Randy Prunty


I can/I bring
males/the male
in the fu.../in the past
they got/they were getting
of the/of her

*misreads/recoveries heard in Bernadette Mayer’s reading on 2/3/2017 at Denver University

On Wittgenstein*

Other than meat:
nom nom nom

Well, who’s to say the unsayable?
I lie here sore
the body punished for a weak mind
those rocks of the ages
ground for nests and compost
Edenically post-hoc
so let’s be kind of honest here
throughout our diaries
even if it salts our intimacy
it’s considered done
nothing else for it

*an acrostic sonnet based on the 14 letters of the title

sluice gate

if if is the greatest word in the world, then then has got to be a close second
not seeds but sparks not sparks but micro blazes not micro blazes but sharps
poetry is the flip side of cognitive therapy
not “think about your feelings” but “feel about your thinkings”
this is the story to which i’m stuck
animals all over the world are human
if i had it to do all over again i’d choose reincarnation
affection or affectation?
turns out there’s a reason i wear little boy pants and old man sweaters
doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is love
i may be fooling myself but how would i know?
i call this thinking
i understood it all wrong, but at least i understood it
you know about the obvious, right?
some day i’m going to look up the difference between rapture and rupture
dreamed i was a bug only Kafka’s mother could love
didn't know whether to whine or whinge
dreamed i was a dead tree and woke up petrified
the most important meal of the day is a good night’s sleep
tomorrow i want to do something that can't be done alone
i want to be ethical, but the anguish?
the one thing we have in common is i'm down and you're uppity
pick a hole from which to pull your language
i’ll be the arbiter and you be the arbitrary
listen, is that a helicopter or the dishwasher?
my head is beating like a heart
in a train on a dream
a body emotional tends to remain emotional
since you are them we need to talk about my problems
between death and health lies the shoe string
and we were like, dude, how ineluctable of you
teasing the imperatives from the hypotheticals is not my specialty
though clearly i’m the captain of my own shit
an imperfect circle is a perfect polygon
not really a sound more like something wrong with the silence
i scream “encore” but the show that was your mouth is over
have you noticed the days are getting redder?
could you come back a little later i feel some disincarnation coming on
in the search for the perfect teal i once again discovered the perfect brown
digging into the earth at night puts you closer to the sun
if good things come in threes, i’ve only got three more to go
dreamed i was awake in a land where no one dies in their sleep
it’s hard to see a red flag against a red background
you take the sun and i’ll take the moon and we’ll meet tomorrow or tomorrow night whichever comes first
if you’re reading this then one of us is dead
turns out i do all my own stunts
a grocery bag blows across the road and we swerve to hit it
flying blind is still flying
then will you sing if i make you a flute?
if big b beauty then typo
not all sentences are an answer to what do you hate about Kant but who cares
i hope so
i’ve decided to be more factual: me and Samantha, Ketch Island, Oregon, June 15th 1977
bear in mind we’re all born of a troubadour’s toot, a skald’s scat
a sort of pivot system
after five years i’m still pissed about how gone you are
you’d think my family and friends would have staged an intervention by now
blisters are nature’s way of saying you’ll never be chitinous
dreamed i was a profit
dreamed the poetry world ended in 2024 and then of course the world world soon after
difference is the rub between the not yet and the one more time
ok, i’m standing here and i love you
here’s the deal
turns out you can do anything if you get enough help
but then wait i can’t seem to remember the things that bother you
do you think you’ll be getting any this year?
wide-eyed sneezing!
may your days always be with you
fonts are little fountains
Freud is like a stopped clock
no, your other left
turns out they call me Man of Many Fluids not for nothing
but you can call me Flossy Blossom
not burp but belch not soup but sup not curd but crud
not mouth but muzzle
finally: kitchen sink
i like it tight
the winter wind rubs me the wrong way
i once asked a little kid where she thought birds went at night and she said into the fractals
i am perhaps very stupid
could be my janky-ass respawn timer
if you could be any animal in the world, would you?
my skill set is greater than my will set
a recidivist walks out of a bar
nostalgia is the opiate
if i’m kicking in my sleep then i’m dreaming of you
what’s your eating theory?
not desire but a hankering
i have a secret i may confess later
hold it right there
if i stopped a train if i sat by your grandmother if i named you a planet if i assuaged and pocketed
              and Patsy Cline’d you, then would you love me unconditionally?
. . . or at least pity me and buy my charcoal sketches?
is that a school or a prison yes
mud thaws
living is like dying except you have to live with it
you are veiled and remembered or totally erased
moonlight falls on my head
protect from or expose to?
turns out differences are all the same to me
i blame myself for everything and for that i blame my parents
in this way a man is entitled and cracker encrusted
dreamed i was cracker encrusted
at last count there were 32 mainstreams and still i’m a weirdo
now i’m snotting and flailing and shrieking and no one can tell if i’m laughing or crying
i call this feeling
like pouring gasoline on a supernova
i am in denial about i know not what
the girl swings her shadow across the monkey bars
parched laments waft up from the malarkey
when i stumble i am shame
but when i stutter i am shame
you are the sluice gate of me
i need to escape or stay here better
i wish i could go out and leave me at home
how’s that online rehab working for you?
frequent buyer gulag
dreamed we still love each other sweetly crazy every day and night and you never died
i’m a ricochet coming home to myself
every word a rock in the mouth like burning water under a burning bridge
i speak only enough Portuguese to clean fish
turns out i’m way off
with a little planning i could achieve regret
headscrabble snowgrit wingwound prickerbush
i’m candy-ready
my unfair advantage beats your unfair advantage
eating lasagna is not emotional but purging it is
don’t you start in on me
i don’t feel so good
let’s rest for a sec ok that’s enough why word word word instead of, say, image image image?
peep-toe galoshes
late capitalism
check please
now start in on me
i respectfully suggest nope
it’s hard to be poetical without transfiguring skin
or you could go surreal with a mouth of bones
if anyone is shy on love i’ve got a bunch in self-storage i need to get rid of
you won’t feel a thing
a little game i like to call fun with fulcrums
fortunately no one recognizes me or remembers my Olympic bronze medal
i have a sore could i borrow $20?
dreamed i was a tapeworm with superpowers
you are in control and other problems
you are coming to a head
dreamed i was talking to you
turns out i’m talking to you
. . . my secret is ashes
or, in a pinch, cinders
did i mention how much control you’re in?
hey man, i’ve been waiting for hours so just shut the fuck
i’m just tired as all get out is all
stress the whole way through
windows suggest what doors demand
if you’re looking for me he ain’t here
but you can call me Professor Desiree i’m so pleasing and instructive
for the swoll and the non-swoll alike
teacher says pigeons are nasty
scissors are two knives on an axis
i keep forgetting is sterile good or bad?
let’s festoon
i’ll be the host and you be the hostage
which brings me to the politics of cute
lovable bad boy seeks biographer
my expansive interiority is neither
description decorates
the word chiaroscuro is enough for me
i’ve been too complicit with evening visitors
now that i’m older, let’s stop
i can quit wanting any time i want to i just don’t want to
i’m a leathery-skinned turtle egg that might survive
i can dig holes in water
one can never have too many arms
i remember Thanksgiving as you not eating
dibs on abjection
every night i fall asleep spread eagle and every morning i wake up fetal
all the feelings with “ject” in them
such a slurry
one part after another spits, calls it quits
time to gather creek-side?
being one of two is more fun than being one of one
i can’t quit thinking in definitions for example a mockery is me
gargantuan orangutan
does Buick still make a Skylark because i want one
dreamed i was a CIA agent sent to infiltrate Hospice
destiny deviation
tethered goat
rampart of fragments
oh, aren’t you a pretty thing
you dirty up real good
i can feel all my blood retreating to my heart trying to save it
dreamed i was Captain Utterance and i could pronounce milieu
the point is i’m legit and i’ve got a budget
let’s cerebrate
you be the turpitude and i’ll be the heck fire
these are my smoking britches
all my fields are meadows
the one with warblers is a lea
flit and dawdle in the runnels
i think i found a tree for your bird
dreamed i was Ack the Umpteenth
not drop but droop not pity but pittance not acceptance but whatever
done did the math
which proves everything i’ve ever said
there are no safe zones
and how to run with candles lit
and dear falling sky please stop
i need scotch tape and scotch
we were starting to do the dishes you said cover me i’m going in
funny then but a hole in me now
i feel my everything shifting
dreamed you were the ocean i was happy to drown in
i want to be greater than the sum of my parts
maybe i should increase my member base
if too late then disaster but if disaster then too late
my personal mission statement stipulates mahogany, cedar, or black cherry burl
but cremation saves trees
puns pile up like two more tumors
aphasia as aphorism
not entropy but entrepid
turns out i’m a tall white guy in the middle of the country
i can already tell i’m going to need another shed for this water

Randy Prunty: I'm a librarian in Boulder where I live with poet Elizabeth Robinson and our dog Brock. I have recent work online at Caliban and the tiny. In 2016 Moria Books published my chapbook pretend i'm me.