2 Poems (Brad Liening)


But all of us are covered in blood. 

We get trapped in basements and attics.

We get trapped in boiler rooms and snow drifts 

and barns and parking structures

and relationships and ditches

and debts and memories and jobs.

This becomes our lives.

We get kind of okay with the world.

Our numbers are thinned 

through murder or plain old death

but people keep having babies

and we stay horrified and busy.

We mop up the blood and people 

keep on bleeding like they do.


In this room are 1000 portals. 

Some go to silos. 

Others go to the woods. 

One takes you to the inside of a deer.

The inside of a deer

is hot and dark

but not bad.

The inside of a black hole 

is cold and dark.

You’re nowhere in particular

and you contain everything terrible and beautiful:

Beer in zero gravity.

Burning leaves.

All your friends and

a small dog named Shadow

you’re not allowed to pet

because he’ll pee.


Brad Liening is the author of Deep State Come Shining (Publication Studio Hudson). He lives in Minneapolis.


image: MM Kaufman