Ian Martin


i went to a house party
i went to have a conversation
the walls were the same old white
the walls welcomed me as an old friend
i met a friend i hadn't seen in 15 years
the beer pong game had lasted 15 years
i felt like i had emerged from a deep sleep
i felt a hand being lifted from my chest
i stayed after the hottest person left
i stayed inside a perfect bubble
i went home completely
empty and floating


i keep leaving
coffee cups upon
my heart. the circles
pile like cels. the
illusion of movement.
the heart outsourcing
its animation. a chronic
aversion to coasters.
another poem about
coffee, another pile
of cels to auction.
the secret history
of a million ways
to move the body.
a painstaking
attention to detail
in the broad strokes
of living, breathing
visibly to leave a
trace. to trace
a life. to live
for seconds.
if i wash my heart.
if i clean up
the movement, keep
the process a secret --

pity dig

“queer in a way that’s failed me”
-Human Bog, Baths

i use a clumsily large archaeologist's brush
to uncover people ostensibly living      like me
i drape myself in their history               it slides off
too velvety, too slick for the loose knit of my skin

i pull the fabric over me    desperate
to mould it as it hardens    like old lava
the heat-rose fades       the pulsation of all i didn’t do
ripples uncomfortably through the landscape

so i take a clumsily large roll of plastic tape
and a few stakes, as if no one else can ever see
what i’ve found,  as if nothing can escape the dig site
           i wrest a clumsily large strand of dna

      from what i hope is my ancestor’s hands      lay it next to mine
              pore over each infinity of each letter     clone myself

and let my clone sleep      stay awake for seven years
          and find nothing      as i become another different person

                                                  with another clumsy brush

Ian Martin is a Tetris enthusiast and part-time artist. Ian's work has appeared recently in Train, Half a Grapefruit, where is the river, Bad Nudes, Plenitude Magazine, and Pretty Owl Poetry. Ian has published 4 chapbooks, most recently PLACES TO HIDE (Coven Editions, 2018) and YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO KEEP THIS UP FOREVER (AngelHousePress, 2018). When not writing, Ian develops small games and complains online. [http://ian-martin.net]