Saturday, December 31, 2016

A TEST SUBHEADING

I wanted to ask and kept it to myself like a name-tag falling down your shirt and just laying at the bottom above the belt where I wanted to ask ask the question and kept it to myself like a name-tag falling down your shirt and just laying there at the bottom above the belt come to think of it after you spent that time all that time sitting there on the edge of the tub the one with the little hairs not the curled ones the short straight one don't try and tell me you I want to ask the question and kept it to myself like a name a tag falling down your shirt and just laying at the bottom hiding behind the TV behind the wall in the back of the closet sliding down the rhetoric of a shaken soda can dropped against the edge of the table laying at the bottom above the belt waiting for it anticipating the spoon wooden in expression knowing the eyeliner of boldfaced lies canned bubbles folding around the edge curled ones short ones straight ones don't try and tell me you I want to ask the question and kept it to myself.

"You were punching yourself in your sleep."
"Why didn't you stop me?"
"I'm hypothesizing or it could be hypothesized that you were punching yourself in your sleep."
"Is that what you're putting on your paperwork these days?"
"These days."
"What was that?"
"A repetition. Filler."
"No. It sounded like an explosion."
"Just more rotted buildings collapsing about."
"Oh. I feel these ditches all along the right side of my nose."
"You were scratching yourself in your sleep."
"I did have a dream about giving a cat a bath in a sink."
"I didn't know you had a cat."
"A cat. I said a cat. I never had a cat. A decade or so ago I had a recurring dream for a period of maybe a month where every night there was a bilby in it and I began to wonder if I had one of those things as a pet, but as it turns out I thought I had those dreams because I mentioned it to this coworker at the hole in the ground I used to work at."

"Hole in the ground? When did you have a job?"
"As it turns out it was nothing official and I never got paid. Just a hole in the ground."
"Where was this hole in the ground?"
"Next to some pile of corpses."
"One of those arrangements."
"Never seemed to put a dent in it. Turns out I never mentioned any recurring dream to this coworker. Was never very good at making friends at work."
"The story keeps changing."
"What story?"

The edge of the table laying at the bottom above the belt waiting for it anticipating the spoon wooden in expression knowing the eyeliner of boldfaced lies canned bubbles folding around the edge curled ones short ones straight ones don't try and tell me you I want to ask the question and kept it to myself.


- Max Stoltenberg


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

COUGHING A BOWL OF BLOOD

Backwards from a hundred working back to a thousand a million and so on and so on it goes I go she goes on without me into the dark with her flashlight texting as the beam jiggles over where we used to walk like the time when words could convince us that things could grow into something wonderful or that it would all be destroyed and instead we have these things lying on the ground run over wrapped around violent swift replies since our heads can't do it can't even step into the chalk rectangle taking a bat to our windows on our empty eyes drawn by crayons melting in the desert. Nonsense burritos nor couches riddled with pee sprinkled from on low medium well dressed person staring at you because they have more lines more expressions rapidly starting to sound all alike and yet if you separate the shit with your hands mind you with your mind got to hand it to you there appears well it's already there nothing appears except what is already there never mind got to hand it to you hand you nothing there did it already and thus the conclusions reached by your DVD menu form a way around the shrinking room. 

She bent over the bendy straw and thought she noticed a tear along the angle-adjustable bellows and thought she saw her the one she used to be in class with in online college and imagined what she looked like until she sent her a friend request after a stream of commentary on fossilized families. 

Tense caffeine shades
alarm clock minefield
boots leering emptied
stiff laced eggshells 
anxious unraveling enigmas 
shredded DNA laundry


- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, December 11, 2016

FIBULA: WAS THAT THE DOOR?

The two of them will find a locked door to separate to keep them both out while the rest of us attempt to figure things out distracting ourselves away from our distractions pixels of thoughts safety pins puncturing from behind towards the next step into the sewage backing up into the landscaping forgotten memories smelling rotting corpses under the buffet is that where that rank is coming from the offer letter in a format for no more revisions unless they want to interrupt your complaints the tightness in your neck now that they mention it now that you mention it.  The two of them will find a locked door an unlocked door to separate to keep them both out while the rest of us attempt to figure things out distracting ourselves away from our distractions transposing for someone else on the other side of a locked door they will find will have found the two of them will have discovered that the next thing to be possessed of a mild or moderate disjointed company protected from any voice shouting at its walls the floor creaks and thumps with adjustments making a few irregular thumps with pauses for another sex another sewing together two or three layers of pizza slices have had enough of this face tilted down at the sky reflected in the nothing that I can tell could even possibly reflect haven't thought about it and I can say it again because that is what I do if I am not tearing the skin from my fingers with my teeth when I am drunk with suspicion and envy and rot the desert rot the desert kind of rot.

The three of them will find an opened door left open by one of them the one who rushed after dragging their stinking ass behind the rest of them the other two the rest of the three including the one of them the one who rushed after dragging their stinking ass behind the rest of them feeling something fly out of his beard having scratched at his hairy neck further down the steps as they twisted to the right into the dark where the backpacks and the chew-toys the leashes the harping on not being able to find the paper where the thought of using the answer b on the multiple choice exam might have be considered as excessive or overly redundant. 

Would he go over it and discover the answer b kept reappearing? He would he had and it did the answer b kept reappearing and re-emerging in an act of resignation filling out a life made of choking down deal-breakers. Menacing eyes burned through the dark of his closed lids into his puzzled brain twisting his nut-sack into a posture of pretend engagement with the farce on the other side of the desk drooping in front of an old paint job in need of another one that comes after you quit or attempt to in your ambivalent minding of the store of the decreasing initiatives singular now they waited for it and here it is a unifying tactic ground into the powder of reduced neighborhoods refined by having only one left of everything. Touch yourself and pull hard pull until you peel off the flypaper of the universe and rise out of a sweaty bed and adhere to it again the double-sided moebius strip of shit.


- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TAKE ME OUT

Take take me take me out take me out of this take me out of this game take me out of this trap take me out of this pit take me out of this cubicle filled with desert take me out of this not because I fucked up take me out not because I care take me out not because I'm nearer the end take me out because I don't make a difference take me out because I don't give a shit take me out because I'm closer to the middle take me out and put me in the corner take me out I'm not getting it take me out I got it take me out I knew all along take me out as a little boy take me out to a field and shoot me in the head take me and bash my brains in with a long rifle take me out and let me fall to the bottom of the fields take me out where the hard ground meets the pain bursting around my insides take me out as the sound of the shot twists into my closing lids take me out the plastic ones don't fit take me out never did take me out after they warp take me out too late after returning take me out what journey take me out itinerary stuck as a plug into the leaking crack of a tire take me out.


- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, November 19, 2016

NOTHING SAYS

She signed her name and looked at it for as long as she could until they took the paper away and promised to get them a copy as they stood up and put down their reading glasses and left her alone in the office staring at a desk bare and empty after the paper had been taken away and they shut the door behind them behind her and she listened for their footsteps fading into some copier room somewhere in the suite sticky with expectations and bursting with silent gaps inflated into erect vegetables slumping in the corners of his associations ready to be fired at her just poised for interruption to prevent her from speaking her what was it again? Questions disguised as window cleaner you know to make the world a spotless puzzle until the edges of the pieces begin to wear away into what the wall has become where the commode lid rubs against the back of your mind. 

Get up get up fight sleep sleep fight with the conversation with yourself that used to be with someone else who had the last word which reverberates along the banks of your wheezing sickness called a job employed to listen to people trying to look better or worse than they really are flat-lining skeletons coated with shit and pushed about by gas the existence that got away from the void.

Fragment of an Idea #178

Sleep Fight:

A series of 5 or 2 minute-long vignettes of combinations of professions paired off and tied to mattresses of varying degrees of discomfort and are threatened with their choice of a six-figure penalty to the wallet, a three-pronged spear to the chest, or a double-sided steel brush to the face to fight in their sleep. Proposed matches for the first season would be between "You'll never amount to anything" vs. "Everything that craps out of your mouth depresses me"; "Take this expression and simplify it to the sharpest point that will cause you the most harm" vs. "Say not what I throw away, but do what comes out of my ass"; and "You'll have to start completely over" vs. "Go to the end of the line." Have a feeling it will be renewed for another season. 

I Am the Decomposer

took away the lines
for notes to drop
to the basement of her 
sourness brought on
by his selfishness
took away the words
left out the voice
to go up or down
forgot the beginning and the end
neglected the middle
I am the decomposer
chipping away at empty
fictions on the rack
her feet fall off the bottom
toes the diving boards
into bloody pools
of repressed abortions
for those to ooze with life
and fuck it all up
yellow teeth
gnawing on conjunctions
and the tangles and knots
remaining in the folds
of the ambivalent


- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, October 31, 2016

TALE BETWEEN HIS LEGS

He stored his memories her memories in a pot in the cabinet in the loft that had become overrun with ants and crickets and not the kind that spoke or played fiddles just the ones that now stopped removing their dead what was the point at this point? Fortitude was a word that they almost spelled with their piles of filth they made out of their bodies climbing over each other as they gently ran out of room as they gently overran the unvacuumed loft as they gently made their entrances over and over again like shit gently leaving a crack.

She stored her memories his memories in a loaf of bread that had gone bad dreams and promises had deteriorated in the one day at a time advice of others who had moved away without giving without getting the fly-swatter dropping the tray in the desert left a bone on the clipboard no one to find it amusing whether there was someone or not reading the answers mesmerized by the clenched jaw and how it reminded her of the dent in the world moving away was less and less possible every year as the dent took its toll on the bridge tilting in her attention away from numbers and what they represent to others not her not her.

Crap came up again
Blended to the music
silent for the whispered hum
tired of weddings
tired of parties
tired of selling
being sold to at the openings
of doors and closing
of thoughts of black trees
have you seen them
next to that house 
the one where something
went wrong
or the other thing 
depending on how
you avoid looking at it
nests of wipers
ass-wipers penetrating dialogue
just between acquaintances
bumping into each other
never thought of that
what she wanted
she never thought of that
no one ever asked her
before
triple take 
slowed down
into a story
that drags into 
the roots of those
weeds that won't die

"I shook out my skirt and guess what came out of it this time?" she asked.
"A banana peel?" he answered trying not to pick his nose as he peeled some crust from the edge of his right nostril feeling the red stinging skin surface exposed and the tangled string of snot that begin to pull from inside his brain.
"In addition to that you aberration," she posed and she posed like someone who had given up caring many spoiled leftovers ago.
"Can you narrow it down a bit by category?" he asked clearing the phlegm into an interlude that reminded him of a wash he had wandered into ages back when he was less ill and less connected, "Ah the contagions of being more connected!" he blurted out suddenly.
"It's your grimy wash fixation emerging yet again," she said distracted.
"ToupĂ©e, my pet tarantula!" ejaculated he who had had no reason nor anything resembling any reason since the weekends preceding the massive barren dunes overwhelming all the housing associations. 
"Is my wig slipping off again?" she asked putting her hand to her head and contemplating the rubbing of her belly. 
"I'm rather fond of the purple one," he mused fondly reminiscing when he told himself that fiction about her being all those fictions.

She stored her memories his memories in a loaf of bread that had gone bad dreams and promises had deteriorated in the one day at a time advice of others who had moved away without giving without getting the fly-swatter dropping the tray in the desert left a bone on the clipboard no one to find it amusing whether there was someone or not reading the answers mesmerized by the clenched jaw and how it reminded her of the dent in the world moving away was less and less possible every year as the dent took its toll on the bridge tilting in her attention away from numbers and what they represent to others not her not her.


- Max Stoltenberg


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MASK CONFUSION

The face outside the library was the kind that is abstractly unwelcoming nothing of the sort that could be called or referred to as kind only of a category that keeps you biting your nails and peeling your skin away to the superficial layer clinging to the poles in the ground arched back filling with the wind underneath as the dying trees around are quiet with the arid pause that the abyss over everything below refuses to let its filthy paw off the button. The shoes left behind on the hardening feet petrified with steps in a direction that led to helping no one but a scarecrow arching its back over the wind underneath as the dying trees were quiet in the arid pause maintained by the abyss above and its contemptuous and smothering hand. 

When I'm nodding off into the in-between words mouth bent in on itself or the stomach ceiling mind perhaps it is called by the castle wall castle he dropped out the back of his expression his nerves caught in the zipper plastic lips that won't fit around the moldy bread looks like someone put their cigarettes out in it or exhaled their polluted lungs into what was left of that loaf rolled over onto a flattened child covered in two-dimensional bugs sitting beneath the window without glass turn your sweaty head and notice all the piles of books crumpled in front of the library out on the side actually on her side actually as her arm swells as the rest of her body shrivels up due to overdue fees with no one to collect so they say so they thought to say until they showed up on their doorstep laying there dead legs gone pants off no pants must be with the legs might there be kids swinging them legs around pants flapping like a smelly flag.

"It's an empty snow globe is what it is."
"You're still going to have to talk to her."
"That's what happens to snow globes in the desert."
"That's what happens to snow globes in the desert when you throw them against a boulder."
"She's going to spit in my face."
"You think?"
"When I go and talk to her. That's what she's going to do and so I'm putting it off or see if I can starve myself to death."
"You've been doing that. It's just taking longer than you expected than she expected and spit in your face is what will happen next from her to you."
"You need to have a heart attack right now or within the next 6 seconds."
"Why 6? Why couldn't you just pick 5 seconds or 3 seconds maybe better?"
"Right now then heart attack in your chest erupting with death."
"We're dormant my dear fragile shithead."
"It could be her mouth has gotten too dry."
"She's been clearing her throat all morning. I've heard it. Pretty fucking obvious. She's been sick. It'll be mostly phlegm from her to you."
"From her to me."

Cut too many blinds
posted a secret in the tissues
red with dark bleeding
noticeable frankness
this time
for children of stuffed animals
of spilled drinks of allergic reactions
to horns wet with notes
incorrectly scored
dreamed about her
and now she decided
to leave


- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, October 1, 2016

WHAT KIND OF FISH IS THAT?

Are you going to reply and waste your breath or hold it as your mind squints for what to say what to avoid pleasures are elusive distractions at this point this bloody point sleeping in a puddle of your woeful tangled dreams faces without mouths or eyes that swallow you and slide you out through the bottom of the toilet back into your bed sleeping in a puddle of your inadequate reaching for something to die at the hands of your breath or hold it as your mind squints for what to say what to avoid punishments so accessible staring focused at this point this bloody point. Leave the message delete the message leave it and try just try to leave them pushed to the side as you look ahead and ejaculate through their eyes that spit you out up through the elevator stumbling out onto the puddle of coffee on your desk stroked by notes spread out so you can keep both your hands on the feet of a job blown up into lists falling as the dark rain of the shit-storm around you around and around the calendar's shaft flipping pages flipping you off to the coffin's putting a lid on it.

"Are you going to say anything?"
"About what?"
"You weren't going to say anything. You were going to pretend or wait for me to do something about it."
"It? Now they're an it?"
"Don't give me your feigned advocacy. You don't give a shit is what it is."
"I give a lot less of a shit is what it is. You'd rather argue than doing something yourself."
"You're the one not doing something. And you just admitted to why. Waiting for me to do something because I give a shit. Waiting waiting for me."
"Making me wait while you'd rather argue. You'd rather argue while you make we wait for you to do something something about the elephant in the room."
"So now it's an elephant?"
"Back to an it again?"
"Yes, an it in the room."
"Who said it's a room?"
"You did."
"I was mistaken."
"You were mistaken?"
"Mistaken about this mistaken about that mistaken about coming here mistaken about leaving there."
"Leaving where?"
"The hole that leads back up into the nothing."
"Nothing?"
"The nothing but quivering worry." 
"How long have they been slumped over like that?"
"I don't know. Since their last words I guess."
"And what do you suppose they were?"
"She was saying she had a surprise for when she got home."
"Home? That was no home for her. What did she say?"
"She said I have a surprise for you."
"That's it?"
"She said I have a surprise for you asshole."
"That's it?"
"That's it."

Helmets of hair
Helmets of stickers
Hashtags caught in the crosshairs
And now for something 
across the water 
to the drummer
under the branches
pages read through waste
floating over the top
over the top
they were


- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, September 26, 2016

SCAR ICONS

Unreliable medicated gestures
False north tied to 
epoxy wings
flapping about inside 
one's ears
sounds sounds 
unclear for today
tomorrow's portions 
of leftovers
greening and browning 
with webs of discrepancies 
been there before
been here 
not as certain 
as was originally thought 
oars in the soup sloshing onto the crotch
supposing to demolish
distanced by fantasy
talk to the palm and the thumb muscle
flexing in the scraping
of the TV tray abandoned 
by the empty room's forgetfulness
very bad paste stuck to the ceiling
where your stuck out neck
is stuck
dust from the fan 
blanketing the landscape
of your demoralization
what did the dog say?
almost like a profanity 
or an apology that it is
rehearsing for us
more gas escaping
out over its fur 
depending on the chatter
of forced enrollment 
bitter rims of packages
licked with the tongues 
peeking over mouths 
spilling embarrassment
and unbelieved memories
erased in withholding


- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, September 5, 2016

MUTE GLIMPSE

His nose was about to drip and the elbow rode the anatomy about the outskirts of town like he walked like he drifted like him listening or trying not to listen to the thoughts hitting against the passenger side of his head the rear passenger side thudding in the manner of uneaten fruit disposed of so after the fact so after the complaining deficiencies they were called and brought up as pizza crust forming into hot vomit that was just too large a bite. The napkin holder could deny it all they wanted, but there was no countering the reality its role it had to play in the events leading up to her imprisonment her early release that was never put on the table as they whispered and muttered their opinions of her and her family well they were her family self-deprecation disguised as assertiveness and insults saved for the moment that moment of blankness filling the mind as it does where the void of the universe leaks in through the atmosphere and poisons those who must go through life until death put off by turns in circumstances that send them the uneaten fruit against the passenger side of his head the rear passenger side thudding with notes and the taking of notes that seems to make no difference as the napkin holder could deny it all they wanted telling its dreams broken and pulverized to the wrong person nearby nearby that's what they used to get to her the heartless proximity.

"I was thinking, are you hearing what I'm saying?"
"If you got to the point I could tell you you could tell me if I was hearing anything anything at all if there was a point."
"It's just that you don't look like it like you're hearing me."
"Why not? What am I looking like that doesn't look like I'm hearing you besides you're not getting to the point if there is one?"
"Well, to begin with, you look like you're staring off into space."
"I am staring off into space. It's on my screen at the moment."
"Are you looking outside our galaxy again?"
"And what if I was? Are you going to tell me what is so worth hearing?"
"I was thinking about what my boss said the other day or it might have been the person in the next position above or below them."
"Why would I be interested in what you were thinking about? Decisions and action mostly action is what merits my attention that and actual water with not so much urine in it or the other stuff that gets in there or when the smoke from the burning mounds of bodies starts to lose that really putrid edge to it."
"They said something as they were leaving and locked us in the last time about attitudes and I tried not to make it about me, but, and this is where I get to what I was thinking about I mean really thinking about and when what is between my thoughts the sharp daggers that poke holes through the top of my brain and I notice how when I get something done something that has an appearance that might get their approval and I know it's not because I did anything with my musings or thought differently or more in line or applied any of their nauseating rhetoric it was because I let it go my voice that silence disguised as what might have another sit down next to you when they wondered why you were alone it was a muffling a reticence masquerading as a human with its face to the wall knitting together some bloodless clump of decades together that can be erased in seconds a browning banana peel the limb that once reached for the trap its teeth chattering our name connected with a device not recognized."

Bedtime pressed into milk
past its expiration
who is drumming?
setting on fire those
who stood one behind the other
going back to the start
start over
bare feet naked
and stepping to the rhythm
of the racing heart
fell out the window
of the plane
asleep and the powerful
clouds and the powerful
ripped the sleep
out of my eyes
kept them closed
nothing between them
remained
but returned to annoy


- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

DEATHPILE

Lights on eyes widen
brain contracts the check
is torn into pieces the numbers
run out of room on the sheet
of what she was saying
about high school and what
they should talk about
so she would feel a little bit
more confident in her reasons
her justifications for
why she doesn't belong
what they end up talking about
anyway
without her
on ahead they skip
skip over the part where she
they come back 
and make a meal of her
spitting up the bones of her expressions
drying out in the back

"So you're going to play the geometry teacher now?"
"Geometry teacher? What does my saying my ex-husband never took me seriously have to do with my playing a geometry teacher?"


"So you're going to play the master chef now?"
"Master chef? What does my describing how my boss twisted the letter opener after he inserted it into my stomach have to do with my playing a master chef?"

"So you're going to play the gastroenterologist now?"
"Gastroenterologist? What does my mentioning how he was all the time behind my never being able to escape that hellhole have to do with my playing a gastroenterologist?"

"So you're going to play the foodborne parasite now?"
"You're saying that because I forgot about the salad for a couple of weeks? Months?"
"I was referring to what you do to every relationship you've ever been in."
"Foodborne parasite? You're saying that because of all the greasy fast food I never finish or you're saying that because of the sound?"
"The sound?"
"The sound I make?"
"When you do what?"
"When I'm being a parasite?"
"Oh, I thought you meant the other thing."


- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DISEASED AND INSIST

Egregious is a white board background
Destined for discomfort
Weaseling our way out unsuccessfully
Falling off the Earth's foreskin
Didn't know that was still there 
Swimming through something that makes us ill
Kept our mouths shut
Allowed to see the answers
Eyes bound open with duct tape
the blue circle smeared
by a shitty thumb
don't mind if you do or don't
doesn't matter to us
inserting double spaces
violating laws of motion
in front of the television
remote up his ass
erasers in his ears
Do you know what your number is?
won't be able to get there in time
Never could
Falling off the Earth's foreskin
Didn't know that was still there
Swimming through something that makes us ill
Kept our mouths shut
until we stick our necks out
Past the door-frame of the womb


- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

IGNORANT FUMES

If it was that he looked in the mirror and saw nothing or that he saw something was a matter worth procrastinating or perseverating over very slowly until the next time the skeleton didn't sit down why should it point with all of its bones at the rest of everything at the conclusion of the party between the edge of the desert and the empty pool next to the overturned barbecue atop a vomited pile of dried charcoal it comes it comes to end sometimes and then it starts over unrecognizable at first and the next time until it's too late for the mirror and a part of nothing and a part of something was a matter worth was the matter with worth and value for pornographic dyads lubricated contractions slathered with a burning wind the wind that wraps the drooping shaft the posture mispronouncing gestures for no one for everybody and we leave it at until they bring up again tomorrow making thicker lenses and thinner solutions deciphering codes and destroying connections 

she had gotten her head stuck in the banister and rolled her eyes back and forth she whispered the words, "dishwasher staggering" as she looked down at the carpet and where it ended and the tile began remembering how it felt when she stepped there and her left foot took that sharp object objects sharper now then whatever she had almost forgotten her face her features her eyes the way she lifted her eyes and then the way she lowered them away from her until she had gotten her head stuck mistakes and useless progress and disasters had been made intentionally when she could walk around things before they disappeared swallowed by the beige blankness of what lingered beyond the fence harsh borders melting into the glass a mirror for avoidance the kind that never worked when pots and pans clamored for you attention at the bottom of your worth.


- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, July 31, 2016

SPEECHLESS CLOSET DOOR

And then it was nothing again
And again this was how it came out
Didn't notice it the way you wanted
Got a part of it somehow
A very little part of it
no credit left
scratching just under the top
of the socket
a cut into skin a groove of bone
a groove of behavior
patterns in the life
dwindling or going back and forth
between laughing maniacally
and silence suturing lips together
underneath the bloated fetus
overdue everything is always
so fucking overdue
looking distracted obsessed
with the long hair 
hot wind blowing it around
a mirage in high definition
of never being able 
to go back 
and undo anything
walking alongside the one
who always knew better
until I dragged her out of the water
the hook protruding bloodily
from one of her nostrils
the one on the left I think
her left it was 
baited with fake commonality
fucked by the vapid universal
emptiness ignores us
waiting it all out
until we have wasted our 
final putrid breath
darkness grows in annoyance
of the clicking on and off
after the Sun and the light switch
brains chirp on the rock
eroding into the desert
of my insomnia


- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WATERFALL FILTER

Couldn't recall to you or tell you when it dried up or when it became what you were after or thought you were after and you were after it much more after it or way later than you have given thought to and it has been arranged or worked out or bled through a sheet of paper stuck to a mirror in that room they can never seem to cool down with all those mirrors and the fans that haven't spun in years or pretended to move to even hover just hanging about over that one the one with the pen shaking in his hand scribbling on a thin pad of sticky notes yellow with fearfulness skepticism he calls it but it's really terror of having to answer for it or recognize that she sits behind him if he would just turn around and see her legs the ones that move even less than the fan blades just hanging about over that one the one with the pen shaking in his hand scribbling and grinding his hesitation wondering if any wonder can be flossed out and conjure a little thread of blood of past humor about the tissue of lies and he uses his fingers and a gentle cleanser for bringing forth or out an application when they used to spell it out when there were still walls or doors closed for meetings of personal touches of accidental contact didn't see you there or the original one who divided my attention between the above and below tendencies rendering me stuck.

She is looking over your shoulder for nonsense to reappear and roll her eyes and her skirt she keeps a copy in her breast that is left for scrambling for ideas baked outside in the searing walk thought I parked it there have nothing to listen anymore and maybe can keep walking and what was that coming down out of the sky the other day an expectoration of the rest of the universe rejecting our changes in anything staying the same for us each other and mostly the times when we avoid each other's resistance to staying out of it this existence and its intrusion into the void an invasion of emptiness leave us unthought leave us now too late way later than you have given thought to and it has been arranged or worked out or bled through a sheet of paper stuck to a mirror in that room they can never seem to cool down with all those mirrors and the fans that haven't spun in years or pretended to move to even hover just hanging about over that one the one with the pen shaking in his hand scribbling on a thin pad of sticky notes yellow with fearfulness skepticism he calls it but it's really terror of having to answer for it or recognize that she sits behind him if he would just turn around and see her legs the ones that move even less than the fan blades just hanging about over that one the one with the pen shaking in his hand scribbling and grinding his hesitation wondering if any wonder can be flossed out and conjure a little thread of blood of past humor about the tissue of lies and he uses his fingers and a gentle cleanser for bringing forth or out an application when they used to spell it out when there were still walls or doors closed for meetings of personal touches of accidental contact didn't see you there or the original one who divided my attention between the above and below tendencies rendering me stuck.

The jersey the blouse swirling inside her sip puckering her lips in lack of appreciation for the thrown together at the last minute next to last minute just another minute just another damned minute plaguing the compliant marching in your head stomping the moisture the stickiness through your eyes mail forced through the slot of your evaporating interest dried up or when it became what you were after or thought you were after and you were after it much more after it or way later than you have given thought to and it has been arranged or worked out or bled through a sheet of paper stuck to a mirror in that room they can never seem to cool down with all those mirrors and the fans that haven't spun in years or pretended to move to even hover just hanging about over that one the one with the pen shaking in his hand.


- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

NO OUTLET

Temptation building blocks of time and space choicest neglect eyes watering with misery or boredom more like disappointment under the stairs squinting between the steps wiggling the railing the house the building shrugs not budging the planet was his toilet paper as he rolled down the embankment most of the grass smeared into the dry clay dissolution of the exhausted pronouncement her face at the end of the sentence forcing a smile straight line of annoyed expression out of the socket and into the corner of the mouth grinding the teeth on the other side of the mood swing see-sawing along the table tabled idea holding one's vague breath steaming up the metal on the buttons to the right of the elevator door. She forgot what floor she was on and it made a difference in her mind the direction she was heading the elevator up or down she forgot what floor she was going to and it made a difference in her mind where she was coming from when she encountered them tried to break it down for them without being insulting although she fantasized telling them all to fuck off being and how insulting it all is don't mention until I am done saying that put another way as he speaks for her moving her lips while the words collide into each other silently just under the roof of her mouth not much beneath the surface pools cloudy with plans squinting between steps out of sequence for extinguishing oneself.

"What are you looking at?" she asked him.
"The TV," he answered her.
"It's off," she said getting up to crumple up another Pop Tart wrapper and sitting back down to stop herself.
"I'm looking at the darkness," he said trying to talk himself into staying put and conceding to another glass of warm water and then forcing himself to go to the freezer for a couple cubes of ice.
"What does the darkness make you think of?" she asked him turning on the fan on the table and realizing it isn't facing her and as she turns it a bug is spit out from between the plastic blades.
"It makes me think of the patterns on the bathroom floor while I was sitting on the can," he answered her remembering how the fish had churned in his stomach the night before or the night before that when he had the nightmare about the bar stools fighting with each other in the kitchen and how he wasn't sure if it was their kitchen and everyone stood there and did nothing and could criticize even though he knew he too enjoyed the crash of the wood.
"You shit on the floor?" she asked him knowing that of the three: guilt, nausea, and fish - nausea was the most prominent.
"Yes, I shit on the floor and attempted to analyze the patterns of wine and bent conjugation," he proposed not on a single knee.
"Bent what? If it makes you feel any better," she began to say in an enthusiasm that feigned no matter no matter as the side of the index finger caressed the cheese grater.
"No, I didn't shit on the floor. What?" he answered and asked.
"What?" she asked and also acted as though she had not heard what he said or cared about anything he had to say at least the latter was true.
"What were you going to say?" he asked her waffling between how many flushes was it? 3 or 4?
"I was going to say that I don't care if you shit on the floor," she answered almost talking about her private decay when she had decided that geometry was too graphic.
"Now you're saying that because of your apathy or because you think it's not that bad a thing once in a lonely while or because you were scrolling and your thumb accidentally gave too much weight to that option of course it was your apathy," he told her as he looked at the napkin convinced the stain reminded him of that presumptuous asshole from the graveyard shift at hospital no just the graveyard.

"I hate when that happens with the scrolling."

Diseased feet following you
to your next opportunity
taking you objecting
taking to you and whining
about this and about that
perhaps we journey
who are we kidding
when we look in the mirror
and at who?
who is that?
don't ask don't expect me
to know

On the rides we took
into the wasteland
filled with expectations
burst balloons of recognition
unregarded barking
nibbling at her 
the ends of her hair
the ends of her
and how she managed
when she was heard
ignorant reflection
look at it
the thing with the blank look
taking off the spectacles
and rubbing your face
until she drowns 


- Max Stoltenberg


Sunday, July 3, 2016

LOOKOVER OVERLOOK

Head applied to the corner of a table with a cutting board on it wondering asking the question having something to do with pondering who left the slices of cheddar not as sharp as had been described by the woman with the red hair and the way she used her thumbs and held her breath can't say that I blame her the cheddar with the dark spots more brown than purple depending on what you disliked the most or found the most repulsive when you stumbled across it and how you have stumbled head applied to the corner of a table with a cutting board on it wondering asking the question.

who is she texting?

What did he do or not do interrupted distracted by the metaphysics of it all the essence the bare bones and those had been buried a long time ago in his layers of what he did or did not do interrupted distracted by the underlying beneath the floor where he had spent most of his time while the rest of them did what he wanted most what he really wanted all those years after the therapist had asked him the adviser the face in the window at the counter was for them to forget about him so he wouldn't have to feel responsible for not feeling responsible or whatever it was when he scratched his ass and accidentally went a little too deep into the seat of his pants. 

who are you texting?
someone

Interesting? Interesting to who? in what way is it being suggested in a catastrophic sense seems rather boring when compared to standing on your feet all day and what it is that you do when you get home and not even that it's the thoughts going through your head while you are standing all day nobody asks about that and if someone fucking does then they scatter like the hugest corpulent bugs you can imagine into nothing or someone and that and that someone comes home with me and has made my side of the bed crack and the split waits until I am about to fall asleep and then it worms its way right up into my head applied to the corner of a table with a cutting board on it wondering asking the question.


- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

FROM HER TO PEDALS

The dryer is vibrating into the ceiling making the sides of the jaw ache abnormal imbalanced unnoticed discrepancies scratching the insides of your stomach like a basketball of a sticky note drenched in bloody cheese curds adhering to the bottom of your brain forget about clearing your throat or anything else to catch your breath when everything else catches in your in-betweens. Came upon this and shame dries the offshoots your wasted existence hands left and right stretched out and making fists one open one closed one smacking into the other doesn't matter which why should it? and there continues or ends or begins the next spill the next sticky spill to clean up with a tissue or toilet paper looking at a menu if that is what it is going back over it the dream after all these decades and seeing the coloring book nothing has been touched by a crayon as of yet the diseased outlines faded copied stuck together pages pulled apart and letters words are missing and you look up at the mirror in the hotel room was it is that how was it how looking up at the mirror or right into it and seeing yourself missing like the words in the coloring book laying on the bed and mother is over in the corner what did she do because that is where your reflection ended up.

It is cloudy today and the heat still violates the holes that land nowhere but on your person who showed up late forgot again a rough couple of days sticky spills you know and worms slithering out of your thoughts about the air and how filled with disregard it is how that is how it is.

Permanent links to loosening knots tangles leaving out of disinterest or a brain just going bad in the box for too long forgotten it had been pushed further and further to the back of the box. Index finger about to tap a shoulder and wasn't sure if my mouth was covered when she turned around and looked like she had noticed me not for me mind you just in case I was talking to myself and I was how that is how it was with me just didn't know if she caught me talking with myself is that who I was speaking with this time this space of a few or several certainly several minutes vaccinated against anything novel or shorter than that and that how that is how it is.

Napkin dispensers litter the landscape if that is how they refer to it as a landscape a desert landscape scraped together or apart apart more like nothing to like about it a desert is a planet with shitloads of miles of mastectomies all quilted together accented with mountainous scars and she she had to do all the changing after performing and trying so hard not to smash the camera into a million pieces and grind them into his eyes of vileness is that how what is that what it takes to shut up the silence leaking into your head pressed up next to the rest of the void of the universe.

And she picked up the lollipop from the ground and looked at the ant that was barely moving stuck to the cracked candy tiny insect body bent as it was how as it was overhearing the older girls and the dresses and the purses and the lips dry with irritation sighing the is what it is knowing or pretending not to know how much the is is made of what it isn't. Douche-bags not far around the corner lurking in the light the stage light evaporating the latest question precipitating in a puff of complacency staring at the empty mirror hesitant to peek in the corner where is that where mother what did she do because that is where your reflection ended up. 


- Max Stoltenberg