from Empty Held Is Spooky




morning was downright honest            partly cloudy, a good day
                                      wide and fumbling
                            the hands inside my hands know something
                            asymptotic to the vanishing point
		especially watchful		miles and miles
	black tarry stool		and vomit that looks like coffee grounds
				    breathing room
				    not empty
what i’m saying
is worsening


These Tics Are Satellites

we’re everyone i saw grieving or singing in the photo trace the legibility trace the contours trace the angelic motes we’re everyone i saw grieving or singing in the photo the audience is a map or the audience is terrain i saw so much space but all unzipped i saw memory fleshed i slipped i saw heap of slapstick in the photo where everyone grieving or singing signing sighing everywhere i saw traces of angelic legibility or maps traced over maps traced over people over contours of proximity bloating

Initial Conditions

inching toward. circling back. “nothing but the beginning of terror.” write it. the dreaded event.
made up solely of corners. persistent thoughts, impulses, or images. “there remains.” amputated fingers. lined up and held in place.
not connected in any realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize. “it moved in and never left.” blink. blank. “fling the emptiness.” preventative measures. “as if every event announced a beloved.” (e.g. praying, counting, repeating words silently)
“begin again.” perfect. “and again.” ghost is a shove. intrusive. “for there is no place we can remain.” everything chirps duration. “voices.” interferes with normal activities.
“to inhabit.” one remembers teeth. a pervasive pattern. “no longer desire one’s desires.” scraping against it. “in the end.” details, rules, lists. “the void felt.” shrunk.

Diagnostic Criteria 1

i translate the night. its asthmatic staccato. it’s shriveled prick. then shut the window. there’s a crispness in the air that reminds me nothing of apples.

[persistent eating of nonnutritive substances]

persistent eating of nonnutritive substances. perfectionism. exaggerated startle response. edema of extremities. vivid dreams, nightmares, or increased dreaming. hostility. increased sweating. difficulty concentrating. dread. inability to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value. bruxism. hypervigilance. marked avoidance of stimuli. extreme elation. hallucinations. memory problems. new or worsening. involuntary choking. details, rules, lists, order. to suddenly lose one’s normal standing upright position. experienced at some time during the disturbance. malaise. a general widespread pain. baldness. hypersomnia. disequilibrium. suddenly violent or forceful. metallic taste. on the face or limbs. fits of weeping. lack of oxygen to the brain. not accounted for by cultural or religious affiliation. can’t seem to shake off the irrational feeling.  pill cravings. pain in a tooth above and below the gum line. emotional lability. somnolence. extreme sensitivity of body tissues due to substances in the air. associated with three or more of the following. nosebleeds. jaw stiffness. thirst. suicide attempt. possible injury to the throat. yawning. abnormally heavy menstrual period. pupils dilated. cardiac failure. a buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound. attempts to ignore. hypoesthesia. hyperventilation. sudden, severe, uncontrollable and painful shortening and thickening of the muscles in the belly. recurrent, persistent. agoraphobia. seizures. hyperventilation. photopsia. burning. not imposed from without. persistent and unpleasant memories. body vibrations. significantly interfere with the person’s routine. blurred vision. migraines. horror. in children, this may be expressed by disorganized or agitated behavior. dissociative amnesia. motor restlessness. with atypical features. not confined to features of an axis 1 disorder. vertigo. being contaminated. overeating. paranoia. delusions. diarrhea. repetitive thoughts or songs. worsened depression. flu-like symptoms. impairment in cognitive function. of a violent and/or sexual nature. insects crawling on skin. inappropriate guilt. chills. anhedonia. especially in the torso. empty. a specific plan for committing. catatonia. pressure to keep talking. bruising. hopelessness. must be severe enough. a strong, unnatural craving for moisture. dull, persistent. uncontrolled. tics. dry lips. rashes. loss of the ability to move the body with coordination. bloody stool. aphasia. creates a purple discoloration. a pervasive pattern of preoccupation. something to be hoarded for future catastrophes. rapid or forceful thumping or fluttering. more days than not. at least six months. not simply excessive worries about real-life problems.


Photo courtesy of Debbie Easley.

Jordan Soyka runs the New Orleans chapter of The Poetry Brothel. His work has been published in GlitterPony, > kill author, Spork blog, Cave Wall, Horse Less Review, TENDERLOIN, The Quarterly Conversation and La Petite Zine, as well as the Fuck Poems anthology (Lavender Ink), and is forthcoming in Similar Peaks.