Patrick Williams


That The Lake Would Still Be Frozen
Had Not Occurred To Me

A pool deck mosaic says hurry up and chill
somewhere under there. Remember, their father
slept in the truckbed so he wouldn’t hallucinate
another jungle war. I had a tent by the toilets,
pitched half on an anthill. It smelled like the spot
where we’d pull honeysuckle from a face-flush bush
ripe with all the alleyway trash. If I had bare feet
I might remember the Bahamas, the thick thorns
we crushed to reach the beach. I might have
seen the sand. The sun is out and the people
are eager, but the lake is dead as a dream.


But Can’t We Just Leave Tornado
Alley Though

In the new mausoleum, we’re organized
by the area codes we tattoo on our throats
or the napes of our necks. The motion gallery
has this hyperreal display of cursors blinking
on the first lines of 200 otherwise blank screens;
they nearly sing. A man preserved in a bog
continues to grow his beard of oxblood hair.
We know where he’s from because he didn’t
get far. Not like us. Old photos show us doing
stupid things abroad: touching the sculptures,
screaming in the streets, seeking cavish clubs
and stoner junk in Paris. Oh my god, look how
ripped your jeans were back then, though
your home landscape was smooth as soap.
You tell me they’ll have to make new batteries
forever: every battery the antecedent to a real thing.


Tinnitus News

We are too unfixed. Imagine
our psychodynamics without
a real hearer. We had thunder.
Flowwise, we had it down. But
there’s a certain clinking noise,
something slowly swirling, like
the woman who bellydances
at everything in town. It’s in
the wakes of modern boats,
the jets that dry our hands so
faintly. It’s in applause. It’s in
the recording of synthetic birds
they blast to scare actual birds
away from our parked cars.
Someone is calling, but really,
who picks up the phone anymore?

Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York. His recent work appears in publications including Noble/Gas Qtrly, Reality Beach, Third Point Press, and Heavy Feather Review. His chapbook Hygiene in Reading is forthcoming from Publishing Genius. He edits Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics. Find him at and on Twitter @activitystory.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.