
devoid of seeds
the moon rises
caught in the mesh
of surreal variations
on the day
swamped by the waves
of past residue
memories pasted
together in the septic tank

- Max Stoltenberg

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Crappy buffering eyes glaze over as you stare at the line thickening and narrowing on the frozen image of the kitchen where some of it may have gotten on the dining room table with the warped leaves that can never be pushed close enough together why reminisce about her now you can only see your rotting toenails through the gap pantry chicken noodle how do you know what you're saying hasn't been ripped off from someone else who ripped it off from someone else who ripped it off the back collar of a sweater unraveling arguments nobody too many just grunt their agreement and if that wasn't enough try to the salsa on second thought slid in their somewhere between left the door open and where's the fly swatter don't try it could have sworn there was a dark mass could have sworn.

"What are you doing now?"
"I'm almost done."
"With what?"
"It doesn't matter."
"You've been almost done for half an hour now."
"It hasn't been that long."
"Touched down on an alien surface. I'm rubbing the window to get a better look."
"Now is not the time to shit I mean shift into another of your space adventures."
"You're right. It's past time to shit. I think I've come upon some abandoned village."
"Do they have a snack machine?"
"Don't be impertinent."
"Don't be presumptuous of their lack of development."
"Look who's talking."
"I've been on the other side of this door long enough for you to forget how I even look."
"I gave it my best shot."
"Just open the door."
"Wouldn't you like that?"
"Stop standing -"
"Stop sitting in the way of my movements."
"It must be frustrating to have to acknowledge other people's compositions."
"Only when they're slow and long."
"You certainly have wasted mine."
"I was going to say something, but the formulation of it crumbled apart in my head."
"Will you flush already?"
"Already he says. You haven't been listening obviously. I don't want there to be an overflowing."
"Save it for your therapist."
"You mean the corpse I stumbled over in those ruins I explored several seasons ago?"
"Seasons? When was the last time we had a season?"
"When I stumbled over the corpse that looked like the voice who asked me questions as I lay there in the dimly lit room. Now it lays there in those ruins."

How can I reply to your reply
To a request to return everything
They just weren't interested enough
Now that there are no other children
Except the ones in their ears
Watching and watching
Listening and listening
Dulled by the rainbow
Brick by brick by brick
Painted with burnt flesh
Leaking into a can
filled with ashes 

- Max Stoltenberg