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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Heart & Tongue; Urban Metastasis

By: Jeffrey G. Wang

Heart & Tongue

The heart, in orbit, beats without a mind. Moves without a soul.

Speaks in tilled phrases, its words facilitating breaks.

Any singer could tell you: a drumbeat

of phonetics that cleave

like a toddler to

to its mother’s breasts.

It shies away from the rest, syllables

rooted in (alien) soil, rooted in centuries, thrashing

against geography, sinking like a plow

caught in quicksand.

Observe that the word is diaphanous.

That the syllable vanishes. L’s switched for R’s

roll through muscle memory.

The heart (hijacked) still curls while cauterized—

the tongue, writhing against white flares

as its vernacular is set alight.

So much for nativity, for the wooden

cases we dispatched through storms to reach land

thrumming with (foreign) tongue, smoke rising

upon the virgin horizon.

Men burn lukewarm.

Women burn slightly hotter.

The tongue (of a child) is easiest to scald.

Urban Metastasis

The city tonight is nothing but

smoke and mirrors,

smoke running its tired


through the grates

of an all-night subway

& mirrors


with the glow of

the old television shows

we have never seen,

let alone remember.

In the distance, a deli sign glows


its faint flickers clawing

through cracked cement

and chipped paint,

branded by the tracks of

one-time roadsters,

kempt by the patient brushwork

of neglect.

Perched above lay

Ahab’s oily lanterns,

their hazy glow draped over

sparks of cigarette flame,

illuminating walls of refuse that bear

a message

in Belshazzar’s name. Looking

through these shrouded skies,

I must ask:

When will the moon be worth more

than a block of stale cheese?

At what point is the incandescent

chatter inside an all-night

diner worth dissolving another pinprick

of light within the polluted sky?

Standing here alone, my voice is met

only with the echoes of

malingering alleys,

specters of ragged housing rows

That have a beginning,

but not an end.

And so I walk.

I walk through the crickets and haze,

through this American desert.

I walk through fading television static,

a silent requiem for a city



Jeffrey G. Wang is a writer and poet from San Diego, California. A Content Writer for The Adroit Journal, his work has previously been recognized with national medals from the Alliance of Young Artists & Writers and is forthcoming in The Bookends Review. In his free time, he travels away from the coast, wandering the outskirts of the Mojave. He is sixteen years old.


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