Eliding

Walker James

Is there a word
for something that is
and also was? and also
questions why we want to
squash concepts into
tinier language and also why
we want to keep concepts
apart, at arm’s length, generations
of arms, and by arms, I mean:

was and is, kept apart by the barrels of dueling pistols, white gloves, greased mustaches, a woman’s body on the line or a presidency - the present’s forefinger, curved like a hoe,pointing at the past, and the past pointing back at the present. Light changes as a cloud passes over the sun, air cools, grass darkens, and they are about to duel, having already dueled, dueling right now, their blood already pooling around their jackboots, having pooled, pooling right now, twin aortas expelling their mother’s DNA, her bare feet, her wan ankles, little stones washed by rivers that flow, have flown, are flying, will fly into formation, descending upon approach.

was and is, clasping hands, twirling in circles, singing about ashes tumbling down, hair tied with red ribbons, blue-and-white dresses fluttering like feathered wings as they spin, so slowly, spun, are spinning, paper-colored threads, silkworm halos, through the noise of the sky - each halo punctured, puncturing, having been punctured, their feathers, their rock-like beaks, their falling. Look how they broke formation and reformed. Look how they approached the earth.

was and is, wearing baby-blue masks, checkered scarves, their mouths hidden while they speak as if language isviral, how the past is summarized or will be summarized, how the presents tends to summarize, is summarizing, in the process of speaking in bulbous tongues, over-watered plant of teeth, hedgerow of the gums, what is already dead is now dead because the future was not quite as shiny and symmetrical and curvaceous as the present implied. Look how it breaks formation. Look how it reforms.


Walker James is a Queer poet living with a cat in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have previously been published in Haute Dish, Rag Mag Revival, The Daily Drunk, and random sample review, and have work forthcoming in Stone of Madness, Versification, and Tealight. They have also been published in their own small hearts. 

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