George McKim

Cento – hands

one bird at a time
comb the corpse’s hair
makes language holy?

a zero in your mouth where there once was a tongue
When you ate wine-soaked water lilies
with such dead eyes
with piss teeth

poison-hushed, huge,
the storm
wants the beasts back

the color of an ants wing: pale
my mouth is a scar

out of co-wandered language
like spears, resemble draped cane-shadows
and speak chrome to your muted eyes
Your wings open, your body shed it’s exoskeleton
of darkness –

Perhaps it’s true
then this


Cento – imagine this as music

my dead swan
I made the rain
the graveyard is a garden. Of them.

I’ve written nothing

where speech comes from
A world fills you, a history

when we started building
long shadows. Leaves
as if there were two suns, or two winds,

There is a window in each
the overcast sky, winking
like a disease

The first word
word for bread,
imagine this as music
when you’re drowning

the shape of the universe
swimming lessons
from the heart

Cento – I often think of owls

I remember talking to the sea, but not
I ask the sea,
I open my mouth to ask

I stand in a dark alley
I scream in black
I pour out your trumpet

I stopped at a bus stop and sat there –
I wanted to write a book
I wanted to use the word hub.

I removed my clothes:
I am an empty glass jar turning yellow in the sun.

I catch fire
I don’t know where to look
I remember the grey mornings slowly passing

I am without friends
I want to squeeze the stars until they weep.

Cento - vignette




Cento - and fixed; the arboreal splendor, the

I can hear myself, my voice that is, in the
Partially there. Full moonlight on the

across water. Soweto-Miami with no distance, the
A weave of weft (wept) in the

The heat from above, and heard the
of cloth and wind, hedgerows. She discovered the

walls, each detail perfectly reproduced from the
pitch to the blank physiognomies of the

Square the length of a street to the
A semicircle which appears to be the

figures the fragments of a picture. She refused the
occurrence, stoop down, bend on. The

admit to not expecting, as if the
Way slow minded the

Pushcart nominated poet George McKim has an MFA in Painting. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ilanot Review, Diagram, elimae, The Found Poetry Review, Poetry WTF, Scissors and Spackle, Dear Sirs, Shampoo, Ditch, Glittermob, Cricket Online Review, Otoliths, Blaze Vox, The Tupelo Press 30/30 Project and others. His chapbook of Found Poetry and Visual Poetry Found & Lost was published by Silver Birch Press in 2015 and a second chapbook of prose poems titled Ghost Apparatus is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in Septmber 2017.

The five poems above are from a chapbook of cento poems titled Grand Theft Poetry, which is desperately seeking a publisher.

Source texts for the above centos:


“Did Don Juan Eat Like This?”, Emily
“One Bird ata Time”, Luisa Muradyan
“Cicatrix”, Rachel Fogarty-Oleson
“[untitled]”, Serena Chopra
“SKIN HORSE”, Olivia Cronk
      SHARD”, Paul Celan
“STRETTO”, Paul Celan


“Selvedge”, Sharon Osmond
“This”, Andy Weaver
“Decorations”, Andy Weaver
“Layers of Paper”, Laura Mullen
“Anacoluthic Light”, Nathaniel Mackey
“The Roses Had The Look of Flowers
      That Are Looked At”, David

imagine this as music

BECOS by Chris Tonelli
HEADSTONES by Chris Tonelli
HEADSTONES ii by Chris Tonelli
SELF-RELIANCE by Chris Tonelli
LAMENT W/ STARLING by Chris Tonelli
LA LA LA by Sampson Starkweather

I often think of owls

“Wives and Children”, Katy Chrisler
“The Sweet and Disappearing”, Melissa
      Reeser Poulin
“Snow”, Kate Lutzner
“How I Came to Rule the World”, Justin
“GIFT HORSE” , Paige Taggart
“MAMMALIAN HALF”, Paige Taggert
“Sorrow Leaves the Body by Ox Cart”, Jacey
      Blue Renner
“Cambers (for U. L.)”, Mariela Griffor
“I Am Telling You This Story Because”,
      Laurin Becker Macios
“Full Gas”, Tristan Tzara

and fixed; the arboreal splendor, the

“WORD OF MOUTH”, Ted Greenwald
“THE KLUPZY GIRL”, Charles Bernstein
“PART QUAKE”, Charles Bernstein
“from QUARTZ HEARTS”, Clark Coolidge
“BLUE BOOK 42”, Steve Benson
“ECHO (a commentary)”, Michael Palmer
“ECHO (texte antiparallele pour Pascal
), Michael Palmer

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