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. 

Peter Burzynski


I used to know this man 
who would crack 

all of the world’s piñatas: 
young, old, factory-made, 
papier-mâché. Reckless 
harvest; he didn’t care, 

he wanted the clamber. 
The animate fall—he 
killed so many children 
that records could no 
longer tally the debris.

Madame Shouldn’t Sleep

Madame leaves every morning at 8:45. Madame understands time 
is an arbitrary construct, but she likes having time to dance, time to play 
on the grass, lie on the grass with one eye closed. With the other half- 
opened she can pretend to eat the moon. Madame understands 
the necessity of physics, the frugality of physics, but tries to contradict 
their game. Madame never sees anything sleep because sleeping things 
have always made her cry—dripping mascara into liner, into blush. 
Madame’s liver is failing. 

Madame’s teeth are failing. She now has a plaque on her tongue. 

Madame doesn’t care for the half-hearted way in which most 
anthems are sung. Madame has grown weary 

of masturbating in bed—the soft push and the ruffle of stale sheets. 
Madame no longer uses a comb.

Not Swan 

                      Dear ghost, 
without       heartbeat, 
beckoning asphyxiate 
vices                     shame. 

A mouthful of dinosaur 
brain. New York City, 
Union Square, be full— 
diminished without
 you               gorgeous.


His favorite souvenir was a scarf with blue and green stripes on one side. He found it in a fabric shop in London and paid 8 Quid. He didn’t realize the pattern wasn’t finished on the other side. Nonetheless he loved his defective scarf until he lost it one night (along with his money) at a casino. 


Peter Burzynski ( is a second-year PhD student in Creative Writing-Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.F.A. in Poetry from The New School University, and a M.A. in Polish Literature from Columbia University.  

In between his studies, he has worked as a Sous-Chef in New York City and Milwaukee.  His poetry has appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, Yes Poetry, Thrush Poetry Review, Your Impossible Voice, the Unrorean, BORT Quarterly, Hobo Pancakes, The Great Lakes Review, Kritya, Bar None Group, Zombie Logic Review, and Fuck Poems Anthology with poems forthcoming from RHINO, Prick of the Spindle, The Mackinac, White Stag Journal, The Portland Review, and Forklift Ohio.