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

Saturday, November 18, 2017


The road zigs and zags thinking about remote toothbrush policies while laying on one's side gripping the coffee table going for a ride that goes nowhere much past the spot stuck in your mind your pencil your penciled in appointment with discouragement an apprentice for the heart-puncture expert made that made that a priority for bone pain supplements for a sink a sinking feeling in the ankles how low can you go toward the commercial between episodes of depressed assignments handing in footnotes or footing the handwritten notes a small stack of coins sliding around in your night-table drawer open and shut until silent caught in a mass of wires put them in there sometime ago. 

The road zigs and zags thinking about remote nausea becoming more local and pushing up against the diaphragm a hoax a breaking of bread tissue falling into the aisle on the plane a string probably hanging down from your nose and it would suffice for another moment in one's life not even a string of snot, but a string that got stuck in your snot the rest of everything else's contempt for your existence.

"I don't think any amount contributed will make a difference."
"Has anyone come up?"
"Has anyone come down?"
"We've been here."
"In this stairwell."
"For perhaps an hour?"
"For perhaps more like a day?"
"For perhaps an hour past a day?"
"I've passed just past a day in here with you?"
"You've passed more than just that."
"I've neglected to tell you about the two procedures when I had trouble doing that."
"I overlook things."
"For worse or even worse than that."
"Your complaint went by the wayside."
"What complaint?"
"The moment I met you."
"Turn it down."
"Turn down what?"
"What you're thinking about me."

"You know I try."
"You do. I wish you would turn down the endearing shit. Gets on my nerves."

Forensics for a season
a lapsed animal's cavity
of your choice
polyvalent window dressing
to occupy the empty peel
on the floor thought it moved
as the room gets darker
can't locate anything
talk about it
amongst yourselves
with your mouths shut
as the room
fills with the insects
of your thoughts

an apprentice for the heart-puncture expert made that made that a priority for bone pain supplements for a sink a sinking feeling in the ankles how low can you go toward the commercial between episodes of depressed assignments handing in footnotes or footing the handwritten notes a small stack of coins sliding around in your night-table drawer open and shut until silent caught in a mass of wires put them in there sometime ago. 

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Needling me needling you
Bridled conversations
lost on capsized pantries
weevils in the cereal
nonsense between your punctuation
depressing expectations
fan doesn't work
stop flicking the fucking switch
sure, don't listen to me
when have you ever started?
there's a pallbearer
an undertaker for your grandmother's
hand more purple splotches
like thin islands 
above dormant vents
things sentences unfinished
no one stops me 
no one stops me

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Inside an eyeglass case the coffin for the day dark with diseases and tripping over cadavers honey on genitals mixed with wasted time staring at images of curves sliced into many moments lost an ass of our times making hollow promises and that is what makes them so inviting until the shit down below has made its way up to the third floor we are moving into the attic surrounded by bad ideas discarded and less uneventful passages that provided friction over more sensitive patches wired for silence hushed by driving into the sunlight when you and your car have truly confirmed being under a magnifying glass.

She said, "He came."
The other she said, "I didn't want to know that."
She said, "Crashing down."
The other she said, "And you were just going to keep this to yourself?"
She said, "Until you asked that question."
The other she said, "I think what you mean is the question you asked yourself."
She said, "Isn't this supposed to be about what I say it means to me?"
The other she said, "You dreamed about going to the desert because you went to the desert."
She said, "It was a swamp."
The other she said, "I thought it was a desert."
She said, "Then it dries out and becomes a desert."
The other she said, "Everything in your life dries out."
She said, "I mean it was a desert, but it still looked swamp-like. I don't know what I mean."

Time for picking up the backyard
what the dog left behind
the birds, the bugs 
and their shit
like out of place punctuation
not so out of place
hemming and neglecting
a life half-done
almost completely over
much more to go
balloon air escaping
much slower than expected
obligatory speech
the thoughts in your head
leaking out until 
the skull and the grave
catch up with each other

- Max Stoltenberg