Saturday, May 13, 2017


Distractions and unanswered questions
Asking crushed under the chin
of the lowering face of anger
Mesmerized by pupils
disengaged and slamming fists
upon reveries and investigating
Curiosity deflated 
bones to branches
muscles to weeds
the backyard of forgetfulness

She went to the sink as her phone rang and rang towards no response. Sneezing and peeing a little. Something fell down the stairs. She imagined what it might be as a voice mail kicked in. Not available after the beep a box of buttons that said something about providing everyone in the office with instructions involving fucking themselves. Applying pressure with her thumb looking at the drain and wondering about a world down there bereft of light not much darker than her own. Pushing apart a couple of slats in the window blinds coming back to this seeing the children being lined up in the desert under a sky filled with hot air balloons fragile substitutes for the spots on the glass.

"Are you done with that?"
"I've been done with it.
"Then why do you still have it?"
"It's got it's teeth in my wrist."
"So much for being conscious."
"Eyes open eyes closed it's a chore."
"You're just saying that."
"You said it."
"I just did."
"We are being annoying."
"What else is new?"
"What is banging around in the dryer?"
"Whatever was banging around before it was put in the wash."
"Too true."
"Too true is whatever we deny today that seeps back in tomorrow."
"Did you bury the cat?"
"Didn't find much left of it."
"There you go procrastinating again."
"Me? I'm the one remember who found a whisker."
"That's just an expression."
"Paw. I meant paw. Remember when I got dragged by the neighbors and their shopping cart?"
"They weren't neighbors. You said you didn't recognize any of them."
"I didn't, but I did say my memory could be on the fritz again."
"On the fritz."
"And I mentioned when they were done with me and dumped me in that storm drain that I spotted the paw? And the following day I asked you about the funeral? Do you recall what you said?"
"Something about more blood in my stools I imagine."
"There was that, yes, but I asked when we were going to dispose of bury the paw and you said you needed several weeks to work on a eulogy. It's been a tad beyond the several weeks."
"On the fritz, eh?"
"On the fritz."
"Are you done with that?"

- Max Stoltenberg

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Pencil prick
bleeding inferno and what not
development imposition
a churning in the chest
right behind the nipple
the right nipple
wrong body
water pneumonia
testing for belonging
in the stuck position
here to stay
the bacon is off
something in the room
is dead
has been for a while
days weeks
nights of in and out 
of holes
falling back pulling muscles
bleeding inferno and what not
is shit out
into existence
to play
the role of an interruption

- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Do you think it's because of what you said what you said was the cause and it all stopped right there came to a halt nothing more to trickle out of the spigot hammered into the back of the head just above the where they asked if you wanted it cut square just above the horizon where disasters emerged from where promises delay until they are forgotten remember? what the fuck do you know? get out the chicken the pieces are small but who liked who wanted them that way

that way 

It's what it said on the phone and he messed with her ruined conversations drove them into walls cornered the expressions until they didn't want to turn around why should they? why should they take the stairs down and leave the roof alone when it could be the reason for faces that stare out at the windows darkened darkening the questions out of the dead eyes burned with endings changed for a lie where everyone lives and run into each other bump into each other step over each other interrupt each other punctuate the moments that got away from them hurt each other cut each other drop each other from ledges into the previously rewound.

Unnecessary turnarounds
reasoning drowned out
by screeching tires
looping into insomnia
dreams nightmares
stuck in classrooms
on the way to classrooms
unnecessary turnarounds
another test mentioned
in the same insecure breath
with being with someone
gone debated aging
and climbing out of dumpsters
lifted over your head 
dangling like aloneness
at the top of the ferris-wheel
seeking justice
as the buried
before and after the rotting
denies between blinks

- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Vestigial forearms crossed over a lap draped in inadequacy spending the rest of a life making a slowly deflating brain more comfortable before the top of his thoughts collapse and stick to the bottom and step away from that back wall you can let it fall in or out we could make a bet or see who else might be interested in making a bet kicking into a pool maybe if they think it will fall in or fall out kicking into a pool? what is the matter with you? I'll just keep my hand on this wall until one of the roaches crawls over it and tickles me in my sleep sleep? you're telling me you sleep standing up? a little bit a little bit? don't nod off for long triangles triangles? scalene mostly never an equilateral an isosceles once in a while scarcely clear abundantly opaque stop muttering I am not muttering that's what you were doing a third of a fraction of his former divided subject see my finger what am I looking at? my finger I know that what on your finger am I looking at the surface the surface really this cellophane raincoat that vainly covers the poisoned blood traveling through the tubes below tubes I suppose you get that from around the corner where they call them tubes caves is what we refer to them as on our side of desert tunnels I think is what you were going for I don't whip up much for going for anything these days despite all your confessions despite all your apologies despite all your redemptive actions you can't unchoke me.

- Max Stoltenberg

Friday, March 24, 2017


The vibration went through the house through the walls doubling every anxious thought splitting them into more jagged contemplations underlined in red a dim red soup left out too long formed a film of a woman sitting in front of a clouded window forgetting what she was looking for on her side of the eyes in her sad head a sad head for figures slumping to the floor in exhaustion in resignation from the positions she held took before and might take again or be scolded into consolidating into a coffin that's a position the only position she'd be into after her mother's legs opened and crossed again into a brooding compliance.

"Decaying rooms go in and out of my memory."
"No matter what you say, you can't dissuade me from my upward spiral."
"You had to forego the elevator?"
"Their dragging things out has always rubbed off on me."
"Did that say 14th floor?"
"I don't know. Why don't you go back and check?"
"Would you prefer that? Besides not using the elevator?"
"And deny us some useless banter? Why would I want to miss out on that?"
"Exactly. This building has 19 floors right?"
"I never wanted to go all the way to the top. I thought I made that obvious."
"Then why go this far?"
"Overestimating myself. Is this my exit?"
"You're asking me?"
"You wanted to come along."
"I did."
"Stop pretending like I have more of one thing than the other like you know the real me or whatever the fuck it is."
"It's still hot out."
"It stays this hot all night."
"I know that. Just because I haven't been stranded out here as long as you."
"Now which side of the building to use?"
"While you think about that, I'll tell you about what pieces I've been working on."

3 Duets for Harp and Table Saw
10 Pieces for Toy Piano 6-Hand Dog and a Half
7 Fragments for Backgammon Dice, Hamster, and Water Balloon

Overcast overshadowed
Overtime overshot
Bending one's desire
in your hands
Mentioned at the end
Quarreling misunderstandings
Losing hair
What's left doesn't listen
to your comb
Overcast overshadowed
Overtime overshot
Puzzles in boxes in bookcases
Questions in silences in closets

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Has anyone conducted a note of alarm I have what the have nots have not had the conduct the plain bloody facing it my words not my words overdue to be returned and the zipper resealed over my mouth that would be better it has always been better I cannot brush it it will only go in one direction towards the end and this is running out of chunks of waste never desert always have that made a big fucking hole in the universe in my head and the desert is still there going in and going out and collecting collecting dust collecting for some cause some expired beauty that looks so stretched and tired holding its eyes open so wide enough for the vast emptiness to slide out onto the stage the edge of the stage and tumble into the darkness to be pissed on by the front row. Deserted airships floating inside that lump in the throat it is the lump pregnant with deserted airships colliding into nothing to say nothing to offer.

This life is running out was from the first moment you lifted your head from the blanket and looked at the light like urine streaming into a room people in stiff white clothes mumbling except for when they shouted I'll just put my head back down don't speak up putting it back down until my chin submerges into her menstrual revision of me circling the stairs of the apartments where I guess we thought we lived or was told moving my arms use these things that shake and are useless circling the stairs under all this water looking up into the sky filled with endless wave upon wave of flooding smothering me my world won't be breathing for much longer too long hold it hold it and death no circling the stairs shit stop it about the drown in my own overlooking my own underwhelming utterances I'll just put my head back down won't speak up putting it back down until my chin submerges into her menstrual revision of me thought we lived or was told moving my arms use these things useless things that shake and are circling the stairs under.

She will call and she will ask what I asked and I will go over it many times before she will call and she will ask what I asked what I repeated and angered the lot cast beneath and behind rear windshield between two excuses the same pattern of humiliation nothing new beneath and behind prescribed for mites replacing the secretions of hesitation. 

"Did you see that?"
"See what?"
"You looked up at the moment I noticed it."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You didn't see something fly like a dark bug into the blinds it's probably in there."
"I am not disturbing the blinds and have whatever it is or isn't fly into my mouth or into my body by some means."
"By some means?"
"I also hate bending or breaking the blinds."
"I hate the way my fat ass stomach just bunches up and folds my damn arteries like a bloody hose throbbing. Why can't stomachs be like pillows that lose their fluffiness and get flat?"
"Instead they're more like all kinds of fucked up shapes from my body derailing through some nightmare."
"You said you don't want something that isn't to fly into your mouth. How could it do that if it isn't?"
"Just an expression that fell out of my butthole."
"Tell me the one about the lawyer."
"The lawyer?"
"And what fell out his butthole."
"It was an accountant and the tube in his ear."
"You mean his eustachian tubes?"
"No someone jammed a tube in his ear over some tax audit that ensued from his filing and what came out."
"Brain leakage I reckon."
"This is the one with the thought balloon remember? You thought it was funny and asked me to retell it a while ago. When we still had water and electricity."
"And food."
"And food or that wasn't you it was the woman."
"In the glasses and the purple and black patterned blouse who went over the wheel."
"Over the wheel. Right. That's how they said she went. Over the wheel."
"When there was still a they."

We were flushed out
from the ocean
to the rim where the land
collects all the shit 
on the coast
yanking each other's chains
shoring up this waste
until it collapses back
into the stained pool
we were flushed out
from the ocean
to the rim where the land
eyes fooled by the sight of heat
we were flushed out 
from the ocean
the tank quiets
the Earth's crust has formed
memories of dried waste
what disillusionment smells like

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, February 26, 2017


He lay in bed looking as if he might fall out spotted by no one but the thud laying there sweaty exhaling the dust into the legs of the nightstand stumpy dusty corner legs who doesn't have their headphones in? who is that? report them to me before they let their noise disrupt what half of my ass I have left to give to the day. Correction, report them to him I get carried away when it looks as though he's had an accident and won't be stirring about the pot not from the night before not too long before less than a couple of hours actually but stirring the pot with so much sticking to the sides we'll be headed for another collision sooner than we think suppose it'll get stuck in our throats and make us cough that way we did at one of those parties long ago when they asked us to leave not because of the cough mind you but all the other stuff that gets caught in one's throat and makes it difficult to carry on a conversation or face the scrutiny of those too impatient for the delayed ends of sentences.

"How is it?"
"It's OK I guess."
"No, not that good really more of a resemblance of all the other disappointments throughout this I guess you could call it what would you call it?"
"Is that what you'd call it?"
"More like when you try to get candy out of a box and someone has pushed the tab in."
"I feel as though I've been given a tremendous lack of opportunity to do what I do almost somewhat adequately."
"Are you going to try some more?"
"They used to always say before you go in to have a list."
"A To Do list?"
"More a list of questions to ask, but I never could think of any. Think of what to ask so few words from loud towering people. Guess that's why I would spend so much time looking up at tall abandoned buildings. Only then they could overshadow so few words and such long silences."
"Do you think art is what drops off the conveyor belt or what stays on it or both?"
"Whatever gets caught in the gears or none of the above."

Water that makes up
most of her
is evaporating
long hair returning
about to be cut
cashed in 
not as much this time
this time this wretch
before a break
from the disturbed sleep
turning on the fan
unplugged from the wall
the wall blocking out
replicas of your insecurities
turning on you

- Max Stoltenberg