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to calm the mother

In by Bunc on February 3, 2019 at 9:52 pm

sauvignon stains of nostalgia which fade
to shrieks that drip red from where his door is,
tiny tooth buds blossom into switchblades
and slice her dreams open like caesuras

but never pauses. it flows unbroken,
as sure as the dawn of each brand new way
to fail her like a vow, only spoken
in old cathedrals that serve cabernet

grapes once abundant lay dead on the vein
ever since her rivers broke, post-parted,
and piped into empty cages, mundane
as these calendar pages discarded

a dry syrah, a life compressed in two
to calm the mother, any red will do


(Note: This is a reinterpretation of “Calm the Mother. Any Red Will Do” by Scheherazade Washington Parrish)


In by Bunc on November 5, 2018 at 7:51 am

Six friends Venmo’d each other after dumplings – $17 each.


On the way home, one picked up an Uber shift to help with loans,

one put on a podcast about investing her inheritance,

one got pulled over by cops for no reason,

one visited his auntie before her deportation hearing,

one got cat-called at the station,

and one privately mourned the demise of civility in politics.


But at least they had an app

for seamlessly exchanging arbitrary fractions of their net worth

while maintaining illusions of equality

and preventing deep inter-dependent bonds of community between them

from creating any significant change.


In by Bunc on October 31, 2018 at 8:03 am

Duran Duran on the radio. A/C belching dumbly into the path of a ceiling fan.

Four strangers at a table, shifting their gaze nervously between each other and the café entrance.

One clicks her pen against an armrest.

“Maybe we just go ahead and get started?”

All four of these people have responded to the Writers Group ad, still pinned to the bulletin board across the room, two tabs left unripped.

Whoever posted the ad is no longer replying to text messages, and does not appear to have shown up.

Meanwhile, outside, two soulmates walk past each other without noticing.

good on paper

In by Bunc on October 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm

what makes this person’s name feel so good to write?

how did they get the damn alphabet to look so pretty when they’re around??

even your pen agrees, and who could resist a ride along the curves and folds

of that heavenly spoken outline on the page..

you even write it just a little wrong on purpose

so that you have to re-write it again in a different spot..

and again..

but you never cross it out.

because you’re secretly drawn to the horror of them one day discovering that page

on which you thought about them 187 fucking times

for a poet in a city (ii)

In by Bunc on January 17, 2017 at 11:38 pm

what joy to hold another golden
plume, forevermore,
of dust that keeps the vernal gust
enamored of his chore

yet bittersweet to only meet
the rose from which it soared,
with thanks unto her absence
four-and-ninety years before

the seasons thence securely fenced
her graceful bloom away,
in sacred woods of sisterhood
that keep storm-winds at bay

and so he bows in kind to her
who winsomely eludes;
a lowly air to kiss the glow
between their solitudes

a mist and not a tempest
overlays the zephyr’s word,
in prayer that she forgive his song
its wanting to be heard

for a poet in a city (i)

In by Bunc on January 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

alike the soils allowing seeds
to rise unto the stars,
pretend you’ll let this drifter spend
tonight between your bars

i humbly found you underground
before today was through,
where into throngs of barren songs
they tried to bury you

but sending two resplendent plumes
of golden-dusted breeze,
[these stanzas seek to say] you sparked
a certain soul to sneeze

and should these beaded couplets fall
beneath their lofty worth,
my petrichor regret would pour
asunder from the earth

but don’t coerce yourself to nurse
these saplings wrought from clay;
this boy could fall in love another
hundred times today

Easter in North Carolina

In by Bunc on March 27, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Caffeine, intimacy withdrawal, that familiar-ish dissociative state where I can’t recognize myself in the mirror of the café restroom.

Ego death, or ego overdose?

Maybe just jittery eye muscles, unable to focus under fluorescent duress.

Spent the afternoon folding emails into corny origami animals for faraway loved ones, while tiptoeing through the slender mechanics of dispersed family trauma in the book I’m reading.

I pretend not to wait for responses but my phone ain’t buying it, chuckling at me like a wily karate master:

“Flash floods no longer an imminent threat to the New Orleans area. Reply YES to confirm.”


In by Bunc on September 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm

There’s a sacredness about another living thing trusting you enough to fall asleep at your side.

Be it an old lover, a new friend, a baby niece, or your arch-nemesis incarnate in your landlady’s cat, as long as they don’t fucking snore, it should be cherished as a revolutionary act of vulnerability. A license; an invitation. A conspiracy. An incitement to eavesdrop on the unspeakable secrets of their dreams.

It is the ultimate affirmation that you are not an enemy, that you alone have been chosen for the divine rite of smuggling them back into the realm of the living.

Don’t Call Me Crazy

In by Bunc on November 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Said did I mind if he smoked.
Said he was headed for Glenwood Springs.
Said he didn’t know how to use a cellphone.
Said it was his first day outside of prison after seventeen years, nine days. Said he was forty years old.
Said his sister was raped and he killed the five guys that did it.
Said his daughter was turning eighteen in December. Said he was still her hero.
Said his nickname was “Crazy Peckerwood”. Said they don’t call him crazy anymore, said names and behaviours precede one another.
Said goodbye from the payphone stand across the terminal.


In by Bunc on November 15, 2013 at 5:52 am

recidivist philanderer, convenient unforgetter of fraudulent schemas from highschool playbooks

awestruck prepubescent, demiurge of daydreamt universes through dusty passenger windows

barren mute, gaze deflected in transit, sheathing his uncomfortable affliction

bourgeois aggregator of secondhand intellect, little black rolodex of opinions

vengeful unwinger of dragonflies, silvertongued forger of whys and wherefores

serial altruist, infrequent imposer of narcissistic generosity upon the undesiring

nostalgic reactionary, tattooed in tribal silhouettes, acquiescer to privileged simplicities

vagrant troubadour, moonlit bard, decreasingly tragic aficionado of mind alteration

insatiable scientist, hunter of patterned quarry, unwitting patronizer of chaos

lowly stenographer of this unholy warfare between a thousand selves

One of Those

In by Bunc on November 9, 2013 at 11:28 am

My grandma once told me speed bumps were what happens when lousy drunks fall asleep in the street and freeze up forever.

Call it that, call it a preternatural recognition between kindred sponges; either way I don’t regret waking him up.

“Alright down there?”

“Oh, yeah… Just inspecting the uh, sidewalk integrity.”

“This your place?”

“I’d ah, say it’s more theirs than it is mine.”

Dorothy Parker of his generation against the lamplit picket fence, one of those friendships.

Three endless blocks of beers and roadtrips and best man at each other’s weddings.

Rashid, I wish I’d seen you again.

Location Scouting for an Apocalypse

In by Bunc on November 7, 2013 at 5:01 am

A furious West Portal traffic junction channels its fleeting multitudes, their trajectories uncountable to a cursory observer.

Lifeblood streams from an unbound pentagram where convergent tramlines vivisect a suburban arterial.

Another boulevard pours westward across the ensuing mayhem, downhill from an irony of baseless opulence named for a medieval ascetic.

Chaos in equilibrium.

And pause.

Thirteen endless seconds. Mass-produced corpuscles hover before an inexplicable lattice of red lights, an apparent serenity ill at ease with the industrial throb that persists.

Green. Circulation resumes.


Far overhead, Nemesis nods solemnly and departs, her baleful reconnaissance unknown to the mortal interchange transpiring below.


In by Bunc on November 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm

obsolete shanks of stained glass
align in her kaleidoscope of reasons
to spell words once wagered on
and long since forgotten

moonshine silhouettes of lucky numbers
on a drycleaned lottery ticket,
daring to be redeemed for more than a story
but here it is:

[fools waltz upon monsoon sands unaccompanied,
to the fulminant tide let them offer their loves:
these transient whispers they leave phosphorescent
relinquish no cinder, no wake in the frost]

november subsides,
battleworn vagrants in pairs
comb lacerated shorelines,
weary of thunderous solitude

trophies of petrified lightning to share
for the ones who withstood
in charmed resilience

Civic Centrifuge

In by Bunc on November 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

What unknowable rhythms compel the dervish? What sacred fugues imperceptible? What hellwind choruses are wrought upon those whirling talons, stoke the smouldering flare that he cradles between sawn-off glovetips, some semaphore to his celestial brethren?

What fleeting tyrannies of human sense can one impose on this son of Chaos, this otherworldly conductor of downtown crescendo? Eyes under the leprous bandanna? Nose behind the double band-aid, bifurcated tongue behind maniacal shards of a grin? Some antediluvian childhood when bedroom mirrors once framed these esoteric contortions?

And yet he spins, these questions unanswered, scuppered already upon the tempests of our own creation.

Pretend Raisins on the 49

In by Bunc on October 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm

“Righto pal, window seat?”




“Alright now we’re gonna play that game agai—“

“Oooh which game?”

“The reading game, but I’ve got no raisins on me so I’m gonna give you a pretend raisin for every word you can read outside, alright?”


“Alright. How ‘bout that blue word over there?”

“What bl— okay. Hhhhh… Hhhhh-ohhhh… Hhhhhhohhhhnnnddddd… Hhonnndahh… ‘Honda’!”

“Good!. Now that nice big circle one.”

“Umm… The… Guhhh-rrrreeee… Guhhh-rreee-ahhhhh…”

“’Great’. That’s the Great Seal of California.”

“Oh mannn, how’d you know it said ‘Great’?”

“Secret. Read some more and I’ll tell you. Here, have a raisin.”


In by Bunc on October 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

If only daytime things made the same plasmic sense that they do at this hour, when a grown man can stare down the legion blinks of an ill-meaning Hydra outside his balcony window, defying her in nonchalant credulity to stick around for elderberry pancakes in the morning.

Here the dulcet growl of reason belies an intriguing nocturnal conceit: if hallucinating a mythical beast only requires poor unassisted vision, San Bruno’s streetlamps across the valley and a threefold parallax intervening (observer’s fridgebound trajectory, barometric ripplings of a veil curtain, a particularly restless eucalypt outside), then maybe reality doesn’t suck after all.


In by Bunc on July 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Prepare shrimp/cornflour mix in plastic container.  Place container on stove to ease transfer of shrimp into pan.  Turn on stove burner under pan.  Chop up garnish.  Look back and realize that you accidentally turned on the fucking burner under the fucking plastic container.  Inhale cascading polymer fumes in panicked breaths whilst joking awkwardly about the situation to nearby houseguests.  Turn on extractor fan and mentally compare vortex of pale smoke to an inverted UFO beam, thinking about how the extraterrestrials inside might even resemble these crustaceans now sublimating in your stovetop Chernobyl diorama.  Exit hallucination, guzzle therapeutic bourbon and cry.