The Great Landsmen

Joseph Bradshaw

Take seven steps around the fire, unite—
We each have six more lookalikes.
My seven faces, seven seas: great lands-
Men swimming, trying to—who like me can’t.

All you great landsmen: after drowning seven times
Regenerate yourselves. Praise timelines
Refuting suns, ready your accession:
Take seven steps around your six, then spin.

Take seven steps around me, men: your nine
To five, your compass, your mise en abyme.
Take seven steps more, then four, then one,
And then none—sink away, a partition.

Sink into earth, grinded, lull in the crap—
Go, sink denuded, like you’re coming back.

Sour Octave

Joseph Bradshaw

Autocorrect me. My foul bleats, my pongs,
The lies I love: they cannot be revised.
Those haptic covenants are extra told.

The fruit of error spoils in solitude:
Bereft of solace, and harried, no one’s
Remanding voices shout, “You hear me right.”

Autocorrect me, and hear me right: my
Sneers, almost meaningful, atake contrition.
(Sneers, energized once, await reshaping.)

The fruit of anguish (also terror’s whim)
Tastes of distrust. Help me spit it and listen—
And then relisten for you, amity.

Amity, autocorrect me, temper
My octave—don’t lend me unrecovered.


Joseph Bradshaw

Haven’t been cooked, not yet, my innocence.
Yes I’m used wrong, but this isn’t confession,
Harbored refuse—it isn’t your carbon.
I’m neither your nor my discontents.

I am a coward. I can barely shield
Myself from you, as if I’m barely worth
Your affront, barely worth the simper of your breath—
Certainly not the great unveiling before its reveal.

I didn’t flinch, though, when you spoke. I gushed—
Or should I say my fingers softly
Thrummed you (still do) beyond the finale
Of my upstroke, your unobtainable hush.

And words are never the point: to be spent by you
I wake my frolic’s wrath each time anew.