AJ Urquidi

convalescent stayover at the flamingo house

/ what recourse you gave was never yours to begin with // desiccate marrow, mauve mallow
cinders to lay on cherubim desks // all year their mother cries, pipewater sputters out of its
element // reset your watch, chime, chime in // watch the zookeeper’s child drain lymph from
rind // honesty fumbles in her bouts of proved worry // because she’s aware, you can’t be vilified
// in decorous time you’ll again displease the syndicate \

/ marabou stork, walk into your cage // the beach bodies winter scars // toss towels on the shower
floor with care // you are not shelter, but you bend in wind // the guest bed unwinds where it
wanders // curve gashes where onyx drags fir // donald ducks inscribe a ceiling like a pox //
whatever you find, love the anxious rest of them \

/ she retches, dangles bracelets // one’s strung limpets // then do not resuscitate, of course // not
long ago, you’d have begged to join this menagerie // tap the windshield, the capybara rolls its
eyes // keep apologizing to posterity // now you plead with the tamers: form your threnodies
hushed // overnight grit files locks, and by sunrise the rarest physician has fled \

To Dissipate the Abscess


A wind with the force of a dentist’s
drill knocks us sidewise
fleeing the firemen. To the left

the dentist reaches deep between his
laces and grabs
an angsty python from the gravel

lot. You can’t just do that sort of
grabbing around here.
Locals frown upon it, generally,

like spleens. Withhold that complaint
since he’s the burg’s
only dentist. Can you stretch

my legs for me (I’m too shy)? Jet
fuel’s made of the cure
for war, but jets hang on to it. Viselike.


You are so quiet this morning. Are you
still lard-bitter I never
gave a life for you, or even offered?

I can get you something better, perhaps
a periscope. I can sprint
on hot coals with napalm scissors in hand.

Sure, it’s no golden fleece, but my love
is in unspoken demand.
I’m negotiable. I’ve got a jet to catch.


There will be a bottle of uncapped sermons
surface-shaming you
from your dashboard as you jet across

the lake tonight. Follow abalone wires
to the cloudy back daggers
of the warehouse. Should you see

the crowded horseflies carpet-bombing
the bathtub drain, know I was
false, and am now a gentle absence.

My Apparat Liege, My Quarantine Flag

i. Formalin Years

My country, tis of the eyes skulking
beneath my couch. The horrors

of end-September rain down
from crossbeams. Goon uninvited

to the pantomime. For this was
the second strike, the world now hiding

in a gelatin helmet. One more
waits in the slow-broth. The city

bans diaries, of course, fuels bonfires
of feelings expressed not aloud. I don’t

mind the static crackle of the man
in sleep beside me, aloft on the Blue

Line, rubbing leg-to-leg. But the kids
I know want to swim in toxic waste

for DNA benefits, 21st-century spa.

ii. Malaprop Era

Mark him full of bullets for the cause
of conversation. Study pictured emotion.

It breathes, like cops with excuses. Votes
wrapped in crimped curtains. In place

of apologies, landfills sell plots
to ferment. Until they can afford the real

estate, gravediggers strike. The panting
woman fumbles black symbols. Drool

down the window to warn her. They’re her
jealous shadow, it eats her. Offers thanks.

iii. Glabella Meet

It would take a surrogate’s charm
to convince you: up for grabs is

authority, like a dry viaduct. First
to come, first served and protected.

The barber mock-trims your bald
spot but takes you down for another

appointment. Trapped in the quarry,
choose castle or cave. But once

locked in tunnels with a privateer
you seem panic-serious. In buttons

wrapped. A long dark glass of candid
nocturnals. Like camouflage, the dead

will rise with the vacant unemployed.

iv. Preparedness Kit

The red light stops you, imprisons you
for weeks on false charges. They planted

the evidence, such caustic ideas.
If you break the rules, starve for attention

or save time and die. To kowtow brings
ruddy fortune, so always remember

to offer thanks. This millennium
delivered the rules the last one follows.

v. Yellow Flag

Run parallel to society river
ducking into dumpster alcoves.

The golden rule is to eat the least
runoff. In the civilization game

creamier pieces win by default. It seems
of length but can’t go on forever.

Whatever is the doctor of penalties.
Solo rider on Ferris wheel, all the way

around, sir. This is his life in a rusted
circle. Watch the city shrink, then how

it zooms in to prey.

At times representing Monterey, Los Angeles, and NYC, AJ Urquidi is a heterogeneous poet and editor. His writing has appeared in various journals, including Faultline, Verdad, Chiron Review, RipRap, and DUM DUM Zine. A Gerald Locklin Writing Prize recipient, AJ co-founded online journal indicia and has led workshops at Cal State Long Beach and Beyond Baroque.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) 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.

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