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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Listening to the absence of rain
Ignoring the hot wind
Unsuccessful a middle name
shared by many
Potatoes muddy to the touch
Trying to apply so little pressure
to so much absurd vanity
do away with mirrors 
and then 
each other
another apocalypse come and gone
is that what that was
was it
put it down
to excessive time
for plans dented with human thought

- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, July 8, 2017


And then it struck 14 was that the number the next number from the way her hair fell or shined not from the light but from the dark the dark things time and others had done snails stay in until it's wet again and we stay in until it's dry again when we know how much we need water tastes less bland when you get older or really close to death and then you wake the fuck up the next day with a dry mouth and a wet pillow. He went about his business under the auspices of someone else's chummy volunteering you to life's dead ends that make the back of your head collide with the foot of your eyes like the sound of a chair dragged across tile. Walking on eggshell white noise perhaps it was bound to re-emerge and the little thin man in the light brown shoes bringing persuasion into it again like it's some kind of way to grab one's attention one's side one's way of looking at things and finding a part of you was next door all along and coming back coming in between knees all caps has become your type of defense your method of argument now when auditioning for a more laid-back approach is something you can take off your list was it ever there to begin with with the wrong person you know the one inside of you go back go back to the corner and wait for the car with the windows rolled down and the faces and their big eyes that shout at you as you shake and twist yourself into a shape that acts like nothing startled you until when they want you to act like you weren't expecting anything lowered that bar many ages ago not that long, but you know or are very good at acting like you didn't know or just that kind of whatever leaving the front door far behind and the expanse of nothing the clutter from ear to ear.

- Max Stoltenberg