Grace Notes – Dana Guth


Don’t judge the flies
dive-bombing the phantasm
in your mouth

or the boar that suckles on wood
missing its mother

sometimes you just have to latch
where it hurts most

I am trying to stamp out
your attention

on your back
that bleating thorax
the spider-bulb it opens
like a flower

You could freeze-dry and snort
my permissions

Someone wild
looks out of me

and catches your image
on the broken shackles of light
the rain cherries’ impure

This is my entire knowledge of science
which is to say

when you eat off the floor
I like it


Ranked-Choice Voting

Fenced in the public

where priests and monks
force a masticated lack
in the cud

without generational

and the gore of stray canines
tearing open a melon
haunting me

when I bite into sour fruits
I can taste the dead heart of the universe
a stucco kitchen

where you cracked eggs on a VitaMix
and our veins pulsed

and whereas I do not have any readers
and am generally unsure of my shape

the electric shock
warm and wonderful, I feel it

because I did not believe in the human soul
at last year’s Gathering of the Juggalos
I left with many soul-bruises
and a blown-out tattoo of an ox

in those days
there were some very exciting things
happening inside me

now I am a little mouse
nibbling her tail
it’s not illegal

so when I saw our love scuttle
across the floor I squashed
it with my heel

because I wanted to be
beautiful and feared

or because
I would rather go to hell
than undress a feeling

and I have never cared
for intelligence

not with these eyebrows,
not in this economy

of wax and diuretics
in which I could never afford
a life together

so when you take
your final leave of me

I lean over the railing
feel the air whip my face
and the salival throbs



I use my hands to
tickle a grand piano
after vomiting
in your father’s bathroom
A real problem
you and I—unquixotic
premature— you stir
butter into coffee cups
as if that’s normal
Tibetan Book of the Dead
props up my knees
There are eyes in the body
death drives, terrible orchids
a preserved moose skull
I cannot give birth
to ersatz notions
of godliness pristine girl
head—Give me kratom
or Give me love! whichever
gravity stirs up
such wild carnage I said
I am shearing my dreams’
thick sheep he said you’re
bugging out he said
ba da da da
baby just shove it
in a poem


with my face on the ground i can hear the earth bleating

i use my big sharp teeth
to drain the scallop

fold the napkin
at its corner

fill the hourglass
with sand

the urn I press
my thumb inside

imprinting shallow
human race

i watch the funeral
on HBO Max

a bullet tears
through a papaya

i dress my thoughts
with lime

staying horny for near-death

like the first day you were
asked to handle

poison? i don’t know
i don’t know,

i always had a television
it is how i learned to love



Plucking porcupine quills
out of the cat

its laws of regression,
plugged like
soy in the bones?

I feel rigid with domestic

This is not a manifesto
it is my “Experience drinking water”


I squirt ketchup on a paper plate
and picture the body of Christ

Sorry I’m so addicted to myself
I do not write about

The throat’s secretions, the end
of the world


Let’s just
watch a dirty movie

with a glass of spiked orange juice
and hands dead in our laps

It’s alright


I saw you flexing in the mirror and your lips moved
it was really magnificent

But when you called me to bed
you looked like a cockroach
rolled on its back


I felt this curl in my stomach for weeks
clasping un-clasping my bra

scanning insurance cards
noticing phlegm the brittle
walk home