Cathexis Northwest Press

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The Birds Are Singing; And Lyudmila Turns Back to Vasily to Say; New Mexico with the Ailing Father
The Birds Are Singing


Ok to no birds singing

Ok to no gold

Ok with the waiting

Ok to a smaller world than the world

Ok between fear and succor

Ok in the seen human crowd

Ok in the half organized midst

Ok astride a mixed orange liquid

Ok it’s an ugly leather coat

Ok sailor no dreamboat sailor in the rain

Ok to no birds and no mothers of birds

Ok to no movie love scene but yes rain

Ok to the 9-minute video where the artists scream into each other’s mouth until both become exhausted

Ok accepting there is not but what can be half felt

Ok with infinitely being me and then possibly being me some more

Ok to what I don't know

Ok to pretending to appreciate abstract art

Ok with chewy whelks with egg noodles

Ok to the continuations

Ok with no bees this summer

Ok with not a perfect love but a love

Ok to not enough pollinators separate male and female yellow zucchini flowers withering

Ok with the ineffable trillions of microorganisms that live in the belly of a rough skinned newt

Ok to the new therapist's orange sofa—do they ever have better art?

Ok with never seeing him again but did he know he was the first?

Ok where 21 million chickens are eaten daily

Ok to no contemporary equivalent to The Beatles

Ok with the squeamish, halting ways we talk about poems

Ok within a network of basically indistinguishable permutations

Ok with indecipherable texts from my parents

Ok to the last button on his dress shirt too small for my thumb

Ok to no exact proportions

Ok with between ten and eleven vowel sounds and words like plinth

Ok having been circumcised for almost no reason

Ok shall we dance with strangers after we’ve had two more drinks?

Ok sleeping in the valley while the shepherd blows furiously his call

Ok with no songs and no songs of birds

Ok to worry

Ok with the rain filling my mouth and my ears

Ok with how are you and good night

Ok at the train station to the sounds of a lot of black umbrellas opening

Ok with these eyes and no others

Ok to not knowing who in the room is cruel and not worth your time

Ok with the hurt if it means I get to stay

Ok touching my lips to the little hairs on your earlobe in order to be heard

Ok with a souvenir replica

Ok saying it again if I need to

And Lyudmila Turns Back to Vasily to Say


How lucky to have these minds

and sex organs that jellyfish

for example lack.


Sometimes the world is poetry and only poetry.


Others it is poetry and consistent snowfall,

good for making balled-up poems glitter.


Take a walk with me in Austin, Texas

and maybe bite my neck in the way I like.


Wage a war with me

on impersonality and clothing beneath

an image of a crabapple tree.


Red may seem the moment because

reddish are the waters of the retention ditch

we'll slip the corpse of servile Beauty into.


As Vasily turned to Lyudmila

on the Pripyat Bridge

where they were watching


the reactor burn

on Chernobyl last night

he said, “Isn’t it beautiful?”


Whereas Hedgie says there is no equivalent

for the phrase “getting wet”

in the Korean language.


Let us you and me be incredibly decisive.


Let’s write another lyric poem in the middle

of the history of the United States of America.


Then let’s do something ugly to a billionaire.

New Mexico with the Ailing Father


I explained as best I could

The three swords at the feet of the figure

The desert was a vast, obvious queer

I had my secrets

Dad looked a little like Georgia O'Keeffe

We cried on one side of a king bed

I struggled to put into words my feelings about Los Alamos

We thought we understood red and brown and yellow

I was angry

He called the bartender amigo

He was on hormones

There was a whole house inside the gallery

A phoney newspaper on the kitchen table

Apparently, it was the season for miracles

On the crowded street outside the Santa Fe Cathedral

I drew the ninth trump, the hermit

Something about trying to match at every turn

The clean curves his skis left in the snow

His lantern is a six-pointed star

His cloak is a form of discretion

He will live for 47 years in an adobe on the moon

I am sure of it

In a kind of hood, I will take his place on Earth 

And follow him inside the mountain

Max Seifert lives in Austin, Texas. His writing has previously been published by The Adroit Journal, b[OINK] Zine, Gulf Coast, and Tupelo Quarterly. He is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.