Life Support (To Rimbaud)




I’m sipping air through
a straw—


lungs pressed,
about to swell

into my neck,


mouth bobbing just above

the algal film

of a bed morphed into
a fetid estuary, gulls


winging absence
in the pallid air above,
water crackling


with stresses
from my spinal cord
that tugs on a vestigial tongue—


could this be death that weaves its pig-hide through my





But hold—

            Rimbaud hops on

the harpsichord in the anteroom:


he ekes out flower-juice notes
that twitch like sphincters
above my head,

then fall


into these intermediary waters.

And these droplets,

drizzling from his smutty fingers,

form dabs of nuance around my body.


Each time they diffuse

into these thick green waters,

a whale moan or dolphin screech

resounds, a tortured wrench,


through the muck . . .





you singing wretch

with a head full of lice

(that you can make sing too)


your sun-eyes blaring

your forehead coalescing with tornadoes


let your bright colors dilate

rich with the hidden evils of childhood

and your tourniquet of nights

and your eternal tightrope dance


In turn my body will become

a channel of this music


pressed by its modulations

through darkening gulfs of sight

toward your sunken palace


            your maniacal vortex plunge

Kyle Walsh is a writer and drummer currently residing in Richmond, CA. He grew up in New Jersey and holds a B.A. from in English Literature from Cornell University. His work has appeared previously in Dryland and The Penn Review.