Toby Fitch

8 Poems from ILL LIT POP

Pinned Weeks

absence touches me in ways i couldn’t predict
your body feels nice against mine
filled w/ secrets
is that bag smiling?
the heart’s an emotional organ mine
consumed 15 donuts today all jelly
when did you get so tense? there’s nothing
quite like urinating
out in the open air there’s always
god i love this music isn’t it dreamy?
[the sound of wind thru pines]
i’m now upside-down
i’m talking about seeing beyond fear
really sick & rotten really weird stuff is love
the blood of the universe?
pride obscures it i’m holding
in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies
there are things dark & heinous in this world
of things you can’t get anywhere
but we dream they can be found in other people
[pours a coffee]
i plan on writing an epic poem about this
[promptly spits it out]
about looking at the world w/ love
[into a microphone]
is this thing on?


blank-space baby crying hard
over gaudy tulips
stinking ooze follows you round
begummed bemattered beslimed forever
broke your heart in its chest
left a permed bad love circling

the fake flower tide hung my lit
head down a rabbit hole
lightning on my feet talking to the sky
in lace brocades & tissues
snow globes lost their minds
at the litter as it lay

love if it’s torture in your wildest
earwax-grimed ointment-hate dreams u can’t
just pretend in such amorous fits
that you don’t also shit perfect storms
on wonderland you dank cloud

who now so impiously blasphemes?
— me — i’m a deep cut a night-green ghost
shaking my phone from the rain voice
& all you had to do was stay
out of the red-lip woods
stop your nose or resolve to go

sorry not sorry for the endgame paranoia
& daubs & paints & creams
darling whelp your puppy water threw up
baby bricks all over the shop & me
shake it off monsters turned out
to be just trees (in the wind)

O  W  L
S    A    R    E
N        O        T        W
H          A          T          T          H
E              Y              S              E              E              M

S  O  M
E  T  I  M  E
S    M    Y    A    R   M
S       B       E       N     D
B           A           C           K

Pin Tweaks

i’ll do the talking i’m an oral surgeon
& the problems of our entire society
are of a sexual nature most boys are afraid to be
perfectly honest i’m in over my head
it’s like i’m the most beautiful
sleep deprivation
because that’s what you do
in a yellow light when you’re still
under arrest for the murder of fantastic trees
& a big majestic one-way ticket to dream
the most terrible nightmare
i’ll survive it’s not so bad
as long as you keep the fear from your
one day sadness will end
we’re holding it in a phone
boo! look it’s trying to think
it has engaged us in subterfuge & red herring
a fish i don’t particularly care
for hearts that yearn
the hurt i feel is my hurt
[a sort of drugged horrified whine]
there’s no algebra IRL love stinks
i’m overreacting but they’re my reactions
[waves dismissively]
see you in my dreams

Mixed Modern Love

Stars are out tonight gleaming like
blackened sunshine. All is well

in Gotham City, steel on the skyline,
sky made of glass, but something about

the clouds’ mixed modern love
gets me to church: time terrifies.

The girl on the seesaw is laughing
like a yo-yo. What is the answer to the

question of you, hooked to the silver
screen, a little box with a mirror

and a tongue inside? Sometimes I fear
the whole world is queer. It’s mainly

a physical thing. I’m always crashing
the same red love machine, gormless,

and the baying crowd right there.
Her sunken dream chaos is calling me

intelligent — a curve your behind has
(put all my eggs in a postmodern

guess-I-must-be-dumb song).
Screaming above Central London,

aristocrats on a mountain and the
spiders from Mars party like it’s

dredging the ocean; cars burn rubber
in my pants. A wallet drops and money

flies into the midday sun’s
systematic overthrow of the underclass.

Mugged by reality, animals strike
curious poses, turn and face the strange

bubble bath I’m floating in — a moist
peculiar violent room fighting with lovers

past. Dignity is valuable, BATMAN
came down hard on the street

Jimmy lives on, screwed-up eyes floating
this joker’s boat. And I spoke into his

eyes, the kind you find in a second-hand
store: “Take your protein pills, America,

God shed his grace on thee, like weeds
on a rockface. I gave you all my money,

silver and gold, cream, this shallow orb,
a bucket filled with squirreled meat.”

Then I got the small red box and I didn’t
know what to do as I was making love

with his ego, its branches throwing
shadows. When I touch a body like yours

— like some cat from Japan, tall in this
one-room jungle-monkey-cage

overlooking the ocean — I think
my spaceship knows which way to go.

I’ve seen the future: it will be scary
monsters and super creeps bending sound

on a mushroom cloud. But the nurse doesn’t
care, didn’t have the decency to change

the sheets. She’s not sure if you’re a boy
or a girl. I wish we were all nude, I wish

there was no black and white in a city full of
flowers, purple rain, serious moonlight.

It’s much harder in the afterworld
learning to live with someone’s depression,

an ocean of violets in bloom. I watch the
ripples change their size, like every good

boy should. I used to let you wear all my
clothes, my diamonds and pearls, in the

event that this fantastic voyage might turn
to erosion beneath your hair.

He coughed and shook his crumpled wings.
Maybe he just needs a good talker to

give him a good talking to, before
the animals awake, out of time, and

all the children boogie. This is what it
sounds like when doves take your passport

and shoes. Something in the water does not
compute, mixed with other colours —

but she’s happy in the red, my nuclear
baby, my idiot lemon crush.

T   H   E
R   E   ’S   A
L     W     A     Y     S
M       U       S       I       C       I
N           T           H           E           A           I           R

N  Y  O
U    S    E    E
M      E      A      G      A
I        N        I        T        W        O
N              ’T              B              E              M              E

Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland, and author of Rawshock, Jerilderies, The Bloomin’ Notions of Other & Beau, and the forthcoming ILL LIT POP (flying island books/Cerberus Press). He works as a freelance editor, a researcher, a teacher of creative writing, and etc.

An earlier version of "Mixed Modern Love" appeared in Flash Cove.
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