Saturday, June 30, 2018


Notorious for putting on the kind of smile that would take down a plane of reality at a distance of up to one solar system stepping up the blood feathers were drenched and the perch was inverted without a washer to do the past week's load of dirty laundry. He took him to the window and had him look at the crowd that had dispersed. His new partner had denied there ever was a crowd. So, he shared with him what the next door neighbor had told him about the table the kids had dragged out of the house and how it only had 3 legs and one of them stood by that corner because that was their job their assigned task their reason for being a part of the little band of kids to begin with and while they stood there they thought of being outside and their pants had been too small for so long was this growing up and when whatever you were involved with didn't have enough legs to stand on you were the leg? Was that it? Hard to pay attention to what else was going on and the crowd that was alleged to have gathered to see not much of a crowd if there ever was one.

I'm repeating myself less
but he keeps listening 
to amuse me or himself
or hear it again
really repeating myself less
the words are roped
or coiled in the garage
tried to consolidate the boxes
accidentally broke the one
that holds them all together
my brain is running out 
the sides of my neck
that's where I feel the most

- Max Stoltenberg

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Unnurtured unrecognized
Spaghetti on the tree
with damaged gifts underneath
floating boats in circles
maelstroms of habit
nerdy requests swatted away
elevator never comes
prematurely closing for the night
the day's illnesses wrapped 
in leftover present paper
the present usually gets papered over and
sent to the lavatory
without a roll
so many parts to play
juggled along with melons
and bowling shoes
forgot to spray those
that bug that knocked 
at the door the other door
had to have been just shy
of 4 feet tall
broke the lock
twisting it so hard
both sides
not going anywhere

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, May 13, 2018


Listening to the sound of the air conditioner kicking on and off so frequently a part had probably failed within it just like some part had failed within the head that was listening were the senses deceiving themselves no they were usually very reliable it was just everything else. A fondness for cliffs that shrank into garbage heaps imagining a looking over the great landfill the Earth made holes in it and then tried to fill them back up and smooth them over so no one will notice until the inevitable collapse just like the head that was listening to the air conditioner fancy that conditioning the air with all that mucus flying out in the middle of a conversation plugging up ears as if underwater in the air conditioned so well so frequently sitting up in bed stretching to loosen the muscles used less to lift the chin and remind it of the longest act of drowning.

"We'll clean that up later."
"I think they are going to notice."
"Maybe or we can rely on them becoming too desensitized."
"That's the problem we're relying too much on that."
"And not ourselves is what you're zeroing in on."
"I was going to say that the only thing we can rely on about ourselves is that we're unreliable."
"It's more a matter of threat level."
"They don't bother with updates anymore. When was the last time you recall them updating us on threat levels? We just go by how much of the building is left," said Percy.
"I never knew that."
"That all the even numbered floors are gone?"
"No, that your name was Percy."
"It's not. Someone's just fucking around."
"I could do with a bit more of that. It's been years."
"You don't know what those are anymore."
"You want me to say it's been months?"
"More like years."
"But, you don't know what they are anymore."
"I don't?"
"How many days in a year?"
"I could tell you more accurately in weeks."
"I want to know in days and you don't know is the truth of it."
"For me the days fit into the weeks, but after that it's weeks and months jostling into each other trying to squeeze their corpulent asses through the doors to ride those oncoming years barrelling down the tunnel."
"I think the part of your mind that produces your metaphors has received the most blunt trauma of late."
"Of late."
"We'll clean that up later."
"Until they remind us."
"With their threats."
"Yes, with their threats."

- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, April 28, 2018


And you didn't even get to it. 


And you 


wait for the next meteor the size of a hill of toilets not a large hill maybe the size of a small building or a medium sized building just partially demolished equivalent to the size of that hill of toilets full of tremendous shits 


and you

you drove me to the airport where I thought about when I drove you to the airport and I went back to behind where the school used to be and worked on the corner of my right thumb and stare off into space and not wonder why there is more of it or less of it or remember the last time we waited for the next meteor and worked on the corner of my right thumb and noticed that the corner kept getting deeper and further away from my memory looking down on that pit we used to sit around and talk until you fell in since then working on the corner of my right thumb each scrape each dig alternating guilt and pleasure blending into a synthesis of a medium sized building partially demolished where something use to be after something before that used to be.

- Max Stoltenberg

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