Buck Downs




          all you princes
                     & princesses
of my euphoria 

                     you are night-
                     time’s darling 

          your potty mouth
                     makes me out --
          now come over here
                     & tell me
all about your day -- 

                     the system
          doesn’t know you 

heart slammed
to the pavement 

isolated incidents
that happen every day 



broke bread


in this bed of bruises

fragments are
our whistles 

exposed to mind
and walking blues 

ain’t you been good to me

          now ain’t it a shame
when the spirit don’t move me 


a bottle of wildlife control


                               the world
                     got mental
          in front of me 

          crumpled figures,
                     crumpled form 

bad alchemy in motion

          turning down the power

          breaking it up
          taking your cup 

this horn of plenty
          that fell on me -- 

                               spent wealth
                     and real done --
          it’s the only
                     way to go -- 

bartender! I believe
it’s my turn – 


crusted tuxedo


                     I met you out
                     behind the bar,
                     it sounds funny
                     when I say it
                               that way -- 

                               time’s own

I feel like nobody,
          I forget people
                     know who I am – 



the floor at the door


sitting in the rupture
                     safe and sound 

so called whole markets

like a found elevator

          fist and finger

                               skid road
                     as it is

everybody eats it


oh oh on
oh oh off


          I got a girl
          she’s comatose
ever since I gave her
                     some of those --
the shit she asked me -- 

hard was my future
          when I taught he
          how to get high
                     since I failed
          to teach her why 

          buttoned down
like the numbers
          on some phone --
          pillowed out
like some ricochet-
biscuit -- if it don’t
                     bounce back,
          you go hungry -- 

no dosing and no doxxing --
          I don’t drop down
                               on a body
without permission --                    

                     I don’t tell
on anyone but me --


A native of Jones County Miss., Buck Downs lives and works in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is Another Tricky Day (above/ground, 2020). in 2017, Furniture Press Books (Baltimore, MD) published a selected poems, Unintended Empire.