by shannon baker
a kid could get greedy
smashing eyes like that around
the walls and hearts of everyroom.
i prayed for extra paper
in the fluorescent bed
where we shed smells like
lawyers tossing bath towels.
i never thought to overrule your damaged miracle.
every stable-born suck-scream
held onto the sculpt
of swift iris
and fleshy bubbles brought
mess of horizon
into foul view.
it gets the water twice as hot in the place between ketchup and china.
and i drilled straight to the fruit of it.
in the stretch i pitch and wonder
of all there is to be seized by
at least the instinct
could be beautiful.
when i am africa it will all be left up to the lizards.
headstrong, brimming
healthy with farewell i held
my knees against the salon mirror and
laughing, became wet
and misspelled things.


  1. Found this on cadenza: “Cadenza often refers to a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse) and can be written or improvised, depending on what the composer specifies.” [Wikipedia] Not to be confused with: credenza: “A credenza is a piece of furniture that became very fashionable during the second half of the 19th century. Often made of a burnished and polished wood decorated with marquetry a central cupboard would be flanked by symmetrical quadrant glass display cabinets. The top would often be made of marble or other decorative stone or inlaid wood.” [Wikipedia]. Oftentimes during the soft flowing rain, i have found Halifax laying on the credenza performing a cadenza, go figure, he may be a trannie. lol.
    This is one of those poems that has to soak into you for a while like lighter fluid on charcoal before a delicious drunken bar-be-que. There’s a lot of specific/concrete action of the senses within the context of abstract perception…the emotions percolate here in a tasty mix of the rare beauty and the everyday. I almost feel that the last 5 lines of the poem bring an artistic actualization of sorts, a coming-to-grips, or happiness, that is a reversal of the starting point (the title), ‘Half Hearted’. What do you guys think?
    In any case, I’m letting this poem swirl around in my psyche-cupid for a while letting it manifest an inebriation and musical enlightenment. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Baker!

  2. I’m a tremendous Hemi with a tremulous tranny. That credenza was my dashboard with real wood accents.
    Enzo’s NASCARdenza! A hysterical rebel-flag dripping hauck-tooey Redman redneck red-blood pumping from my bleeding closet liberal union man heart!
    How dare you impinge my dig-niegh-tye Mofo- if I didn’t have my good heels on, I’d kick your ass.

  3. Sometimes I think I’m reading riddles rather than poetry. I really appreciate some of the imagery as well as a few of the lines here and there, but as far as trying to figure out the riddle I’m just left indifferent.

  4. In this postmodern age, if meaning is not meant to be subverted, it should at least be misspelled. But, yeah, it’s a bit of a puzzle. I could spend time just thinking about the title alone.

  5. Agreed. This is so surreal that I am still trying to soak it in. I wouldn’t call it puzzling, I’d call it scattered. Not neccessarily in a bad way, there’s just images tossed about like a gourmet salad. I liked it. . . I wonder what it means to the author. Was it one of those writing experiences (as I often have) where you just let the images tumble from your brain like a tiny waterfall. . . or piniata explosion? Or was this well-thought out poetry? A one-hitter or a rewrite?

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