OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 4
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.
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?
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
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
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