Dispatch From an Altered State

this place is a contagion: I can’t
read here: only
despair: no time remains for new words: only old
obscenities: only enemies
are recognizable: their animus flares: their crabbed
hands pluck at my dis-ease: I lie
under heavy blankets, red raw railing—

ugliness everywhere: rat traps honey-baited: sick

fuck this—

alien, uncounted, I can choose
flight: still
chords tether—

night: loon song: I swallow
bile as balm: in my palm
a feather, white.



Vagabond on the Half-Shell
none of this is what you predicted: you said I would never leave: you held up a mirror, showed me the version of myself that’s inverted, dared me to be—

ocean’s my only mirror: I prefer otherness, the invented face—

burlap sacks accommodate misshapen objects: I will be flotsam, at ease in my hempen skin—

half-shells are broken homes: one shell, spotted like a leopard, shows how two halves have been dragged apart: a fragile part—

I carry my unhinged, half-self to ocean’s edge in a burlap sack—

I will always leave: this much is predictable.

When You Turn Up for Breakfast After Twenty Years

honey engulfs my twisted spoon: you sit, your shadow
stiff against distempered brick: coffee drip-drowns disdain—

I meet your eye—backyard cardinals insist—but you reply
with fisted butter knife, bitter-slick—

I miss the bitterness of bitter marmalade, made
from old-world oranges: soil of Seville not Floridian—

I do not miss your silence—

As I scrape cremated toast, you, sun-kissed, leave me alone.



Jude Marr teaches, and writes poetry, as protest. They are currently a PhD candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and their first chapbookBreakfast for the Birds (Finishing Line), was published in 2017. Recent credits include Nightjar Review, 8 Poems, and Oxidant Engine. Jude is also poetry editor for r.kv.r.y. @JudeMarr1

Jude Marr