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3 Poems by Michael J. Pagan


Now, the quiet will come back, no time
to write or dream or carve, but I can
imitate the whistling of a bullet, and to hear it
in the vapor—a very realistic sounding
breath, bellowing: “when it is finished, man
is finished, man is finished,”

it’s like communing with a still, small voice

there was the inevitable scramble for candles, looking,
looking for the moon—all the emphasis
on technique—the moon, the dear old, lovely
old furniture

go to sleep

“Did they use them guns they stole?”
“They didn’t know how to load and fire”

History cries out for even crimes of magnitude,
anyway, my voice is alright—full of sunshine and
running—hands in pockets, handsome,
smiling mischievously

something deep down touched, something
stirred and died and the moon and the magic
were gone, gone for always

what an empty, empty world


. . . most of what mattered in our lives took place   in our absence:
you were my friend,   God
endow me a space   a clean-smelling house,   and
no body taxing   Have you ever giggled as a girl who knew
how to clean up?   After mind leaving   let body leave,   but
where were they? her? when sound used to carry over water—wailing—
with a big bag full of foreign machines   two more women
hung between a curtain   I stand at their window   inhaling the unpalatable loam
of the city-less outline

while weeping into a pillow: I am not   stupid, God
I have read several books   therefore,   you and I must now plop
here   and wait   until the end of the world
(we are a roughhew of forgetters)
History is a dark room,   her face blotchy

and much obliged


where God forgot there were no handfuls
of railing—in the full hum of his broken
intercourse, they arrived with the dusk—because
one can only move by pulling those
wonderful, shelled fingertips

(I look, and she is also looking, freely)

     “Such ordinary props,” she said
     “Then sit with them—to dream a little”

And I have very little

we’ve got five-thousand square feet here, with a couple hundred-thousand dollars worth of equipment for the purposes of turning steel into orgasms We make the highest quality, finest fucking machines in all of the known world, and I’ve built these as if they were headed up into the moon—when they’re actually not Although, I think, it’s not at all a terrible idea I guarantee you, you could hand my products down to your children and grandchildren—stock or tribe

You see, that’s what they still call “posterity,” and they’re nothing new Just go check the patent offices and history books, and you’ll see. . .

A body against the sky at dusk
is disposable: a row of wind that fits
in either hand

A buckle is the body’s
zest—it’s sweet talk
And her lap: the top of a room, spinning
on its wangling jawbone But,

a shared feeling—that is
the voluntary drawbridge operator;
long, pale, copper hair, lanky,
goofy, beautiful Ignorance lying

on top—like a misread cough or
hiss—because absence keeps a hiss
to it in the crook of its breath
like a crop bow

So, we wait, filled up with coal

     “I’m aware that I am a good judge of character,” she said
      “It’s called: Survival Mathematics”
      “But, I’m not claiming to have wings on”

not on the grass, not while I
attempt to reenact I’m
a completionist who’s fallen
into buying erasure from looters

     “Then arrive at an idea so that the living world can meet you half way,” I said.

So I lied, and she fiddles on
with the blind, showing clean
lines with the vague light, and I
so tired and frozen when

I last remembered how I (and she,
she’d admitted to me once) would lick
screen doors and gaze at the bubbles
caught within each miniature

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Michael J. Pagan spent four years (1999-2003) in the United States Navy before (hastily) running back to college during the Spring of 2004. He currently resides in Deerfield Beach, FL, with his wife and newborn daughter, where he continues his work on two poetry manuscripts as well as his first novel. He is a contributor to his alma mater’s blog, The MFA at FAU, as well as his own, The Elevator Room Company, where he blogs about anything and everything that encompasses his writerly life. His work has appeared in Bride Path Press, Screw Iowa, The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, The Northville Review, the Squawk Back, and is forthcoming in The Prompt Literary Magazine.