Lawrence Lenhart

      Phase Between Walls

I lease-end nomad / prick pin tumbler lock / would twist

metal / and has yet to snoop / called untamable / a needle

nestles in the ’stack / post-idiomatic / whose rhetoric of

inevitability / cursory glances @laundry_basket / last worn

unwashed cloth / to pick through a stranger’s decisions /

who would not open any drawers except for / the fork

for spirali / soaked in marinara / and Q-tips / more Kleenex /

less Xanax | “bubble butt / single mother bubble butt” /

hum the self to center / hum the song of summer / even

Pavlov would salivate from time to time, a colleague attests

/ who has an actual need for Scotch tape / stacks of

stationary / a digital ransack / in four formats / NATO

single-filed / for a single file, buffering | digital cryonics /

an organ hits the jackpot / copy/paste / paste/play /

play/shame / shame/shame / any cryptic admission of

guilt / heaps insult to salt of the wound / cloud as bladder

/ unwound photo negatives / fits an eye to each frame like

a tinted monocle / there’s such a thing as sunglass / to

wrench something innocent out of its innocence / to bleach

washcloths / in a sense / a toro+ojo | to evict myself again /

to throw clothes in the street / to float naked with

monsoon’s detritus / to flush the contiguous self /

perpendicular with the alley / and parallel with the plumb

/ I future-hoped word would get out / and everyone would

come to the banks to watch the river / churn me in its

flume / throttle me in my downspout shame / by now, I

will have invited you with a bullhorn: / Aquí vengo / Ahora

voy

 

Op. 46 for Fiddle

Between steakhouse and inn / a corridor of burrograss /

black patch, its perimeter circumtread / gives vertigo of

antipodes on mystery atlas / feels like jumping into a

hollow shallow as shale or deep as core / maybe patch as

womb (may be fetal) / maybe patch as tomb (fatal, interred)

/ straddle the fence like desert canoe / brushing through

gray and gold nocturne / teetering above Mojave rattlers’

roping / in Sonoita Inn, the tumble-on A/C petrifies nipple

in palm / but to sleep like Ricky and Lucy / dream madly

on my double / (of Venus: myrtle wreathing the scalp, her

legs split into long vector paths, and a pea ascending to my

mouth by its little wings) / the stick is slick on the fiddle /

sisters flung on the floor / the sporadicity of psychosexual

throb / the nature of sleep on the range / dawn’s for an

hour / lower spine and faint cleft / I am thinking at your

back / the way you practiced my last name in cursive / if

napkin were contract / clots of fog hover / forearm swats

the pane: fly down

 

To Unlock Her Silent Throat: Captions for Swan Dioramas (I-V)

I.

Sonoran desert range: A bevy of taxidermied swans zip-line

landing from tarry twilight, insomnious girths of white

plumage descending on cactus arms, needled and preening.

II.

Three hokey mannequins: a Grecian slave, a French

naturalist, a Russian composer.

At close range, their features cohere. It’s Aesop, his arms

around Audubon and Tchaikovsky. With gun and baton in

hand, they listen: “The swan sings a song as a prelude to its

own demise.” The drywall behind the mannequins is

stenciled with beamed hemidemisemiquavers.

III.

a.            On the ridge of a Rincon saddle, a mannequin holds his

tiny machine to zenith (like a guitar tuner or a channel

changer), aimed and triggered for result. If you’re so

compelled, cross the velvet ropes.

b.           See the mannequin’s pupils widened in darkness, a well

through which light enters the retina. Apertural. I’ve

stowed a 3.0-mm screwdriver in the mannequin’s flannel

breast pocket.

c.           Open the machine for autopsy: remove its photovoltaic

sensor: place it on your tongue, lips sealed: personal

dark. Lark datum. 

IV.

A hole I’ve carved through the lath and plaster ceiling.

Looking through it, you’ll see a swan constellation. Roosted

at zenith, a-Cygni flickers as if by a galactic dimmer switch. 

 

Pima County Outdoor Lighting Code (Erasure)

101.1              shall be known for the son, Arizona

shall be such and will

red provisions

101.2              his code to alter

 a rough count

101.3              posed to vet

elations of the horizon heir

que [desierto]

environ me dark sky

I waste energy while composing

nighttime acts

to contuse and caress [the] sage

reduce levels of order

enough lumens to

dance, mend, or practice

101.4              romance with codes

visions of code

the author is under inspection

 

A Demonstration Concerning the Motion of Light: light constant / constant light

<1> in which c stands for light constant, or constant [of] light, as

in speed of light in a vacuum, equivalent to high noon, Tucson

city limits in vacuo <2> later, when the horizon dims to just 60

fleet watts, ephemeral and lamp-bright, when many septillion

suns watt where you’re not <3> on the first night of night lights

inaugural, the Chicago Athletic Association bested West Point

(14-0) <4> “Are you ready for some…” ragtime turned country,

a Joplin-Hank Jr. mashup to stuporous Bud-lit fanfare <5> how

sport saturates night sky, electrons’ synco-circuitry, spectacle of

metal halide floodlights <6> in which C stands for Captain his

badge for coin flip for ‘call it’ for cheerleader whose cock tease

for clarinets for cornets for congas for cowbells the corps all in

capes for color guard for team colors for cheese on my nachos for

Coach whose cranky for cousins all-state for confined to the

sidelines for concussed for complete pass for cleats for carries per

game for college scouts on the Fifty for charging down field for

collision for calamitous for concussion (another) for clutching the

air paralytic for culture for crisis for dark-blue conservatism for

carried by stretcher for clap as rally for clock unwinding for

competition for conclusion of game for champagne and its cork

<7> for condomlessness as carelessness for climax lights out

A Demonstration Concerning the Motion of Light: por favor, responda

You’re invited to a field upon which former linebackers jack up wetbacks, plug gaps in the border. You’re invited to a field of dreams deferred by Gatorade coolers punctured by bullets’ spite, scoping for a bullseye spout, a target practice game of sadistic sideline drought. Have you ever seen a man so thirsty he drank antifreeze, turned Smurf blue, had his stomach pumped by a naturalized paramedic?  You’re invited to witness the migrant’s slog three emmay pay ahchay across spiny turf. You’re invited to a borderland ranch post-open range post-humanism cobbled with skeletal others truest end zone dias de los muertos año de los muertos You’re invited to squint at the metro’s stray light from afar from a furrow to any such subterraneous east or west of San Luis, Lukeville, Sasabe, Nogales, Naco, and Douglas where the lines of scrimmage squiggle out of arc of predator drones’ flood lights. You’re invited to generous portions of dark, dark wedges and valleys of dark, switchbacks and caminos graded for recreational ATVs. You’re invited to the jojoba grove where one might have prematurely whispered ya casi llegamos ‘We’re almost there’ miles away from any state road where a gringo child booms into his Big Gulp cup, “Are we almost there?” You’re invited to border warp speed in which faster-than-light means survival in which –c stands for dark constant, speed of dark, equivalent to shadow velocity in crater or canyon, all burrows evacuated nocturnal critters abound for the cholla and creosote stinging, stinking for comets speed of Chance for our captain mi padre, coyotaje for constellation for all points intercardinal for caloric calculus for the dream’s dim consolation for the santo ¢ | Por favor, responda.

 

Peak Wilderness

for Gadsden & I’Itoi

            as if petroglyphs were just barcodes                  for-sale origins

                 Gadsden paid a pittance for                   the navel of the earth    

               lands south of Gila River                      eons of gestation 

        & west of Rio Grande                   bore bean eaters-cum-desert dwellers

            where they now measure            creation, a fragile custody

        rotation curves of distant                jaguars will attest, Se:he will too to

               galaxies, obliviate                  Tohono O'odham cosmology

               . .  .   .    .     .      .               which tarries here where

            those distances with           reservation electricity generated from

          a fifteen-ton mirror       labyrinth center, I’Itoi’s cave, his motif

       reflecting Godward    his electric good god word

 

                              

LAWRENCE LENHART graduated with his MFA from the University of Arizona. His work appears or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Sundog Lit, Wag’s Revue, Hot Metal Bridge, theNewerYork, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and is the reviews editor and an assistant fiction editor of DIAGRAM.