ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


Poems by Chris Crittenden



sunset baked the folk, millions of them,
all flavored different the same.
AC’s whirred on volt-bound coal,
while the swelter of lets and sublets
played on.

owned the decibel extremes,
but in a far corner of the emulsified sky
a pair of hawks tread.

after they funneled off,
flies in the amphitheaters of kitchens had to do,
or disaporic house spiders,
steadfast in lank mezzanines.

(no one counted
the machinelike ants
migrated from scalded dirt
to cool cornucopic parlors.)

crows whittled the sun away,
those tired and cranky switch-wing punks.
Fibonacci throngs of them, congealing,
superimposed whirlpools
over the effluence
of this brake-light time.

the city wasn’t
supposed to be about swerving birds,
or even the trudging phlegm of cars.
faces hung inside
like fruity cyborgs:
orange, grim, and cherry splashes
across the herded glass
of spectral visors.



Break Up

=>wasn’t what he wanted, could/couldn’t,
so ineffectual in its swallow-of-the-tail,
an exasperative fix.
methamps and sexstacy.
trestle over a deep Escher
and a Heroinymus sort of posh.
there was a wasn’t
in the sacred disaster,
the werewolf brain stemicals
of the regenerant martyrix.
it was about the Jove of shocks
and the Sero + Ephrine trinity,
about the time that wasn’t,
and so trapped itself, whip-eagled
on a rack of moot looping.
it had to run back around
to not get to the source.
best if Love couldn’t be slaked;
but as with all specifiphysics,
sextractions came with opposites,
couldn’t exi(s)t without the
in/fidelity of the p/-p logic,
the mutual alone break up
when s/he kissed apart.
and so it=>



moon in smog scrim
lists behind Narcissus--he as a streetlamp--
as trash lolls, hunkering
down windy boulevards.
the rare commuter a line
said by a motor in a machine play.
under the cramped hood
dwells oil and guzzle,
and the seeds of future robots
shrieking with fire.

yet the future means nothing
to the panoramic bamboozle of the Now:
how sin-steeped the city is,
envious with songs of nowhere praise,
and apparitions in bottled screens--
genies who stoke any desire
seducible by illusion.

executives large
behind upper floor secretaries,
whose cute waists smack of angels,
brag that after seven days of bull markets,
even Jesus or Buddha--
even Shiva, Yahweh, or Wicca--
would break down and proclaim,

It is good.


Chris Crittenden writes from a struggling town fifty miles from the nearest traffic light. Several of his poems were recently featured in the anti-war Parabellum Project, an installation of gouaches at the University of Maine Museum of Art.

Return to Offcourse Index.