Two Poems by Callie Garnett

Two poems by Callie Garnett in COMPANY




COKE 257

                                for Seldon Yuan

2.57 for a coke.

            Must be in the airport where

primeval coke drinkers riot

condensation on the glass inside me. I

am whole (never used the word

“vector” right though, don’t think) but

I have to go there first to the arrow,

down when it’s done / spun. Sing:

“Till you’re back in my arms /  I’ll be

waiting up”—this a way of fainting

while learning to count on the end of

the song (“end”?) any song has about

as much “end” as a…(delusions of



I’ve been

thinking about our iPhone fathers.


How forthright the column of Notes

they seem to know is: our liquid

preferences. Think now I know what

Adam meant: if you’re gonna stay w/

the moment of comp, climb inside

even this David Gray song, make the A

in his My your… make it yours.

                        “If coke was always

2.57”—that’d be scarce time. If the

life-size chaperone w/ a bun (a bun?)

holding tiny proof of shampoo drink

feels the bright insufficiency with the

lambs we’re in the clear, we’re in this



                                             At age 7 

Pepsi aired its cheating heart ad, & I

named myself Patsy Cline for the

smoker’s voice I thought my gray bear

would have. Then I named my own

name C for C_____, & C saw it

scribbled in soft tire on the street: the

final name, the name to save for later

from ever being spoken.


                                                It was

“meager”—the last name—’s what

really got me. What really got me was

the lowercase creeping of the meag:

low freq.

trust in a day when creep will be

speech, speech laugh, when even Ogre

                        wants a Face in the sun

See me


C. meager


w/out any hint of self-opinion

(you see it in the scalps of women)

This is not a face you cross. This is a


            (& the candy sits out) land of

cassette tapes, not so far away

murmuring in tissue still vital-ish

afflicted w/ lots of pink & blue-light

fritzes when I pee myself




I am of the chosen b/c Recognition for

my layover.

                        “Poets are ludicrous.

And the best people I know” will be

my epigraph, or “Language is…” blah

blah … a valiant “those who dare to

compose”—O shame—I’m of the

chosen b/c Shock of Recognition in

             my mother’s moist eye, not of

her (ick now The Shins?) but bigger

Hers like me…


                        of course let it not be

enough shock to kill her. She’ll say

shock away, I want to dance until my

spirits freeze.




Even as I sat there

relieving myself, I felt it. Then I

noticed verily the climbing-wall of

           Dino textures lining my way to

my gate (B29) & the great surge to my

gate, great

when red, I ride over all the offers in

my wagon.

           Not to mention all the young

nerd men, the deadest time to see

people in the airports reading what

they want to read, wives (why accept

this?) seated, their ring on Eva

Mendes’ glossy arm, lifted. The

bathroom janitor (almost said

“attendant”) slips out of a stall into an

incest of the hall.

            She’s almost as small boy as

her love for toilets & cleaning

            spray. She begs me say she’s

not old—


O what a friend I’ve been to women

who recognize in me the familiarity of

them. I flirt w/ their purposes in life, I

cast my lot across the good surfaces

humility… plus I’m so appreciative

“They always want more,” said the

fairly successful man, B29. My

terminal seat-mate is watching the





That isn’t the point, the guy on the

            screen is, the webinar guy is

an expert in Offense (thought he said

“of fence”). This guy just died in

Sheldon. This webinar—this guy just

died in Sheldon is the news amidst

this—small community of skin tags.

He looks just like John Lithgow w/ an

arm cast. Judging by his shoes maybe

he saw a serious life but not super-

serious (?) & would like to die retired.

“How to angle a shot” is part of his




This guy just died in Sheldon

He just died in Sheldon in Sheldon

in Sheldon


Why is that the shock? Shell. She’ll

“She’ll wait forever” counting the

            stars. Those, plus it’s close to   

            my most impersonal friend:

Seldon, see him Seldom, b/c he lives in

a name-off.


I’ll tell Seldon I finally got a long

poem. I’ll say it was the Beach Ball

Method—keeping it in the air—and

the Vacuum Cleaner Method—sucking

in all around you—both, but mostly

the Airport Method (glad I had on

ankle socks at security) Is this how it

is? I boil, we whistle.


                                    Hell make a

Duty Free” joke—something better

than that. I’ll want to return to beating

up these mediocre forms I love:

George Harrison’s old brown shoe, a

raindrop that just sits on wood like oil.

I can’t be of a crowd who loves these

things or be one, but …

What is crowd? I mean what is?

crowd. I ask b/c our intimacy was a

peeing in a crowd thing. She slipped

out of a stall into an incest of the hall

& left the big blue master trash can

just sitting there.


Hell make a Duty Free” joke—No


No brown paper. No blue bags in the

gray cans, the serfs of cans. “She must

have slipped away” I say to Mary

Oliver, whose bathroom attendants

have wings in their hands & every

public emission is smoothing the

Raven down. I’m sorry to say this has

been just a set up to tell you a short


                       Im sorry to say this has

been just a set up to tell you a short

stack of towels left on the sink said

“LEAVE HERE” in no uncertain blue



                                    Where she goes

I see a colorful scrawler kit kid who

“threw cancer a curve ball” (cheers). Is

it that time? To stand-up-straight in the

hall? His small finger-colored nails

(wailing their way from the blade) one

yelp in the good leg fabric left, cloth

around his stump. I Love You Adam

Bender of Lexington, Kentucky.

Please don’t let them have your bat

(wheels in the can, a woman crow-like

purrs about her bladder & a growing

boy who loves me). It’s 2.57 for a

            airport them don’t own

think now I see what Adam meant by

—hold it, hold it



                                for Bob Ross

Other people draw

& I am not involved.

As she speaks, the receptionist

the good-smelling nurse

the softer airport security pat-down

light sweeping sounds

pthalo blue on liquid white ensue.


Even today

I can induce the surface

surface a focus of

this Response:





Response, Dave says, somewhat meekly


it’s to relax or fall asleep.

A woman, “Gentle Whisperer” is tapping

the hairbrush’s wooden handle

drumming with gold

lacquered nails & across the bristles. Rain.

Homeward I came

every day from school to watch Bob Ross

empty of content

& off myself in swarm.


Gracefully she pours

the semolina on the floor

then, softly

there is semolina



She, whom the greeks call              


or she-



noisefully, like Eros, carries a sound bow

& ten times submerged I tried, teacher

to awaken in the face-paint booth, but

fell into a deep breath just past your

right ear. A kindergarten trick.


Do you remember

his beatific fro

and baritone?

His earth,

which nature swept this way 

crushing itself methodically

unto the gessoed base

of his snow-trimmed fir

how he coaxed the clouds that

in your world, lived already

wet on wet, just wherever.

Glow with me and happen.

Practice Freedom.

Play with my hair

or other triggers.


Is it a sex thing? I asked.

No he said, I mean maybe

it’s just this thing, & on that bow

the lustrous string is

made of a chain of bees.

Another box of legos open

young women rustle the database

& trace out lice along paths

unthought as recitation

of mass in latin


some, oddly stroking

their long hair as if to ensure

between you

and your pillow

between waking

and sleep

the dental hygienist still gazes up

into the lens, demented

Attention Induced, with her 3D

microphones where my cheeks would be

and her blush brush.


Callie Garnett is the author of the chapbook HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM, a collaboration with illustrator Tallulah Pomeroy (Ugly Duckling Presse). Her work has appeared in Prelude, Public Books, and The Literateur. She lives in Brooklyn, and works as an Assistant Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing.