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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Who Among You

By: James Redfern

Toy piano plays insane,

trying to catch up

with harpsichord,

and a skull bends back

on the tip of a spine

laughing with dead

silver teeth.

Children kill and die and fuck

before morning recess,

and the volume is turned up

another notch.

Everybody screams

and the Ice Cream Man

remains in the kitchen,

rolling big cigars.

Who among you

can hear the toy piano,

feel the skull,

or see the children?

Shut up!

The castle is empty

and you

are all things,

—if, that is, if

you can carry the


And, by now,

the wine is spilt,

and the sands are

still ticking.

Who among you

can see any of this?

Who among you

knows the equation

of the dead?

Who among you

can hear the rapturous chords

of the marrows

of evermore?

Who among you

has tasted the thirst

of forced psychosis?

Who among you

knows the way to

the source of the river?

Who among you

can proudly wear

the riparian mud

on your eyes

and lips

and nipples?

Who among you

has read the translations

of unspoken and secret

knowledge as displayed

on the thresholds

of severed hells?

Who among you

knows how to draw

blood into a rig,

or the conjugation

of the verb to god?

Who among you

knows of the mystical gland,

or the sound of

the universe breathing?

Who among you

even knows

the way to Chicago

in a car

without a map?


James Redfern was born and raised in Long Beach, California. Redfern is a graduate of Grinnell College. His work has been published by The American Journal of Poetry, Transcend, Verity La: The Clozapine Clinic, Dime Show Review, Swimming with Elephants, Montana Mouthful, Anti-Heroin Chic, Great Lakes Poetry Press, Fear and Loathing in Long Beach, Passengers Journal, DoveTales, We Are Antifa (anthology, Into the Void), High Shelf, and elsewhere.


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