2 poems by Zach Blackwood

Back of a person looking at many gleaming tablets

my zone (your hoodie)

it smells like your dog all over me
body shrinks out the air like wow i can get it now:
how an interval congeals on us
wonder if i webmd’d that feeling
like a rag of colts on their honeymoons
one day we’ll call this the lanternfly summer
we all reactivated our facebooks and got out of bed,
and that was fun and not sad or scary or chaotic
a woman posted a close-up, motion-blurry selfie
with the caption i kill every day
and we felt safer
a tidal wave of moonlight levels
cleaning us selfish off of everything,
pushing freighters off the edge like marbles
a system of tangled metal arms
actualized into the shape of our double body:
a song covered so many times its authorship turns. me on
one toe, invisible hoop turning. whole body
turned rubber spatula, forming to contours:
in what ways do we talk each other into social capital?
or carve tunnels through whole trees for cars?
we’ve only been in bed for one year today
we’ve only just pried open found mutuality,
drank the driest rosato under $25,
turned to steel balls on the fins of each
other, felt the horizon tilt caffeine dizzy nicotine dizzy
i’m missing you in lausanne very funny very nervous
text a photo of the swiss alps the big bald trees
on the banks of lake geneva a giant foosball game
but all of the athletes have rabbit heads you would
pretend to hate it here
this is where all the evian in the
world came from
a real co⁠—star notification inflates itself
into existence and forgotten memory at once
there’s a place in the world where the rain is so acidic
your sense of smell goes flat over time
a flower could be any flower at all
i told you about the smell of ozone before rain
it all comes back

handled air

in zack’s poem, he says days without healing
and it personally feels sickening like a wave
ringing a supple milk glass bell
a weepy voicemail through the drywall
a finger on the psycho killer button
some people see space and feel cold
or they see themselves inside of that grand drape
feet sticking
out the bottom:
maybe everything is pretension:
a water balloon end for a belly button
a body as a whole
stucco house: a lifelong double-dare:
craft an obsession: my dear
husbands tangled in strips of paper
like cash stuck to calf meat
an instant: the paper turns highlighter orange nylon
and the tension snaps hornier than it might’ve before
the sparse foley music
are you ever the passenger in a big truck?
fully turned to esplanade under a hottie?
felt the sun on your skin and felt dog-eared
when it’s gone? go to the grocery store
see the bounty of it and feel scared
and want to take everything home
and keep it safe?
*ominous voice* erotic wig… romantic wig…
a ghost of le labo hanging around
my neck slims to fit a single palm
the bed folds us up like two lozenges
lozenge is really the name for the shape / i am
truly obsessed with how i can see
for miles after acupuncture
healthy posture feels natural and rewarding for weeks
my first job was at a haunted house
where state road 436 turned to altamonte drive
some invisible butcher curtain in the intersection
some ultra-fine establisher
some staticky Dead Hand signal re: caste…
anyway a woman brought her own snake from home
and i dressed in all black pushing my creepy hands through
a four-way stretch. my job title was nightmare / i am
passed into your hands like a football,
like a champagne neck on a saber
mercury rolling in lines in a palm
i could shed my human skin and you would
pick it up like it wasn’t disgusting
like it was wrapped in paper and ask
me where i want you to put it


Zach Blackwood is a poet and performance curator in Philadelphia, PA. He is the author of SEXY UNIQUE HOLLOW POINT from glo worm press. He has poems published in Peach Mag, Occulum, Bedfellows Magazine, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. He is available on the world wide web @blackwhom.

This week’s illustrations are by Michael DeForge, who lives in Toronto, Ontario. His comics and illustrations have been featured in Jacobin, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Believer, The Walrus and Maisonneuve Magazine. He worked as a designer on Adventure Time for six seasons. His published books include Very CasualA Body BeneathAnt ColonyFirst Year HealthyDressingBig KidsSticks Angelica, Folk Hero and A Western World. Also, he stirs hot toddies with a pair of scissors.