"Ironing the Shirts" by Cleveland Wall


Ironing the shirts

even though it doesn’t matter

if there are wrinkles or not.

Because here is something

that can be put right. The placket

can be made to lie flat, and the collar

to stand up, and the pocket to drape

smoothly over the breast

like a pledge of allegiance. Ironing

under a bare bulb in the basement,

a flotsam of lint runs aground

at your feet. The shirt breathes

cotton steam. A small, dry patch

of order appears and lingers

even a little while after.


"My Brain on Autocorrect" by Cleveland Wall

I go to the word cupboard

to fetch a well-worn word

but my fingers slip;

the butter falls

and I come up clutching

an anvil, a sharkstooth,

a folderol, fa, la, la—

a folder of folic acid,

a sharepoint, an anywho—

Cleverbot, I come up

fandango. The buzzer

for my Finnegan dashslaps.

To fletch a well-worn world,

I go to the weird cupid.

"Misery, I" by Cleveland Wall

like rain pissing down from a ruined sky

like sad music, difficult music

hideous twelve-tone godawful discord

experimental, unlovely

antic music, like aimless films, musty

cinema houses, dim even before

the lights go down, jilted bus station

dusk: guy with a wide dustmop

soothing the polished aggregate

like thinking about the economy

all the fucked up economies of the world

and a keening pulse radiates

sonar from my navel to the many

federal reserves; to each plaintive blip

in the sweep of my bullseye screen I

signal back: it’s okay; I am with you