3 Poems by Chris Shipman


The Last Finger of a Sinker

—for Vincent Cellucci

O imbroglio of memory
and sea a sentence
you are learning to read (a river)
under water you are

reclaiming sounds of sky

the they of they scream screams
speak with a mouth full of water

the laws of waves fill a library
of horrors

every moon of someone going
over and over and over the other

water demands a grand government

fill your lungs with water
and the other swims to wherever
never came from

your reasons for ending here
map your ordinary course your

league of lusty lies your
love mutiny murder flopping
the deck knows nothing of
the wetness it is lessened by

you are bound by this choking
as you are bound by this
language is liminal

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The Labyrinth

          Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly

Bar bathrooms smell
like the past

saying so

probably will get a laugh
when you’re leaving
a stall

or nodding to some drunk
using the urinal

next to you

with clean hands
you enter a conversation
about tennis

or the President
lacking in racking up
death-tolls

you may even remember

being tough
in high school gym
but this is where you are

and this goblin is
loving you.

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The Big Easy

         Starring Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, and Ned Beatty

Night comes
with its quiet dogs
its train lights
lining the river
its heaven
that really did
exist its exit its
deepest fog its
shivering fires its
repetitious sound
its children
its ditches dug
into back yards its
front its list

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Shipman is the author of Human-Carrying Flight Technology (Blaze VOX), Romeo’s Ugly Nose (forthcoming from Allography Press), and coauthor of Super Poems (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press). His poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Exquisite Corpse, The Offending Adam, La Fovea, and Salt Hill, among many others. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been featured on Verse Daily. Shipman is poetry editor for DIG Magazine of Baton Rouge and teaches English at Baton Rouge Community College. www.christophershipmanwritingwork.com