Ken Taylor


when the calendars quit it was a time of the rug being pulled out from under my boots. over and over. the sun rose and fell but nothing advanced. the creak of saloon doors marked something bound to happen in versions of imagined minutes. imagined but not embraced, like a septum piercing casting unease across the posse. where nothing was precisely wrong but after a slow burn no longer proved close. food didn’t vary with the seasons. only served as a guide to not showing. memories resumed like a clutch of things stared at but not seen. underpainted in the luminescent silver of antique fields. framed as a constant stickup. once i did the math, rodeo clowns infected my thinking. nothing moved past unevenly sized and loose. replication collapsed limits and offered so little except to revisit what just happened again. i was caught in the purge. yet i had to admit i was charmed by the chance whiff of alien air. of walking through baroque interiors like some industrial disaster back east. fraught with a mouth full of stitches voicing doubts. awaiting the holy avatar meant to lead by a glow into a wraithlike dissolving. too slight to fill the picture plane. ridden hard and hung up wet. my paper vane impeller turned by heat without expressing the full measure of my waning. it was always wednesday. and while there were gestures toward double-starched horns or a herding song or a new visual code for grammar, i was tightly bound in the chords of a pitched belief that i’d escape the lassoing abyss. i mapped hours only to find lapsing. it was the year of the rat. of browser spin. of empty data. of vengeance from the analog world. to plan for what’s next i must trust in my talent to fish and make fire. to accept dreaming in mechanically rolled patterns. and admit there may be no better account of my decline than falling out a tintype window. splatter as a lesson spectacularly thwarted.

red line


above the hockey team in the hotel lobby
is a maundy thursday take by tintoretto
doubled embossed on oversized & queer.

icons fixed in space, ring a halo making
rounds of confraternity to scrub up teaching
(though judas has left the building.)

the preamble to lantern & bell
begs quartering         where drinkers
never reach kaleidoscopic eggs.

X walks thru with clean feet
vexed by sins of their past.
sidetracked counting ordinary fish.

they rise to enter at lake
where everyone basks in echoes.
where everyone riding is not with them.

figures on behalf of inside seams
with semi-skilled demands work thru lapsing
in a serial act outside of lofty views.

brick & graffiti rush by like precious trash.
carpenter gothic drifts thru —
a dentist with a pitchfork measuring sound.

where people once loved dawn
thru distant threat & desire.
where bigger things rise from rough

like stacks downriver keeping lights on.
X files guilt in grayscales
thinks empty doesn’t differ from design.

they glimpse rust from a weeping cord
& mourn the loss of dayglo on their wrist
that got them in for more song.

they pause for disembarkments
existing separately from names.
they’re asked      to change for other colors.

to take a long view of the street.
to take in chicken-wire clouds.
to say what it is not what it means.


it’s the time of mysteries
of the many unfolding as one
where pastorals acquiesce.

power lines dip like scissortails.
windows act out kites in clearings
that shape the future of abstraction.

they’re told gambling is prohibited.
they’re told smoking is prohibited.
they’re told thru translation & revision

a servant is not greater than their master.
they dodge holy probing with retorts.
believe their microwave a kind of god.

a new command I give you: love one another as I have loved you

X aims to make fibrous smooth —
returning to the grid of viscous promise.
burning to be the blank of the party.

tonight is the night of girl names
parading as poster boys for posterity
& drawn badly by the gods.

they maintain a special distance
from their body       as organic minding.
as a transient ghost

yielding as a guest to the host
to sweet floral notes & froth
that call for several minutes of shaking.

to celebrate the hat trick.
to celebrate the lamp lit three times.
to celebrate three biscuits in the basket.

the special tonight is two starters & a main.
the special tonight is large works in small relief.
the special tonight is slept on in the garden.

when doors part        X leaves skimming lilacs
what’s flying on high voltage —
moving closer to a feast they can almost taste.

for Sally Rose

Ken Taylor is the author of five books of poetry including variations in the dream of X, forthcoming from Black Square Editions.
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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.