MERMAID and REPORT ||| from Souvenir



You show reluctance behind the fire hydrant spray. Haze hangs higher than sun over water.  You were there, impeccable. Hygiene washes up on shore. To make a myth out of what happened. A table tipped over separates the houses. As oak divides amongst branches. Supper in silence  on patio.  What beautiful gladiolas. Sprouting on driveway. Carnations in crab shells. When my brain gets in the way it’s a complete mess.  The Greeks had the ones with mermaids. Worry less about cement, more about the hearth. Prehistoric campsites. Echinacea at night.  If I had a brain,  it would be clucking roosters.



Hornets becoming pelicans

(not a world I want

to live in, what without

the hurried convents

becoming shoes), horses

becoming glue. In search

of agencies (we look for

binders, landfills

of binders), we fine-tune

birdsong to the pluck

of taut clotheslines

(the musical bars

with their musical chairs

absorb the multiple

choices) of sunrise.

             It’s raining December

(hallelujah), it’s balmy,

& Jesus Christ am I itchy.

& on the third day, he

partied again. It’s easy

for a new-age bible

salesman to find

love over a chasm

(on a rickety drawbridge,

we shoulder a ladder

above the void you see

with stage lights in your eyes,

when you realize

it’s so dark

that no one will answer you)—

it’s bigger than your life.

             Fear & attraction activate

the same mechanical

horseflies in our brains,

& I don’t remember

whatever I’ve said, & half

of the actual events

on the actual days we followed

the fingerless sky

into our sanctimonious

mornings (our sincerities,

our niceties, our complex

picnics in the basement).

I blank on your middle name & lose

my own. I’ve had a bad memory

since I can remember. We should

always describe our cars

solely in the light

they accept from

the invention

of daytime (in banal sitcoms

of the future, straw man families

will be replaced by loners

with low salaries & self-

actualization issues), & we should

build greenhouses on top

of other greenhouses (solar

powered solar energy will spray

from the fully-charged protons

in the tablet cradled in the cobweb

in the corner) before the world ends.

             We’ll wish we’d run

fewer marathons & the ship

into the ground. God

never asked Noah to build a boat—

it could’ve been a log cabin,

a tent made of reeds, a frame

of steel on the perimeter

of a matted photograph.

Coast within the picture

until the show’s over,

before animal morphology

is all the rage & rage

is all but over (invent

a perfect future

narrative in the frontal lobe

of your present) again,

& take two of every

memory so no one

gets lonely.



Originally from Quincy, MA, Kevin Walter now lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a co-founder and co-editor of BORT Quarterly. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Handsome, Similar:Peaks::, Forklift, Ohio, Sixth Finch, Everyday Genius, and the Greying Ghost Press Pamphlet Series.

“Mermaid” and “Report” originally appeared in Souvenir.