Three Poems by Patrick Williams

Photo Credit: Agkistrodon Piscivorus

Photo Credit: Piscivorus Pictures





Always open files of this type.
If you’re lucky, it’ll glitch out
six facsimiles, each one addressed
to you. Given time, they’ll arrive loose
by post, assuming minimal packet loss.

I will continue to blame my parents
for these frequent namespace errors.
Most families’ cupboards are bare.
Mrs. Kim explains how it changed her:
Y’all, she said one night at the Blue & Gold,
I totally just dropped my phone
in the toilet. Reply all, in unison, again? 

It is a massive inconvenience to allow
engineers to touch what they contrive.
It is also too expensive to hire those
who have driven cars to build them.
Heavy mathematics in the air are
to blame. All of our favorite jokes are
based on someone’s offensive wifi ID.

Picture a miniature railroad set. Its toy
machines are churning, little lights blinking,
but all the tiny people are deadly still.
There is no need to assume a new tableau.
You should see the brilliant meanings
today’s teens encode in something dull
like that. Bobby’s chat status is always PAINT.
I made a note to remember that one.





My left shoe’s somewhere else,
back where I caught cuts off
iron-brown reeds, took some
risks bellydown in pisswarm
muck, groping for shells out
of boredom, to skip the NASCAR.
On the trampoline, with butter
knives, we chipped inexpertly.
With work, even true stubborns
opened up. Doused palms in Texas
Pete before each dicey slurp.
Then back to drop another batch
of room-temp turkeynecks off
an absent neighbor’s dock. Under
a bed sheet for sunscreen, relying
on pure feel. Toward dusk, back out
at camp, we dined on buried beans
and got completely inarticulate.
Weird how it all surfaces so often,
in waves of inopinate guilt and vigor.





A famous artist I met via Craigslist
took something off me second-hand
and destroyed it in Lyon at the end
of “My Generation.”  A museum piece
for the ages. If you want proof,
there’s a Youtube. We got coffee
and broke a twenty in a shop a block
away, just about where the tailfin fell
on halftone sixties snow. Evidence
is everywhere, though the giant jigsaw
he’d done of that morning’s Times lead shot
was too high-contrast, too inky and blocky
to make the landmarks. But you clearly
see a stark italic UNIT in the photo
from the eighteenth, the one up Sterling.
Nearby: another callously legible fragment
of crumpled fuselage, NITE this time, no D.
The next smoldering scene reveals Pillar of Fire
above some cops and firemen who move
a heavy stretcher from the church’s shell.
In the nineties, a sculptor snipped off
the remnants of its wrought iron fence
to cover his windows at 109. They keep
everything out, he told City Desk
this morning. They fit perfectly.



Patrick Williams lives and writes in Syracuse, New York, where he works as an academic librarian. His poems have appeared in publications including The Metric, Word Riot, 3:AM Magazine, M58, Sliver of Stone, and others. He is the editor of Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics.

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