Issue 20: Rob Halpern

All Roof No House

Calling back my dead to sheds in

Stately yards the cut’s still fresh

No one would think to resurrect

My theft downs dawn & cinders

Like his eyes comport my beams

In you my time will be yr labor

No sky opens living meshes shiver

Trees go dead the dead go dig

- ing down my body’s conquered

High above yr head they hang no

Eyes compost his beams in mine

Remains still air inters whatever

- ’s real evicts no place to posit

Still ash waste & consequence

Whose hollowed mouths my in

- sides sing it out to you as if

To vomit this I am

                                         — only I when you cut here. 

Bird Crave

No license to refuse this love whose names call out from the hooded hole

My face in you becomes so near a distance where clarity’s all blasted i

- sotopic quavering a fazing eros yr conceptual remains beyond this blind

Bird of consequence a concrete drift obscures the light we see by

Ourselves being no light at all a fall

                                                               - ing out of light even as yr eyes disjoin

My selves abstract inconstant rates inflate the sun could be

A turbine a stone bone moss birds crave conversion too inside the fault

My poem runs to silence slows these things

Become us truer names than ours we

Can’t hear any more

                                                —  this waste thru which our matter rises. 

How to Liberate yr Body from Social Necessity

        after Martha Rosler

Ha ido usted al mercado?  yup, ‘estregue’ means ‘scrub’ the dome

- stic foundation of every house where the bodies don’t

Wash up here and everyone’s entitled to a beautiful interior


                                                                                — so aroused by my birthright.

Talking Points

My work is one of gluing things becoming false a profligate

Skin amassing voice interrogation channels gluing useful lips

To mouth sublime oblivions lurk in things value hides not being

One w/ our optics my latifundia as if the problem were retinal

I’m screaming out out vile jelly! the occupier’s in my eye being

A property of luster lipping & deceased little lichee nuts this is

The work of food vacancies linking hands perceived externally

As hate touching mouths I can’t remember things but his limbs

Ingrown for channel jamming bodies clog no frame as hot lust

Fans sheer weight the earth imagines loins patch nerves drills stones

Exchange for skin what pure emotion stalls at the place I pucker in

- to public feeling moderation conceals extremist cores my heart

Being one a puny mushroom nothing can refer to what’s lurking

Inside diminishing fields of prospect I get lost becoming sound

After periods of gross decay fish turn belly up in schools killed

By abstractions nobody made like his fibula nobody made any no

- ise as if the future were hanging on sounds no one hears move

- ments internalizing grinding down uncertain work the body

It goes lewd & limps the world entrenched inside dark rumors

Illuminating roads excessively lit for safety lives in market share

My vision security measures like prefab bulletproof periscopic

Infantry officiating form fed cognition annals chronicles all sent

- ient space whose culverts streaming sewage glows w/ such

Immediacy into which I keep coming without making contact.

Rock Song

Being nothing seen this rock no place no

Eye to follow things erase this common

Hole in sense sinks cleaves things scales can’t

Sense insensate force what’s living here and

Dying not to die breathing things produce

This rock no point to vanish splits no bird

Can name what’s got no name and shudders

In this fateless space no nominal blow no

Relation in relation no history tho in history

Lost not seeing nothing but the fateful force

By which nothing can’t be named it names

Things useless the question being use itself

A unit of measure in the economic organ

- ization of dreamboats whose raptures de

- scribe what nothing resembles this feels like

Rock a place no site can split screens birds fly

Motionless cresting zones points things name

No event the distance jets one bird from sky

A thrush beyond this loss to lose what goes

                                                             — withdrawn into the square.

Rob Halpern lives between San Francisco and Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he teaches at Eastern Michigan University and Huron Valley Women’s Prison.