Poems by Dustin Pickering


They Won’t Forget to Pray
(verses in response to “So Long Marianne”)

In the night,
you asked for silence
to speak to angels
for Marianne, for Marianne.

You opened your lips
and dry as they were still breathed
the confession of stillness.
Darkness approached as you addressed
love in its trembling thoughts.

I can’t hear your voice.
It is quiet and the world continues to echo
the room you left empty when you died.
If there was anything left,
it was a pipe and a small notebook with scribbles.

Oh, Marianne has left the stage in hours before.
Her heavenly corpse stills the wind in wonder
like a Scripture of earth and sea.
She is by your side in the winter
while your face is quiet in tears.

Loving Kindness

This room is empty
except a name,
the name of love.

(The boy feathers his head
with soft thoughts,
unclear though they are.)

I know your light
but I sense the hopelessness,
the emerging vanity.

(My lameness, o Vulcan,
is a curse like yours.
I feather my head with soft thoughts.)

A struggle will harden the surface,
make a skeptical king
of the sugary mirror.

(A self image hides in hypnosis.
No rage will purge my broken
heart, o loss: permanence.)

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Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press and founding editor of Harbinger Asylum. He is author of the poetry collections The Daunting Ephemeral, The Future of Poetry of NOW: bones picking and death's howl, Salt and Sorrow, Knows No End, Frenetic/No Contest, The Alderman: spurious conversations with Jim Morrison, and O'Riordan: spurious conversations with Dolores. He is the author of the book on aesthetics, A Matter of Degrees. His short story collection, The Madman and Fu, was recently released along with his novella, Be Not Afraid of What You May Find. He is a former contributor to Huffington Post. He has essays in Cafe Dissensus, The Statesman, and Journal of Liberty and International Affairs. He is also a musician, visual artist, and reviewer. He has been placed as a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal's first short story contest and is a Pushcart nominee for 2019.


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