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Courtney Bush


I can live with loss itself
as easily as I can live with a person
who doesn’t care about art-making
Give me a stick of gum to chew
and I’ll do all three at once

Still I wonder if primordial means
from the first bite and is it then
about the fruit
Wonder if Proust is still Proust in California

People are basically hamsters with somewhat
interlocking rights but it’s like you hear the devil once
Your family sends you away into the flowers hopefully
Time to watch the world
So they are trying to mop with a tennis ball
and I haven’t seen you in months
I haven’t heard a thing from your mouth

You can be on the verge of a simple solution to the universe
when the bees become demons because
they know they’re dying

So they bee bitten by the wood dog the devil
then be fallen wood themselves

Katelyn   3


These aren’t blueberries

and teeth have their own minds

a fragment of truth hasn’t been put in the lie

Do you feel the centipede I feel in me

Is the Emerson in your mirror young as the one in mine

The first buildings were trees

The percent of you that wants to die fluctuates

when something good happens

The best buildings were bodies

You solved a small mystery at your high school

You committed four crimes in the West

Someone you know has been reading Machiavelli all summer

Noticing TV’s disquieting remove

You could no longer imagine a future

I could’ve sat down and cried with you

That could’ve been my clearest memory


An angel got caught in the light in my breast

He wasn’t a nice person

He was one of those people where you can tell exactly

what he looked like as a toddler because he still looks the same

and fumbled around with what we would call tacks

His whole body shaken in the light

Many people feel confused but very few confront

their questions ceaselessly

I established dominance by saying that

I said god did make junk and that hell couldn’t be

where everything is bad, but possible

Our eyes locked together it’s possible the click

was audible to others

I wanted to know if this was a devil town

Since I was talking I said I will never forgive the government

I said women really are all the same


I sent these behemoth emails

Setting a building on fire doesn’t mean you’re an arsonist

There’s no way to say who you are

Brain surgery and rocket science amount to the same

It’s another spoiled quest

And you aren’t even from Rome

If anyone wanted to respond he’d have to print the email out and carry it

The conversation grown dark and staggered

Don’t worry, you’re going to see perfect blue

If not on Merritt Parkway, then somewhere else

So an angel did once alight in my breast

He was not the nice kind of person you’d expect

He wrote a hundred chapters about mornings

The idea for his work came with a rolled ankle in the Guermantes driveway

I made the mistake of talking about Frank O’Hara

To my mother in the car that night

As if pigeons could’ve flown in different directions

Katelyn    4


I want to find a long lost Culkin brother

I don’t say this lightly

There has to be at least one roaming the plains

A picture of me morphing into a dog wouldn’t introduce beauty into the world

The way the one unclaimed Culkin could

Every single day is what it’s about, every time you walk out of your house

And the dark force that threatens the sky

I don’t say this lightly

If you needed to read that book to know trees talk to each other

Your life has exact limits even hell cannot enclose

The messages on the French radio only seemed to lack meaning

I have ended up a long way from the one thing I’m sure I have done

Loose threads are tighter there

The most disparate marriages are locked clean

And my own husband wants to worship the devil when he gets bored


Padlocks amaze me

My life of crime picks up steam almost without my help

If I won the Nobel Prize I’d sell it for eight hundred thousand dollars

Here are pictures from my sad birthday at home

I cried on the floor between the wall and my mom’s empty bed

She said I guess things go on

Birthdays, Christmases, dances

To the bridge that falls, you are the worst bridge

Using words doesn’t make you smarter

Don’t you see words doing things to each other

Almost salad-like

Sewing broken bread back together

Took a note in my phone and spit on the ground

My virtual life was two hundred years longer than my own could ever be

The Holy Grail is insane

The cayman, carp, eagle and fox in me or the Emerson of me

Am I just so sentimental I have to believe he’s alive

Fate is real or it just wouldn’t exist

Nobody would have imagined that

The Holy Grail is insane

When you are no longer desperate to be understood

Know fate is real or it just wouldn’t exist

Katelyn 5

When I passed the church it was the Middle Ages

When they said hello it was the Middle Ages even more

I girded my face with the wool of my coat’s sleeve

I made it steel-like and wandered down into a cave

Customers who come in contact with trains enter saint mode

They practice flapping

The spoiled quest of making noise

I ignored the angels

So my children took their paths into a world of eternal punishment

And my husband does not believe in true love

And the child I mention is so kind it makes me angry

One poet said we write this way to forget

All contradiction made for forgetting

All grass the condition of flesh

But to forget is an abstract concept

Nobody owns the meaning of these things

People do not speak in sentences

We are not made alive to sentences alone

Courtney Bush is a poet and filmmaker from Biloxi, Mississippi. She has an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College.