The Coast of Old Barbary

A bird builds a nest in your neck.
It’s a Magnificent Frigate Bird

& its nests are legion.             Your sentences,
understandably, stray.             Your days

grow confusing & you’re compelled
to the sea where you begin choking on a shanty.

You hunt albatross & then their life-mates
miles away, adapting your scrimshaw
to their sizes’ shapes.             The crag

of your jaw beaks neatly out. You wear
your windburn like new panties.

Your neck’s magnificent crag            beaks stray
You hunt            your sentences            your days

You hunted             my pine            in
                        these safe sheets            calling

the water             our feathers                        belly-white             and buried.


Of Bang & Blab

I consider my life’s plain
accumulation of facts. Crickets saw

the hour down.            You returned
the wine, earlier, from your glass

to the bottle.
It drained all
the heat from your fingers.

I say, “Trees,
please keep it down …

your compulsions.
Let’s pull it together!”

I survey my surround
as a satellite

& catch a glance— the edge
of witness—the eerie twitch
it takes to turn

the fir to fire.

Let’s start this conversation
some place new. Make me
an inventory of all the places

your fingers have been.

Please shut up. There there.
It’s the architecture—the damning

maze of angles so formulaic
you lose yourself without being lost.


Big Howlin’ Blind Monet & His Mud-lily Wolfband

At your funeral, I surveyed your exes
& felt a disconnect until I remembered
that the railroads were responsible

for both French Impressionism
& Chicago blues. In truth it was your wedding

& you’re still around, winning
no dispensation from each morning’s milk-thick lighting.

What is gained & lost & gained again
by being the narrator.

I’m far enough in debt to context that I write
the index first, that I insist the ablation of the text
is to heighten the other senses & stall this memory

in mid-air. If my fingers are tiny paws,
then I was pawing at my eyes.


BJ SOLOY plays guitar, banjo, washboard, and suitcase drumkit in the anachronistic prog-yawp outfit "Dear Sister Killdeer," and has poems published or forthcoming in New American WritingColorado ReviewCourt Green,  CutBankMipoEsiasColumbia Poetry ReviewStarting Today (University of Iowa Press) and DIAGRAM, among others.