Two Poems by Alex Walton

COMPANY EDITIONS is an independent publisher of poetry and visual art. The journal, Company, was founded in 2013 and is published three or four times per year. We will also be publishing chapbooks beginning in late 2016. Company Editions is based in Athens, GA, Iowa City, IA, and Cambridge, MA. You can contact the editors by emailing





In the middle aged considering today’s

aroused Death at an undersized table, one

tugged at intervals by a twitchy leash,

I, pleased to hear the word “Poet”

spoken to qualify a late

narcissist with certain intelligence,

grew glad, and was ashamed, and

started home to sleep off art that is

one thing, discards another, “in

alternating seeks the advantage of being,”

the multifaceted faux crystal doorknob

lost on the bedroom side, whose bare

handle grasped effectively shapes

your hand into the missing facets.

Seeking to spare

nothing but false honesty

I tired of hearing poets searching

the familiar tongue out

with their dewy own,

it made me flush

with the elaborate gloss

my solvent hope recrystallized,

that sentiment not separate

from what collected in my

mind’s base filterless,

“I could not help it on one level,


but on another am exactly

only choices that I made;

I was half drawn in.” As

Escher had to grasp whichever

hand he couldn’t draw,

you to the head that

grasps it only draw your own,

today, tonight, “Today’s Poem

is in the Public Domain,” and if

lax speech counterfeits better

life offhand, the blender’s

upper settings promise only

pasted abstracts, the chalky-yet-

gritless taste of lacked Experience

obsessively overqualified to idle

in a life spent seeking subtle

politics to signify

between f r a p p é and l i q u i f y ?





Hope’s panegyres, uniformly gross,

salaried by the most recent nickel to come

gummed from the change machine,

Saint Bernard whose second person

vocative will search and rescue

life from life, bell

rung by falling slobber,
might I have paid for my turbulent wish

by its confinement,

efficient centrifuge, my

sieve my mind not solid to think

things through the ambient apocalypse,

riders streaming Late Reich at

56k through a laggy cloud

while the glaciers slush,

the only viable compassion falling to

gentle upstart technocrats who burn

kcals in the park at five

(who can see what they see, know

what they see, but only by

crass interdisciplining see

what they know) and that

overlapping class

of cost-effective green

entrepreneurs funding our

replaced progress,

knowing one another

given up on.


People collect art, but art

collects trochocephalic

children of the sun whose knit

brows nod steadily into

idiosyncratic hay fevers,


by any means but art forgiven by

itself for gaining tactility but losing

touch — along with Plato’s beef

if it remembers it, camped

in the polis long abandoned

by the busy poor, the hopefully-

effectual, the long commuted

shadows back into the cave

promote what you survive,

the psychic’s cold-line traced

in uneruptive lives. Is this

bad faith making

good work, critique

the cul-de-sac with locked

mailboxes totally utterly

stuffed with color ads?





Sitting in the park we did

despair plainspokenness

yet in the involuted shell, turned and

turning inward as it grows, spotted

delusion adequate to no

wrong life, its purplish

sheen in the interior spiral

seemed like an tumescent cock

turned inside out. And like it too

it aches more coldly than it wishes to.




(What is less trustworthy than

a lighthouse made of sand,

softly preeminent intelligence

vowing to protect

the “interested layman” from

the rustling of his intellect

like sheep?)





Nobody feeds my lambs

a line of festered iambs

from a laurel trough

but me.

The willing splinter,

the ambiguous sense, exact

the fingers to undim the dimmer

darkness wasting its control

on death too often. At

what convicted sexton’s

level in the pit do we

angle for funding in starched

terms that hang but do not bend

in the fabric-softened wind officialdom

lets out to grace a stock percentage?




(Of course this venture is and

is not capital, the same killed shame

“that makes the wind to go” is

“making the wind to freeze,”

lagging behind then running up ahead

its pocket of childish treasures worth

less than nothing for hatefully remaining

in your sentiment with false trashiness:

it’s bitter thinking

how many artful crafts do lie

unbroken underneath the boots of

friends of the museum, who doubtless

cherish every one just like your

mother did, and this parody

glory, nothing escapes.)




(I am willing to call it poetry

when I am unwilling to call the

darkness that surrounds me

Robert Creeley. Dimly aware of

“unreflecting love,”

I crossed the beige and wetted charact’ry

having left a frustrate art frustrated,

“Ozymandias” as a distracted

thumbnail etched it on the foam

cup’s side where several eons

could not recompose it, ring of weak

decaf at its bottom rim like one

stale year of neutral growth

inside no tree. The sphinx

in question is not dignity.)


But I, sure

from one of Paul Krugman’s tears

a hundred fall that will return to him

to fall again and fall again,

have this presentiment, that sweet

moment when you’d be

able to be the change you wish to see

yourself through windex

dreaming on the glass is

longer than your life by next to nothing,

the space on either side stop-gapped with

undesired satisfaction, that rubber buffer

never comes unglued, soiled deeds’

kerchief puckered in the tux

exterior pocket, a rage none see

sustains us positively as

negatively in “covert relations,

brute exchange,” conned to

swallow love in the condoned square



its leaning O a quoted pleasure

pulled from the glossy

joining the line I wait in

with things I will have

bought when they are mine.





I would not for poetry purchase approval,

wanting some, as a gray most

no longer purchase poetry

hoping to be stamped approved to stand

on the shoulders of willing garden gnomes

(whose beards are bleached from having dangled

down in, sopped back up, a cheap

defensive ploy for art called a l l or j o y)

because they feel nothing very

refreshing in the wheel turning.

There is nothing very refreshing


in the wheel turning.

But might

a top not only not stop turning

but shoot abruptly off the light

touch of bad faith, the mean hand

the poem should not but be,

and this “suddenly enduring”

link of many chains

“quietly shining to the quiet moon”

quit its gracious pretenses and fix

its toughened wetted shrunk

reflection on a flexed plexiglass

spirit disinquisitive, and lost

ball below the looming hyacinth,

a w h y shaped to the oval square

each chain link’s vacant center.



I know the place. Stacked wrought iron

grates upon each other leaving you no

space to slip your wrist through, do the

lock. Slow place the sudden


Drops and leaves you. Where a chain swung sleep

swung out above my reach the adding

Drops, each one the other’s afterthought let

Drop across the room, keep


soaked the gray unfolded ligament of rotting vegetable

matter tucked into the drain mesh

Mesh like a chain spread out in

two directions, mine and sleep’s


Dropped chain. I lay and glistened to it

Drop, the leaky, the usual insomniac’s
tap all night, that intermittent will that will

not fill a hollow deep enough to sleep with


Drops that nearly rhyme

but don’t, but form the

light and irritating chain passed

through you ear to ear, tugged once at every


Drop. And every

Hath every one

Hath every one one

square. Pilled time. And every one


One square

pixel of black sand

clearing down the hourglass to

Drop. You slept I thought. It was / is


in this shallow / poem I made me lie by you

sleeping, thinking, but thinking later only

words the vaguer springs below the bed, coiled

phrases pressing back an intimation I would


Drop. The chain

occasionally now. The

chain occasionally how

remembering the pleasure


Drop I flinch to see with pleasure where

in my mind you are given to the bare

expression it erodes on you, your face

sheeted in white rock over me, no matter how


hard I

crack the whip won’t

come with you into the air around you. Air

sore anywhere the breeze tries touching it. A


feeling spread below a window cracked to let the

cool love out. “Tell me what I please in you.” A

censor.  You, what I know you do, work

hard against that other place, set to feel what the filched


ruby in the servant’s pocket does, allowed to work its

tip down through the hole it wore and nail

point tracing down your inside thigh to

Drop. You when I think you do feel that


Drop, hang, formed, at the tap’s head. What will I think of now. When

now was lying next to you (were sleeping)

time was on my other side, the warped plank

warping toward the face exposed, the face


wet, I wouldn’t say I reached for though I did lie

breathing rusted nails in it. But what exactly is one holding

holding still, fingers spread between the rising

falling ribs of a steady fear not


fear of loss but that in twenty something

twenty years from now we’ll be the two

other people lying in between us in this bed,

just that, crude sentiment made of the certain


Drops collect on the loaded question, pistol

tossing in dawn grass Where do you

see your self in fifteen hundred

years, done puking out the false


bright merry-go-round the world smears behind the eyes

love tried to focus, cross stitch matched

pillows in a graveyard hide the thread’s slurred Joy together

late to think but have to know, where do see yourself in fifteen


Drops. Awake. Gray checker on an all gray board.

Soul placed in a private square. I hear it slide, the

night thought, 100-centimeter length of thread that

under glue retains the unique _ or s it


Dropped in to the floor, subjective correlative

meter only fit to measure the new sill of sleep’s

interior, vision I unfollowed when

it swayed to life as another charmed then fraying yellow


garter of a German boy. “Her soul was in her eyes

shut.” Awake press mine up down into the pitch, into the

agitated black’s color-pricked static, something like the grave

if in the grave you could watch the worms at work,


everything you made of love six hairs

tangled on the wrist into a knot

too small to be undone. “Is it better

now.” Too tight to loose. “You know the way


if you believe you can get free you lose the

feeling” Yes. Gripped feeling in your other

other right, gripped in the other night

I dreamt you took What is


  Eternity? but only for a hundred; Then my soul was

    caught below a heavy piece of dust, I had to saw it off

      to save the ragged part I used to live,

        the part after the break was Paradise


          but Palestine, a narrow strip of sandless beach

            recruits patrol, slouch smoking, ease worn lightly

              into them between the shoulder and the neck, a strip of flesh

                repeating where a rifle hung: numb arm


                  resting on the stock with pins applying sleep to it

                    boots laced tight up to the swollen tongues

                      stuck gagging out black gloss in this film

                        death is represented by


a flow of images

but the reel ended, picked off pill of

time as soft dissolves of sentiment

plead out inside dark


Drops, Pleiades fading over Sappho with every

new translation light pollutes. But

night thought a weaker signal

to the speakers, made square


Drops press through, the music skipping

seconds of itself like hearing

pieces chipping off the block

whose faces are all night,


the notches left inside the rings

the paper torn away. understanding is fatigue and I held

that thought

longer than I could alone, only understanding a fatigue


I stole from Later Nietzsche and the black moon

shriveling below his eye: I saw it twitch

above me in the dark. But you I think you sleep

better than the world’s care for you or mine, I watch your


brow force out a stronger dream, cinder block 8hr

gifs recite a low retaining wall your forehead

sweats against, arm stiff against the sheet that

wraps its arm around you, pushed toward dawn’s


fingers twisting a hot pink blind

taut across the mole’s eyes busy

seeing everything the sun can’t see

for everything to it is like the sun,


every morning’s last remaining undrunk

Drip let bake into the base of the carafe’s

brown lacquer disk, lifted every morning

tomorrow morning, “each was like the shadow of the one beside it”:


I trust you to life each day

do edge death along enough ahead, its eyes are

closed around its lids, yours

open in sleep’s crust, discarded crumbs to


lead you back to life, white process,

groomed path of scarlet bark, you

partly still asleep say “I don’t

want you in my wake” to follow with


perfected meaning, dew still

underfoot when the

sun is too. I know you lead

me through the night I trust you to.


Alex Walton is currently a PhD student at UC Berkeley. He was a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center. Some recent work is available in I, The Claudius App, and the PEN America Poetry Series.