the poetry that matters

john patrick ayson

john patrick ayson lives in san diego where he makes various texts, visuals, & audios. He is the author of THE NONPAREIL(S), a trove of hybrid texts & literary constructs and holds a MFA in innovative writing. He has texts & visuals in the recent issues of LITnIMAGE & streetcake magazine, among others, & was a contributor to & coeditor of Fiction International.


a prepubescent       breathes    
                in brief     asthmatic heaves    
               with fractured   floating ribs
                    punctured obliques
                      lungs   deflating

      air          humidified by gun smoke          teargas
   & the collective warmth           from each   salty tear
                                         trickling south of

   every  village member’s    mother’s    cheeks     & chin

though none belongs to the woman    whose cocooning embrace    
hours before today’s minute young sunrise    
coddled the prepubescent    

                   seconds from becoming

                      charcoal       ash       dust         


its heavy     rogue soles  
leave echoless thumps       
& untraceable imprints  
on the vaporous    cement floor  

           trailed   by its close-lipped  
           ethereal   hums  
           & crude   salty   body odor 

                         ---  all muted  ---

                        once a cold      stern drawl
                       fifteen yards     lateral
                        from its stroll     booms
                                           via megaphone:

                        “    before checking in

                                           please fetch your vitamins
                                            pillows   & monocle    “

                 unmoved      its attention & demeanor

                               focuses solely   on its trainer’s left
                               wrist   & fist    pulling    & tugging

                               the bullhide strap     connecting

                        the frosted     twelve  foot   grade A   steel
                     alloy chain     to its muzzle     & collar
                  harnessing   its appendages     keeping its
              chest  & waist   sans sway   or pivot   nasal &
       vocal orifices       reduced        to grumbling:

t h i s   w i l l   n o t   k e e p    m e    f r o m    t a l k i n g

t a l k i n g...


to a row of finches   perching   on the newly varnished
ash brown window sill     contrasting    the sky’s false
azure     dulled    by the fingerprinted   acrylic glass
I inscribed  my dna on      running my right thumb   &
pinky   across   the reflected sky      now     with
a cursive    circular haze     a simulated souvenir
from the late morning fog    restless    in its duel
against the monotonous   afternoon sunshine’s shadow
offset    by the table lamp’s forty watt  version   of
a shadow  indoors     casting over the unbit apple    &
scattered orange peels      distanced      from the clothed
center   of the roundtable      I tip my mug           just
enough   to let the espresso’s    brash onyx     drip
a spot     or four     on a trio of overlapping   offwhite
rectangles      patterned    on the faded cloth’s
lazy shade of gray     smooth for polyester    yet still
abrasive   for the pink  virginal skin     beneath
the caretaker’s    freshly cut fingernails     though three
levels of rough   over par   when faced    with the
surgical scar’s   on his right forearm     he keeps
from every point of contact    by crooking it
symmetrically     parallel to mine   as he cradles my
armpit   & helps me stand    I hear at least two bones   in
the lumbar section      of my vertebrate              crack
followed by two more       from the thoracic       then
another     as I cock my head     & swivel my neck
clockwise    stalling     between three thirty      maybe
four oclock    punctuated by one more     while I slowly
swing it     in reverse     arriving      at a complete
stop       exactly at ten     maybe nine forty five     as
soon as I notice    the transparent   1000ml
tablet     on the caretaker’s palm :

“ were you interested in taking a nap? “
“ never… “
“ well then… would this suffice unti-- “
“ tonight? negative… I will need two more, just to stomach   
  this entire...

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