Two Poems by Eric Amling

Amling Bomb 3

Eric Amling. From Vex’d Discretion, 2016, gold leaf and collage on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Cold Open

It was a standard dandelion…one that inspired me to write on a variety of topics that have wide appeal…smooth out sentiments…and find an effortless distinction between response and declaration…

I had a direct line to the specters of daytime television…dipping back into the Beatitudes…contempt after contempt…non-conceptual, non-millennial…just work that will interest any adult who loves dogs…and equate the mysticism of literature to the all-night revolutions of the deli wiener…

For years I’ve tried to say something about the circumstance, where you work to construct an edifice…but find yourself unable to part with the scaffolding…the Sublime just a steaming pool of reason…like fighting off the kind of sleep that will exonerate your will to live…badgering the witness of your genius…with the bigots that host you during the darkest holidays…

Sometimes you need to look back to see that you’re not bleeding…to settle a past grievance with a Goldberg device…this optimistic vision is a central theme in my propaganda…not to disappoint people that want to see drama and adventure but mostly suspense… joy straddling sin…a cultural Baywatch in slow motion—jiggling—saline—coconut essence…immaterial crucial to my pursuit… in being accused of being inspired… 

I think there are a lot of people out there who would like good poetry…though not a full-time writer, I’ve been fortunate to be published and compensated a few times…but I don’t love poetry enough for this job…

But I’m back for some self-indulgence…working on this passage in the rain…where a kind word can be the Lazarus Effect to the deaf…satiated by the knock-offs of activism…walking the red carpet to the premier of your own self-esteem…learning to edge the Internet…mild thematic events bringing a contrived tranquility…a showcase of conception…here, still in the rain…in the mint light of an afternoon, when trending topics bring humanity to a bended knee…

I’m going to switch out of the first person for a moment if that’s alright…this goes beyond ego and vanity…to phrase it differently…supposing you aren’t expecting any stimulus from the external world…you see—this is politics…it’s nothing personal…had you known there’s no competition out there…the idea of self-convicted love…how your depression will go greatly under-appreciated…

Consider Satan’s feelings…as love is the anvil that shaped the scythe…let summer loosen your expectations…the hottest night of the year…in a little leather pouch…I want to stop writing good poems…but I’m for spontaneity…I believe in siesta…after all it’s from the body…where production and truth converge…but the mind and body are vicious neighbors…and erotic realism…that’s a thing…learning to love again…

I’m not a moonchild smoking by a national fountain…I’m a bit laissez-faire when it comes to birthstones…to allow that type of magic into my life…you can’t take hold of the true merely by abandoning the false…the adequate doldrums…the future…right there…in a foggy field…a dark structure you walk towards but never arrive…mirroring a dandelion…this book is not something to give an ailing friend…but people that like to laugh will not be disappointed here…and what I said earlier…about poetry…it’s as close to the real thing that I can get…I may have succeeded but you are the better judge…

Amling Bomb 1

Eric Amling. From Vex’d Discretion, 2016, gold leaf and collage on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Le Everything

I fall into a category

some people would call them moods

philanthropic binges

I know someone that is weird

with money

crestfallen in their North Face

like I used to

wish to be kidnapped

among the ruins

and aroused uncontrollably


the bad burlesque

would rid me of cowardliness

holding shattered dreams together

with cum and sand

cum—a kind of stardust

with a stamina I civilize

clearing any possibility of fun

from the room

fourteen types of domesticated food plants

so many varieties of salad bowls in the world

but I can do with this one whatever I want

this one is mine


in suede loafers and decade-old sunblock

a hard shadow on my gym bag


will not be saved today

I meet babies in dollar stores

I experience the uncanny valley

then head home

to the bar

to see my babies


I’m enough for me

but finding me was a long process

for a while I was just what they wanted

eclipsing timelines

surfing the slime

Americans are all the same

an adage



using prayer to solve our issues

in that asking a god

to clean up after us

is to ask a god

to practice bad parenting


demonstrative crime blotter with

the top ten shootings of the year

trying to upsell disenfranchisement

a country in need of glock karma

the morgue

a cold boudoir

practically a peace accord

with organ donors

tax haven lucre

warm PO box

below a palm tree

swaying to the hum

of weed whackers

a career

pressed up against the wall of a feeling

in a free-market dungeon


I have contributed the way I thought I would

with cool strife

continuing to eat my miscellany

it’s not as lucrative as it seems

dry-humping arbitrations


mister one-liner

living in order


I’m not sure

beget a rubicon

like the champagne of cancers

though I probably can’t even

get cancer correctly

that’s how serious this mood is


those ‘Ugly Human Shapes and Visages’ (Shelley)

those ‘Poems + Private Ejaculations’ (Twombly)

in the middle of the night when there is no one else

I am the interloper


a wealth of wicked memoirs

lubing their own adventures

carving out a small piece of the infinite

just as you dream

of a succubus

a system of black holes

organs of a supreme magical operation

moved beyond knowledge

ready the ghosts

ready the originals

the sequels

my tardy savior

et al

Eric Amling is the author of From the Author’s Private Collection (Birds, LLC, 2015) and editor of the small press, After Hours Ltd.

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