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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Too Hungry at a Wake; Equator Bound

By: Josh Lowder

Too Hungry at a Wake

—for Charlie W.

Misgiving, mister priss, melodic momentum

discordant priority over meaning, the grassed

meadowlarks wave, flaunt, galavant louder all

the time. Belittle my sublingual pretzel by pressing

delete and moving forward one space

for all of us. The less we know, the better.

Too much information isn’t wisdom when you’re in

an urn—so sow yourself at the music festival,

taint the sweat of the next thousand to be

cremated and sown the same. I am lameness.

Show me your clever palate and I’ll reveal

my troubled cleft beyond these thrummed, atonal


Equator Bound

—after Robby Maynor’s short story, “Songs of Parting”

Sloughing rubber south down a flooding 17

past Hollywood, SC, I saw Edgar Cayce, thumb out and doubt-

devoid duffle in hand. I stopped just over the Gullah line and turned

Daufuskie into the last, as Ed tossed his soul force through the back

window before sleeping and settling in the same motion

beside my own. I drove on, following only what I could

decipher, Sumerian translated Atlantian between lewder

limericks still, leaving gaps from age to age. I, a mighty pyramid

myself, enwombed with Thoth’s most recent emissary, felt my own

vapor defog with the window as we escaped

drenched, and I strumming his lyre to coax wisdom free and both one

with the y'all.


Josh received his Poetry MFA from The College of Charleston, SC in 2018, where Erica Dawson selected him for the first Crazyhorse MFA Poetry Prize; he’s contributed at Sewanee Writers Conference, road-managed rock bands like Fu-Manchu, and even appeared in Adult Swim’s Too Many Cooks cattle-call one off-day. At his most earnest, he’s longed—along with good old Edgar Cayce—to better understand the ancient truths that once united one mythic, antediluvian society around this entire blue marble (‘we can only dig so deep and hide so many giants’ won’t subdue us forever, academe). Now, he humbly, appropriately, wants to hug everyone from within his hazmat suit. Because we all need a hug right now so badly we’re killing each other to be mightily right, or just survive, and that ain’t love—no way. What he cannot achieve alone, soon we will all achieve together—in Hope Springs.

Too Hungry at a Wake:

"As we’ve all experienced, some more than others (big ups to my Type 1’s and 2’s), low blood sugar can sour a mood and cloud judgement. And this is one I could only have written with Charlie’s celestial permission and divine guidance. I was very sad when I wrote this, having returned from a long wake in his honor and wanting to capture the spirit as much as any literal activity (no ashes were sown publicly for those worried) from the event. The title was originally much longer than the poem itself, but was too serious. Charlie and I loved laughing and live music, often at the same time. When he chose his own exit, despite so much support not to, I saw a glaring hole in all our lives, and a hunger more divine than any fast food could ever sate—hence all the negative space."

Equator Bound:

"Equator Bound attempts far more than it’s confines permit, blending a present-day southern, Gullah heritage and landscape with alternative archeology to express the longing we all share to reconvene as one humanity, to set all pettiness, hate, and fear aside in the hopes of rebuilding Babel’s ill-fated tower. I was raised with love and the bible, but still sought truth through experience and fantasy (viz. met mother earth and learned her name)—binding fate to my two back pockets and taking the chute more often than the ladder, ‘wheeeeee’ and ‘building testimony’ as my parents or pastor might say. Now, loosely affixed to the gameboard’s center, the time to climb shines mid-life, mid-pandemic, mid-societal unrest between the mightily right and too many still fighting to survive: my renewed, cosmic node still seeks other stations broadcasting max-wattage agape above the prevailing noise along this shared frequency.

The idea to encounter Ed Cayce came from reading Robby’s story about encountering a hitch-hiking Whitman, all credit to the young minds among us, as I wondered who’ve we lost I’d enjoy ‘free-Ubering’ away, or to. The form includes no deliberate enjambment, despite appearances to the contrary, as I used tabbed indentation to push thoughts or phrases apart at natural (or not so) caesuras and distances, then indented the whole thing as it has to live some kinda way on the page (naughty Cullerian, I), but if we copy the text into a digital window and play with its size, who knows what you or I might discover while wrapping a single line of text? Or am I just down another chute? You’re welcome to get to know me and decide for yourself, but I feel the time for games passing away with our national pastimes #goBrave. While we’re not literally between sips of societal hemlock yet, now more than ever should we ‘live the self-examined life’ and find the confidence to reach others sans fear, plus love.

Whoa, there, microbiome: six feet in any direction around my bubble will do just fine, please and thanks”, and the COVID woes dust their crumbs."


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