Henry Crawford

Twilight Zone Reboot

you’re looking at [Plainview] Connecticut
population [8,000] a town of [ballparks]
[soda shops] and [white church steeples]
but as the people of [Plainview] are about
to discover their [Main Street] is but
another road into
                <The Twilight Zone>
“What if nobody knows we’re here?”
asks [Johnny] the disappearing veteran
looking over a row of closed doors [papered]
over in [NO TRESSPASSING] signs
before a ghost parade of shopkeepers
their stores [folded] and [sold] the bank
[consolidated] into an [ATM] its stony
fortress now a [used record store] fronting
the street that vanished when the [Walmart]
went up and they bulldozed the [lakeshore]
and leveled [Danny’s Diner] when the [movie]
was raised to make way for the [Cineplex]
which is now boarded up because everyone
uses [phones] and [devices] to watch their shows
and every [click] is [captured] in cloud-based
[data] making lists of [shows] they will like
[songs] they will sing [news] they will consume
and [jokes] they will [get] even these lines
of seeming [dissent] coded and [tagged]
with [brackets] to conjure up a sort of whimsy
[if you will] something only a human would do
but how do you know [this] isn’t the work
of a meme consuming machine making
all the [AI] calculations in the cyberspace
reaches of
                <The Twilight Zone> [!]

Boy in a Black T-Shirt

I’m not afraid of [my
name] I’m not afraid of
[my footsteps walking]
I’m not afraid of [my
skin] I’m not afraid of
[my chain] I’m not
afraid of [the streetlight
corners] I’m not afraid
of [the cops] I’m not
afraid of [the tracks]
I’m not afraid of [the
yards] I’m not afraid of
[my mother’s husband]
I’m not afraid of [the
school] I’m not afraid of
[the park] I’m not afraid
of [the things they’re
saying] I’m not afraid of
[the bricks] I’m not
afraid of [the stones]
I’m not afraid of [the
broken pavement] I’m
not afraid of [my
hands] I’m not afraid of
[my blood] I’m not
afraid of [the town] I’m
not   afraid   of   [the
streets I stand on]

Sex and its Discontents

the best metaphor for <sex> is sex
the <dream [state]> of <skin [coiling]>
and <re-[calling]> those <air [conditioned]>
[hours] of our [Route 50 <McSleep]>]
swaddled in the <company picnic [rapture]>
of another [Sunday <nighter>] happily 
<humping [along]> into our [post-coital]
future [satisfied] like a lion rolling over
to <slaughter [his cubs]> or the way
a Columbia River grizzly will <swallow [whole]>
another fattened salmon or a <portly [king]>
will decree the death of all first born males
<answering [the call]> of <DNA>
like an angel ascending the <double [helix]>
ladder or an <unwitting [Abraham]>
and a God with one commandment: 
<[copy] [copy]> <><><><><> <[copy] >
my [workshop] says we don’t [write]
enough about <sex> like [that night]
on the three legged stool [that day]
you walked in after work [that morning]
you aroused me so fast <making [me]>
have to [think] “Wittgenstein, Ludwig”

Audio Tour of a Box

[we welcome you] [to this audio tour] [and hope] [you find it] [interesting] [and] [informative] [the box] [you see] [in front of you] [has survived] [largely because of its] [uniform sides] [giving the box] [a superior shape] [but don’t let its smooth skin] [fool you] [the edges are sharp] [and extremely lethal] [boxes come] [in various colors] [making it easy] [for them to form groups] [and take sides] [despite the fact] [that they are all] [essentially] [the same shape] [but with only four sides] [it is difficult] [for the box] [to have a more] [complete] [point of view] [although some boxes] [have been found] [to be compatible with] [differing shapes] [or colors] [generally] [you’ll see a hardening] [of the edges] [as it closes up] [and stiffens all four surfaces] [it’s one] [of the oldest survival tools] [of boxes] [and this need to retain its shape] [means that can be] [stacked] [into compliant] [rows] [and columns] [when confronted] [by a perceived enemy] [so let’s go inside the box] [where we see an array] [of internal boxes] [these help maintain] [the shape of the outer box] [while often retaining] [the dents and bruises] [of past breaches] [and helping] [the host box] [maintain] [its solid] [geometric] [walls] [keeping the interior] [hidden] [at all costs] [that’s the story of the box] [there’s more than meets the eye] [we hope you have enjoyed] [our audio tour] [please visit the gift shop] [where you can try out] [an actual working] [box] [of your own]

Henry Crawford is a poet whose work has appeared in several journals and online publications including Boulevard, Copper Nickel, Folio, Borderline Press, The Offbeat, The MetaWorker and Into the Void. He was a 2016 Pushcart nominee. His first collection of poetry, American Software, was published in 2017 by CW Books.
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