The One Where Nothing Called Back

John Beer


Language was the waters that took me.
As I went down, I clutched at some book
titled Jealousy, titled The Emergence of Social Space.
People, I’m a lady on the move.

The rest of the night unfolded like a tourniquet.
Tell me a little more about what you want.
Did I ever meet you, for instance,
on the supermarket floor

Aisle 12 remains unbroken
Aisle 13 oxycodone
Aisle 14 sugar sugar sugar
Aisle 15 where I broke apart

Aisle 12 find the restroom
Aisle 13 dexadrine ritalin pharmaceutical cocaine
Aisle 14 I can’t fucking stop coughing
Aisle 15 you sat down alone

Next to the elevator I felt happy.
The rest of the night unfolded like a cobra.



John Beer is the author of The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium, 2010), which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Last year brought the chapbook Lucinda I-IV (Spork) & the edited volume Poems (1962-1997) by Robert Lax (Wave); the full-length Lucinda will appear in 2016. He teaches creative writing at Portland State University.



Editor’s Note:

For the Autumn, this column will tour the Pacific Northwest.

If Cascadia, the kinda-amorphous political/bio region that encompasses the upper-left states and British Columbia, were a faction in an MMORPG, Cascadians would get bonuses to crafting and diplomacy. Favored classes would be Alchemists, Bards, and Druids. Intro quests would be “Find some Chanterelle mushrooms!” and “Attend that chiptune-folk-metal concert/performance art piece!” or “Get out of bed before noon!” Obviously, this style of play would only appeal to a certain kind of player. Obviously you’re not going to be shitting gold. Anyone who’s played an MMORPG for any length of time will tell you, you’re mostly playing against yourself.