by Nick Sturm
A BASIC GUIDE TO THE FUTURE
One future was talking to the other future about vitamins but the first future didn't much give a shit about vitamins it only cared about big blockbuster hits like the one with the guy who lives in the abstemious dumpster the other future wasn't offended but he definitely wasn't going to share his orange anymore then another future showed up dressed like a human holding a cell phone hey I got your text about the moat the new future said to the other future sounds pretty rad but the other future wasn't listening because the first future had just found the zipper in its skin and the skin was real and they all stood there looking like prairie grass not knowing what was going to happen next.
A BASIC GUIDE TO VERMONT
There goes Hans in his little boat oh Hans please come back the bed and breakfast will never survive Hans you are pure sex with your tusks shining in the sun in the future Hans I am a monster in this savage petticoat I don't know what to do without you I don't know how you found a boat out here in this wilderness oh Hans I am forgetting the smell of your hands please come home your little boat isn't going to make it and how will we ever again play ping-pong how we will we ever understand our grief here where we are very small and covered in trees.
A BASIC GUIDE TO GETTING STARTED
Today I am going to the grocery store.
Sales on codfish and mangoes.
Five airplanes hanging under
the grey clouds over the highway.
I sit in the car feeling like a bag
of lemons. In my pocket my
cell phone is growling. Hello.
The river smells like pizza. I am
wearing a blue shirt. By the cart corral
an old man looks to the sky.
In an aisle made entirely of apples
I touch every kind thinking of the other
things I have touched today: a girl
with brown eyes, a strawberry,
a piece of yellow ribbon.
Hello. I am in an airplane made of blue
metal flying over a city I don't
know the name of. I don't know
how to work these controls. I don't
know how not to be feel good
about being bewildered. And that's
when I see it: the glistening broccoli.
A BASIC GUIDE TO POLITICS
I can't understand you through the meat and the exercise balls stop peering through the dark windows of your stagecoach your horses are tired and you haven't addressed the issue of the levee your hands are so dry you should think more about the needs of your body your hair is terrible turn off the industrial fans you look like a horrible kind of duck let's sit in this grass did you know it is spring and the people are opening their windows and sending their children into the trees the hills the offices the alleys when was the last time you listened to the ululation of the rivers ripping through the people are opening their windows and the windows are big and they can see your stagecoach and they know you are headed for the sacred tent but they could care less they are in love with the idea of not listening to you because nothing is more repulsive than you and your friends in the sacred tent never thinking about blackberries.
A BASIC GUIDE TO LOVE
Alice filled the refrigerator with grapefruit.
I looked out the window. "This weather
is really nice," I said. "Oh, don't bother
changing the subject," she said. Biscuit,
our cat, gleamed in the sun like a fish.
Alice looked at the floor. I coughed. "I wish
we could fly away together," she said.
We walked into our room to make the bed.
I coughed again. Alice smoothed the covers.
Something inside me broke. "Alice, please
quit being so apprehensive. I feel like a body
in my own body." Alice turned the color
of a dried leaf. Biscuit meowed, eyeing
my antennae, my little yellow wings.
Nick Sturm is a graduate student in the NEOMFA: Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts. He has one very happy little poem forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review. His reviews and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Barn Owl Review, Bookslut, Coldfront, H_NGM_N, HTMLGiant, The Laurel Review, On the Seawall, and Whiskey Island. He is assistant editor of the Akron Series in Poetry and associate editor of the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.