A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Christopher Citro & Dustin Nightingale


The Explosion Lands Us All
on Queer Street 


You  look  like  you're  waiting  for  someone  to lay a towel
around your neck, like a boxer on a little stool. A Japanese
condom filled with air and ice bucket water. That could be
a painting of the moon. Airships were once the going thing.
Big balloons floating above us like we're all jerks.  Imagine,
little  people  inside   drinking  bubbly   wine   and  laughing
toward  each  other  charmingly. Thin skins in the sky. When
it happens they all say why why why? Why not why why why?
And   the  answer   is   easy.    The   sun   sets.   Red  falls from
the sky, gets all over us.  Have you ever  stood  in the middle
of a film and  just   walked   out   of  the theater?   I  know you
have.   Because  I followed  you.   When  you're  sitting   there
watching  both your hands and what they might do next, I'm
right  behind  you like a stop sign  with the stop shot out. The
sound of  screaming from  above.  Ten years until the  ringing
of some bell.


Did I Mention I Am in Room 103?


The  perfect  bedroom  is one  with   sailing  ships  along  the
walls.  The window  tongued  with  rain. A sack of lemon salt
above the door.  My  teeth are  falling out  in my dreams and
waking life and  I cannot stop  thinking of a  planet made  of
something  clean  that isn't bleach. If I had a boat I wouldn't
know how to get on it, batten down anything, or find  a   star
to  steer  by.   What  I  know  about  is  get out  of  bed  when I
can't breathe,  stand  at the  kitchen  sink and swallow water
until I  can  feel  like boats inside.   Isn't  it  too  obvious  when
they sink?   But they do!   And  people  go  to  see  what  is  left
behind.   Like a songbird,   two songbirds,   trapped  inside  an
airport.   When you become  _____,   don't   be water, don't be
in  a chair. Below  in  the  street,   a  wolf  crawling  toward  the
sea.    Your   light   this    late   blinding  it.  Calm   down,   Sir,   is
definitely   not   insane   to  say   to   everything,    and   I   mean
everything:    Concrete,    the  flux  of  the  universe,   water in  a
boiled   whatever  (insert  something  terribly  important   here)
or  yourself  or  a  fizzy drink.  Salvage  vessels  like  teeth  rising
along the horizon.




Prrrr--Tweeet o
 Prrr-Tweet o 


It  still  breaks my  heart  to think  of myself  as a young man
who wanted to do as much good as he did harm. I bloom in
you and I watch myself from the backyard window. Pounds
of moonlight.   Me  taking  the  strain,  or  trying  to.  Nobody
should  take  it.   There  is  a  reason  there  is  a center of  the
earth. If you want to become weightless then I want to help.
There is  a  reason most desperate phone calls are at night. I
will   stay   awake   until   morning   with  my   mouth  to  your
breast  humming  just  a  bit  off  key.  Each  day  of  the  week,
the  moss  pulling  toward  us  with   a   green   light.  A copper
taste  in  my  mouth,  beginning  to  feel  another  skull  inside
my   skull.    If you   need  to  bite  down  a  little  to  keep  from
floating away, bite down on me.


I have saved every answering machine/voicemail message I have gotten since leaving home at age 18. In mediation, I can offer these lines from Stephen Dunn’s poem “Empathy” - Once in a small rented room, awaiting/a night call from a distant time zone,/I understood you could feel  so futureless/you’d want to get a mermaid//tattooed on your biceps.

Christopher Citro is the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books,2015), and his poems appear or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2014, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry Northwest.


I applied to work at the Mark Twain House Souvenir Shop, but didn’t get the job.

Dustin Nightingale lives in West Hartford, Connecticut. His poetry has been or will be published in journals such as new ohio review, Margie, Cimarron Review, Portland Review, and decomP.