Dance Routine


Have to come in late

only way it works

A few steps behind

so knife blades only


come from the front


(Journal Insert) Jeremy left for Moorcroft, Wyoming on April 7, 2013 at 7:05 AM. He had read the council meeting announcement on their website, booked a flight to Gillette on Delta, and packed heavy. A short bus ride to Moorcroft would take him back home, and then it was on.


Floor’s slick tonight

with Jitterbug sweat


Come from the front

leave from the rear


When sun breaks

after a slight storm

it’s highly charged

dancing to your eyes


Don’t even need

your out-of-doors’ shoes

It’s beauty baked belvedere

on the slicks of your retinas

Enjoy this moment

time is slipping the beat

Feet will dangle in the dance


(Journal Insert) Jeremy got a rented room above a bar with twentieth-century décor. Beer-battered cod called to him from below. The bar’s kitchen heat, radiating, made the soiled, worn carpet on his floor warmly homelike. No train tunnels here. No damp dance partners. Only pure focus. Only pure intent. Level the barrel, squeeze the trigger. Pluck the petals in bloom.


Turn your head briefly

and it all has changed

So, you leave your home

with dandelions in your suitcase

and a dull lead brick in your


Shell Casings

the dance hall of your

parents’ days flickers

from a wrinkled Polaroid

It was the hometown hop

slick with jitterbug juice

where you were conceived


Same floors, same walls

Same glittery ceilings

with different energy

less chemically-laced sweat

and dated movements

leading you left right forward

to the present point


(Journal Insert) Jeremy recognized the Moorcroft streets and their dusty sidewalk storefronts in the way one remembers day-old dreams: like viewing old family photos from across the room and through a veil of hot buttered rum. That is, never had a solid image or a well thought out idea moved him to his current path. No. It was long-conditioned feelings, lingering every day, that had built him into a machine — a gunship — on autopilot. Vague childhood moments charging tiny steel rivets, conductive wires, and their networks of phase inducers, into a man made of nothing but past injuries and insults. A man stuck in feedback loops of pulsing bloodless nightmares. Nightmares that had grown legs to walk on land.


Those lovely fishtail, birdcage maidens

early 60s theme night at Shell Casings

They had met there

They had danced there

They had flung loose their

social bindings there

Their teeth clamping

Their eyes flashing

The Polaroids showed it

Sifting through prints

all your young life

for solid answers

Every angle covered

except the final moments


(Journal Insert) Jeremy slotted a wax paper-wrapped cod basket and chips into his duffel; the one from his first summer alone that his mom had bought for him from a thrift store across from the Foster Freeze walk-up. He liked to think he could taste hot fudge and mint ice cream whenever he hefted it onto his shoulder. This being his clearest childhood memory: queueing for treats like a domesticated animal.


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