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. 

Clay Ventre




then the sun exploded
and we all had about 
eight  minutes 
and all the traffic cops 
un-crossed their arms
and stopped looking the same

parking lots were in a frenzy
and all the animals 
zigzagged every-which-a-way
then they all hit-the-dip

and all the insects
laughed their tiny
insect laughs

strippers found modesty
and some priests thought
God would be a good idea

but God with infinite
took that forever 
to make up his mind 

and words were
as grappling-hooks
in everyone's throats
and the sick-sighed and
the mad came out of their

trees— stood 
with point-of-finger at me
and i'm backed-off the edge 
of the world


I was standing next to a random dog outside a tobacco store. A woman hands me an old flip phone, saying it’s for me, then walks away. I say hello into the phone and someone’s yelling back in angry Russian. The phone went dead within seconds, there was no one to give it back to, so I kept it. I never saw that dog again.


Clay Ventre lives in Salem, Massachusetts.