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“night comes to the community pool.”

dancing again to songs
they swore to god they’d
never dance to, my father’s
brothers edge in thicket
through wild madder rows,

w/ briquette gums     loped

in rag-county snuff, beating
salad bowls for drum skins,
coffee tin cymbals –  their foam
coolers bob     in breakers of
white birds.

the clouds are a town the 
light aches to get out from
they sing.  the black river 
moves like a raincoat.


“totem of bones in a brown paper sack.”

he is swimming 
through what the air around him
has bartered

        strapped back
        in hydraulic bed,
             by velcro strap – 
        arms wading through debris
        that is brought
             in the barter – molecules
        to be pounded flat,
        forced-out, mastered;
        his teeth coarsened
            w/ torched paper – 
        his skin
        a cracked, plaster cast
        of the man
             he is meant to resemble

the man he is meant to resemble
is rendered in miniature, posed
in 11x14 frames on the shelves
     of this room, w/ blind eyes
walled     behind chinese glass
looking down at the form
they’ve grown into.  the past self
on these shelves
     is a pastor of music
whose wife is fucking
the other pastors in the church, but the new self
in the bed
     does not know this

        its histories are as starved
        as its organs
        w/ a mind blown-out
             like a match; 
        w/ a chewed-upon tongue
        (belt-sanded /n raw)
        that may as well be a motel
             for all the good it’s doing.

i move to the photos
of the 11
x14 man, hearing
his voice again, what it has 
told me: “most people
seek salvation 
w/ a drive-thru –
touchless    automatic
like a car wash – 
     but not even a grassblade
     takes god personally.”

        his wife is telling me
        about the ant colony
             infesting the waiting room
        when his body begins rolling
        like a barbell; his lips snare
             w/ tones of low,
        curbwater moans, the feeding tube
        ripped out
             like an extension cord.
        he is raising his hands
             to call for music 
             as he used to –  
             some invisible band
        behind the dry wall;
        his arms    fighting
             to regain their rhythm
        against the velcro straps
        /n plastic lining of the bed,
        against waste pans of piss
             /n black shit splashed
                  over the carpet.
        the orderlies arrive
        to usher us out in white shoes
        as if part 
             of his orchestration.

i am among them
in the parking lot
kicking crabapples over the asphalt
watching the shadow of something
     heavy as water
hang over their heads – 
but i refuse them, this lie
of shadow, however heavy
    their water hangs – 
he held the only thing that mattered
in whatever was left of his hands.


“paradise regained.”

                he tells me
                it’s illegal to be drunk

at a bar in alaska

                (flipping the switch
                of the schlitz beer sign        on

                what i mean, he says

                if this was alaska
                i’d ask you to leave.



Brandon Thomas DiSabatino is the author of the full-length poetry collection "6 weeks of white castle /n rust" and the "trashed haiku" xerox series.  His work for the theater, "Down Among the Vultures" and "Sand in a Memphis Glass," has been performed in NYC and Cincinnati.  Other writing has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, New Limestone Review, Belt Mag, Cathexis Northwest Press, After the Pause, Silver Needle Press, Stereo Embers and the Slush Pile Podcast.  He currently lives in Kentucky.

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