Sean Burke :: from Slack Composition

On the highway, we’re all trying to get over. The car we’re in is built on greasy chicken bones. I have a heart and it is mostly breaking. This one has a boat in tow. Rain falls from clouds, or clouds pull in rain. A few words still rattle in the brain: slantways, flouncing, soup. A chain of commands activates the hour and I’m sixteen again, windows down, listening to the radio: All your lost hair will make a blackbird’s nest…Officer, I was just searching for the Northwest Passage. I was not one, but many. We traveled a great distance looking for a retail job. We knew what we wanted more than what we are. I’ve never seen anyone over twenty-five cry in a public place. No—that’s a lie. The car has broken down. Men are breaking in. Surely, we’ve all had our heads tossed around in a paper cup. The sea pulls in rain; clouds fall in the sea. The factories that bottle them have fallen on rough times. To reach into the past, solve for Y. The dog ate my home. Each of us is overtaken by a simple role. At breakneck speed, we begin to resemble our pets, photo albums duly retrofitted. Days are lengthened without our input (I’d just wanted to say I love the idea). Maybe we’re taking it all in, but in the wrong way. It’s true. I’m a goofy-looking bastard. I talk different in my sleep. And my sleep is made of chicken bones. Of course that’s a lie. Martha, when we’re dancing and I hold you close, do you think of holding as a form? Or like a greasy foreign car, do you think the clouds are all horse-shaped? Hold a thought and see if it bucks. What size was it? There are no holds, Martha. There’s just shapes.


Additional work by Sean Burke can be found in the print version of Issue 5.