OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 4

Will Cordeiro

from Vestigia

2.

 

Light shudders in, and every edge

threatens to burst into thinking—

—We give out a light that’s equal

to all the suns inside us, dizzy

in dispersal, so many milkweed

seeds puffed up like parachutes.


8.

 

I stare at the lava of the slow tail-lights

on the Geo. Washington: rush-hour’s so long.

I stare up through galaxies and wonder

if this reeling delirium—like two transverse waves

exacerbated by superposition—has vibrated

the node of where I am into a post-military-industrial fall-

out shelter, well-stocked with expired canned goods.

How much of this tizzy may be the wind-vane

fetishes of my fixed ideas, the flummox of self-

alienated surplus labor? Road rage; hedge funds?

Well, such is the productivity tax of circulation.

If I’m the proxy of technological gaps gaping ever

bigger, is the exfoliation of my lector’s narrative

only the emphasis I’ve beggared by leveraging?

 

 

 

9.

                                    Milk blue, bust-up

            bus-stop windowpanes . . .

                                                            Graffiti kudzus like corporate litigation;

                                                the rotted-out, paved-over playgrounds

                                                            dandruff with smog and carcinogens. Someone’s

                                                beady-eyed Rottweiler barks and snarls,

                                                            foaming at the mouth; kids like to say they breed ’em

                                                so their skulls are too small to hold their brains,

                                                            which makes them wanna tear their skins out.

                                                           

                        A used car dealership’s stray banners snap. A steel-scape rich with duds.

 

                                                                                             Cloud-scud latent with a quick fix scum

                                                                        twitches where the sky’s half-life switchblades

                                                            on a loosened hinge.

                                                                                  Crack vials litter the crooked sidewalks:

you can’t help              but step on one.

            The side-streets hustle with a loopback hush.                             Sketch and scribble,

chop-chop gomblegomble jag.

                                    People roam out of pool-halls, barbershops,

                        bodegas clutching brownbags.

                                                            A Kawasaki back-

                                                                        fires; hip-hop blares and hoo-haws, stalls and

brawls out as the soundscape’s channel-surf’d, flashbacked

                                           to a telenovela; East New York and Brownsville ease into dusk’s

            brown-out. Boarded-up row houses, like rows of broken

                        teeth behind (fake) platinum grills—memory mumbles through

                                    the projects screen-scumbled,

                                                muffled, half-whispered free-style lyrics—this

                                    borderland’s

                        flaking lead-paint sounding-boards.

                                    Token figures stumble by, zeros and no-counts.

 

                                                A couple teens in their puffy coats

                                    slouch on porch-stoops and toke a spliff

                                                            down to its smoldered nub, gnarl-

                                    sputter’d, tweezing it between a hair-clip.

                                                They shuffle-off, disjointed, a single

                                                            shadow bent on pitted brick, nothing

                                                  spoken—

                                                                                                       nothing to speak about

Will Cordeiro has work appearing or forthcoming in Best New Poets, Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Fourteen Hills, Nashville Review, [PANK], Phoebe, Poetry Northwest, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has two chapbooks of short prose, “Reveries and Opinions of Mr. Figure” (RDP, 2016) and “Never-never” (White Knuckle Press, 2017); in addition, he is co-editor of the small chapbook press Eggtooth Editions. He is grateful for a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, a scholarship from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Truman Capote Writer’s Fellowship, as well as residencies from ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, Ora Lerman Trust, Petrified Forest National Park, and Risley Residential College. He received his MFA and Ph.D. from Cornell University. He lives in Flagstaff, where he teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona
University.