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

Thursday, August 31, 2017


It's cool I mean it's hot it's neat I mean it's dirty bathtub on the runway bloody feet pumping the brakes and tipping over the empty china closet that's what was back there awakened somewhat call it tomorrow the moment if it pleases you if it drops you down into a more natural tone of doubt spitting out crickets crossing the street slowly in the heat the kind that makes the top of your head itch a neurotic static like that and not like that more like the muttering of dislike under his tooth beneath his regret and right eye. 

"What would you prefer to kill me with?"
"You're putting me on the spot again."
"I have reason to believe you'll hit your mark."
"Or you."
"Or me."
"Do you imagine the same thing is taking place on the cellular level?"
"Two cracked and peeling doormats miniaturized and injected into some poor bastard's arm and wading up to their testicles through some mitochondrial jelly sent there by some administrative assistant whose name eludes me."
"Unfortunately, not enough words elude you."
"Unfortunate for you."
"Unfortunate for me. A wasted lamp wearing a head for a hat."
"Skirtless infiltrator that I am."
"Pass the stencil."
"All I have is my finger."
"You did shuffle along as you drew your line in the desert the other day."
"The other day."
"I wandered accompanied as a pest unhinged death-rolling about in a bed of twine."
"Here we go."
"You mean I mean here I go. Don't give me that here we go nonsense!"
"It's your nonsense. Have at it and flail to your cholesterol's overweaning fucking pride."
"Fucking pride. I attempted it in an alley once no twice maybe even a fifth occasion, but the emaciated thing felt like it was going to crack in half or even more invisible to the eye subdivisions. Crumbs if you will."
"I have no will. An imbalanced vat of soup scum. I remember when I was in school and had tried to eat a cup of soup my stepmother had put in my lunch. There was some mass I felt and choked it down to get it over with. That's how I've always been. Never one to spit anything out always swallow to get it over with. Not even a choking more like it's some manner of centipede propelling itself down the slimy dull red gullet. And then the waiting for the acids to simmer and burn as this mass grows demonic wire brushes abrading its way to my sphincter, but postponing its exit like mucus in the back of a nostril. A comparison that comes close would be the only one in my life I ever tried to kiss a year or two prior on the bus and our mouths failed about each other like orifices forced open beyond their capacity fissuring with the thwarted attempts at escape of our miserable parasites."

Love no drainage
from the amputated memories
our images just valves
blocked with blood clots
nurturing our darkness
chafing it under the blankets
stained with sweat and despair
coupled like conjoined roaches
brought together by a coercive faith
what cut you out from the beginning
somewhere along the way
the brittle lip of sarcasm
coalescing into beads of resentment
as the beginning stretches
across the insatiable chasm

-  Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Half-assed he looked for the fish food that should have been next to the jar empty from years of forgetting to refill the beans marbles jellybeans jolly-ranchers allergy medicine more like a sixteenth of an ass past tense he had pulled a muscle from avoiding exertion no pants fit right just to rub it in kneading the fleshy memories in his body of how often he fucked up his re-entry into any social group society of the Earth's atmosphere a turbid cloud adorning his sardonic baggage obscuring his confusion. The worst years of their lives scorched by proverbs combined with oracular ventings penetrating clouds of compact slipped discs scratched over mountains of salt rather small mountains with their faces shaved and bolted together pins using people of common interests an affinity of insecurities. 

"As a wise person once said, Make sure you leave it in park."
"Which reminds me of a quote I once heard."
"I don't want to hear it."
"How unlike you."
"You and your sarcasm can drive into a brick wall and then have your vehicle put in a car crusher."
"I wasn't being sarcastic. It struck me as uncharacteristic of you wanting to hear any quote not from your own dank cellar."
"I said I don't want to hear it."
"Your don't sounded like do."
"I'll wager that never worked on your mother."
"My father never appreciated my poor hearing."
"Until his own began to wither, eh?"
"It did work on my mother, though."

I wanted to be your book
So I could be in your hands
You push through being tired
Keeping your last light on for me
Until I see your red eyes
reading me
close me fold me
shut me down
turn out the last light
all the pushing you have done
exhaustion is the gravity of the void

"Are you dense?"
"I've put on quite a bit."
"And not in the way of knowledge."
"There has been some."
"An announcement a selfish meandering looking at the blinds and stopping her from opening them when she wants to see the lightning outside ignoring the flashes inside your sockets the madness the madness games."
"Just because it's alphabetical doesn't mean that's how I want to look for what I don't have or sit next to those who take what I thought was mine."

Repetition and the past will always be the most popular fads for going out of style like a ferris-wheel spinning off the dock into the ocean and the tide goes out. Talking to each other while applying hand-gel is singing extremely slowly to deny we are in a soap opera. Afraid of catching something while wading through this immense toilet swimming in each other's waste as fish in a tank a very dry tank putting on airs wrapped around a bulging globe of anxiety cellophaned in breathing exercises.

- Max Stoltenberg