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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

j.g.’s rivermouth tango

By: Nikki Martin

crowd surges closer toGather in the heatair scenting wet

grass, denim, cotton commingle with the sweat of several thousand

strangers all with one common blessed beat escaping from bones as ecstaticshouts/orgasmicscreams crest

and burst




lost a friend in the handforest but find

ten JaneandJohnDoes on my shirtsleeves from Alberta Idaho parts unknown making


introductions and apologizing (ahead of time) for the upcoming

travel of wellmeaning limbs finding places to root

quickly-now-once-more-round-the-circle names we treasure tonight and misplace in the morning as sonicdawns rinse them into new irises

WAIT! wait

Expectant hush among frenetic acolytes—momentary clenching of muscles then




riptidehumanwavepicks us up so-much-driftwood carries forward periphery bare shoulders, whipping hair, sweat in nose, light in eyes—a moment splits

and thousands are drowned and reborn

a body washes up against familiar land as you crest on the shore of my back pockets heaving and recatching eyes in the diamondnetsofnight and steel guitar we tangle clinging/kelp to holdfast swaying in strange dances to solar-flares and deep water upwellings stripping off layers of clothing that impede the sensation of motion



belt-loops—hands-on hands) conducting older syncopations under butane fireflies buffeted by shorewinds until

soon—too soon splayed palms and pressing digits sacrifice to ovations

hyperactive breath in ears chin to nape clutching until the storm shifts and rips us loose of mooring.

I lost

all of you

except (for fingerprints

onmyskin and a name onmylips)

Remember. I remember

summers are supposed to be magic.


Nikki Martin has been writing poetry since the age of six. After stints as a sound designer, radio producer, radical press printing assistant, and arts/music festival production professional, she's honored that you're reading her poem.

"You could say this poem is an homage to music, youth, and missed connections. I'm an avid music fan and grew up north of Seattle during the '90s. Back in the "indie" boom of the early 2000's, when the Sasquatch Music Festival was still independently operated, they decided to go to three days. Located at the Gorge at George, a friend and I drove across the state to attend. On the second day of the festival bullet-sized hail came suddenly upon us out of a clear-blue sky interrupting the programming flow. Since people weren't allowed to re-enter, those in General Admission got to know each other more than usual while sheltering under any item that could be found. It caused a lot of excitement and spontaneous camaraderie. The stage crews were scrambling to get the sets back on track, and sans an official announcement, rumors started swirling about a line up change. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals were supposed to close out the night after The Flaming Lips, but as the set time for the Lips grew closer more and more people started coming out of the amphitheatre into the GA area. As people packed in, it got harder and harder to keep track of who was around you and where your friends were. I was single, in my early twenties, and I landed in a crew of people I didn't know, including one particular young man. It turned out there was in fact a set switch, and suddenly double the amount of fans were looking for places to stand. We both ended up getting individually jostled to the mid-stage area, separated from all of our friends and unable to move to look for them. We recognized each other, made the best of it, the crowd took us in different directions during the next set change and well...that's life. I hope you enjoyed it and thank you so much for reading or listening to my piece."


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