Connor Stratman



The bits that survive me
or this winter
will also fry

and attack
our memories

which chop back at them

Those chimes outside
to her neighbors

saints candles
stare back

at me, my
chest tightens
with the decided


So dangerous

this table
smell this

glass and
tell me

it’s not snowing


The long day is box office poison,
the door incidents grew frozen
dandelion deep into her ankles.
O the face, I went for it. I
saw the bottle shrinking and
the shrapnel tripling into gates.
The habits that stuck with heads,
bang! Corridor armors will hide
me where the blues can’t. This
is devil music, hidden candles
push twenty units by the end
of the swindling years of dread.


The tree is no life,
the energy channeled

through hollows
and stream
(where bicycles

clam up in
little circles)
split open

for all to
see and touch
with fur hands

where we’re
torn out
and thrown

in the ice
kept white
and silent


As if nothing was worthy
of your feet, I stood still
and waited for the walls
to glue themselves back
together. They never did
and we had to do it our-
selves. What you command,
and fuck, and chill into
the hollow rings of hands,
you bring to me as dances,
plopped against a wall
for the way it waits there.
Looking forward, the coma
of dollars and jungles,
are the new ways to please
or to ask how the boxes
burn and dig into grounds
where the chaplains beg.


After the storm, they went on their way. A bright sun eclipsed the fragments of ice on the windows, shrubs scrapped onto the alleys, backgrounds of dirt tripped on brick. Ten to two and the street clears. The morning denies the charge. The plump smoke of my breath crawls off the coats, Sheridan Road defecting into new skies, new planes of sound. A splash to cover up the creaks of the lake.

Listen and I’ll tell you a story.

Listen and you’ll hear the silence of growing trees.

Call him. You’ll see. Your voice bleeds like oils of incantation. This fable is the thread of the violation, the call of the carrions. If you don’t see it now, it will appear. The shroud of your mumbles will grow to clangs of the past.


In these: postures

minutes               all the bald covers

trim as                           
film Little
               and big

                              the sadness curves

to my body
clicking the locks
               and swerving

               into the wake
of the white wreck

The water carried
               me to you and yet
                              I kept floating      the sun

               caught you
                              pulled your hair

doves and carrions
to the hanged

               on the coast

No I won’t force this


of me watching

               you (standing
on you)              I am not there

               this time


In time, we were afraid of cities,
of diluted dates torn off hinges,
ceilings that collapsed as faults.
What do you see? Samples
of catastrophe, collision and
fogs. Stirs out memory, hills
where the dog army surges.
On the hill, you feel tired
as the sage birds turn their
heads and stare eyeless
at the larger mountain.

The show attacks, voices
from the mountain spit
and the globs mount
into the carpets of our
room. White shadows,
this is real only when
your lips curl to the door.


Coming home at all moments. The ice retreats.

A flicker of local lights, lost along the shoreline.

Say that it’s like a pillow. Your head rises.


On his back, a sin, a uniform,
tricyclic contusions and rapid
shifts of his eyes. His marker,
it seems, is the edge of the gurney,
a journey into the amazons
of touch. His hands, drunk
with sex and paper, crawl
onto the pedestal and rise
towards the lightning, his
cramped lake space postures
in the likeness of a goat.
This staring shine, this
encomium of nightfall,
is but a native of these
parts. You won’t see
this ice fall on the other
side of the building, you
won’t find the measures
so precise.

Connor Stratman is the author of four collections of poetry, Volcano (Writing Knights, 2011), Some Were Awake (plumberries press, 2011), An Early Scratch (erbacce press, 2011), and Invisible Entrances (erbacce press, 2010). He is the editor of the poetry journal The Balloon and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.
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