Monday, August 25, 2014


Psychedelic Norway
John Colburn
Coffee House Press

first impression

we throw a party and the police come

they have black shoes and accessorize well

like hipsters

we immediately throw another party

the police come back

they are enchanted with our music

it calls to them

their fists love our doors

I have been in this kind of relationship before

the police leave

they drive through the night to end another party

we must think of them in the morning

how an officer sits at the edge of a mattress

afraid of a new day

fumbling with the silk edge of a blanket for comfort

the police want us to think of others

and to stop having this good time

but everything that happens is just something

we made up a moment ago

and when the police tell us not to be so happy

we ask them where they got their shoes

it is unspeakably early in our lives

we want to come to our own parties

as other people — then we'd show us how to live

we want to come to our party as the police

we want to be others

it is wrong but we still want to

some people keep a record of their most loved moments

on scraps of paper in a coffee can

we want to be something we just made up

when the song ends

we want the next song to make us happy

the police drive through the night on pursuit tires

we know where they get their shoes

we show them how to live

fumbling with the silk edge of a blanket for comfort

writing their names on scraps of paper

to put in a coffee can

we want them to come back


ode to mescaline

Cold flower walks back and forth in the shy body.

Cactus petal swims in the hungry body.

Green vapor sings in the fever body.

The stomach goes away down a hard road.

Here comes a fireworks body.

Father flies through clouds.

Mother rises through earth.

I admire each leaf.

The sky pleases the day.

We'll give our hair back to earth.

Even the armpit, even the ditch has a pleasing fashion.

What if I were a mango?

Smell how the grass loves us.

Feel the tongue of the cloud.

A listener praises the sound of fire.

See our shadows have dignity.

Our headaches have their own lives, like moons.

I sit aside a day for clouds, a night for clouds.

It grows green light inside me.

There is nothing to resist.

Sometimes I am nothing.

The tongue of the cloud cleans each word.

The sweet offering of the voice makes a way.

Any name is good enough.

Let's hear the sound of walking.

Walking is part of the song.

A cactus god dreams everything.

I heard about your other god.

I heard it walking.



It is better to sleep upstairs

in the world of dreams.

Almost shining in the sky.

My parents have never told me

one dream they've had.

When daylight moves in, a settlement,

the dream travels by dog.

It is a dog in the shape of a dog.

In a dream my parents finally tell me

one dream they've had.

Then I sit up in bed and dream I

sit up in bed

telling my wife about a dream I had

with a dog in it.

My father yells up the stairs

I had a dream, I had a dream.

Then I look out the window

and see a space on the sidewalk

where a dog just was.

The dog that sleeps when I am awake

and wakes up running when I fall asleep.

Later, in the shower,

I put my mouth to the nozzle

and I am a dog.

What if my parents

have never had one dream!

I sit up in bed

almost shining in the sky

and tell my wife about a dream.

The downstairs in the shower

I am a dog, distracting myself

from the other thing I am becoming.

My dreamless father shouts up the stairs.

He can't walk anymore,

he is in my dream.

He will have to travel by dog.


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