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Knock Our Hats Off Contest Winner
Micheal Sean Bolton
Honorable Mention Poetry

What Pollock Heard in the Cedar


Here to the Cedar is fat air—chestnuts and piss and motor oil —
the way down to sacrament, robes, my clown, this blessed liquid.
Far now from angels in Greenwich in easy chairs trumpeting,
how to fall without needing the words, all these crass reveries.
Devil is in the sweat, the drip-splat (de Kooning’s a pissant); I fell
today into a scabbed surface, always kneeling sideways in
mania phased to recoil. Why I am dry. Har har!

Blue smoke settles in tidal pools, latex prophets, and the bar.
Where journeymen wait for exploitation (did I say explosion?
I meant extortion; extorsion; extradition) No, extravasation.
You imbecile, sit down and watch the words run. Take a knife
to it, all cribbed in crisis, this way what it is pours out
across pavement. And I can sleep with my head in glass, and
I can bury whiskey in the moon, the woman rise within.

Spasm-wrack solitude. Nothing must be left. Rapacious,
this diatribe, I dance my rant on preposterous white spaces.
Wrap this frenzy in your suffocating arms, my desire is
explosion waiting. Why doors shut my eyes? I am eclipsed
by moons, you harridans hinging, move through me like sand
in my blood. Ah, you will not contain what I cannot consume.
Foreshortened, I may be, I am not circumscribed.

I can stomp and I can bluster, I am larger than the sky.
Watch me spill from edges all of me full and swelling:
cock of the walk. Three times I crow and drop
into the breach. You know the colors of my breath;
I take in these rooms all of mirrors to exhale. No longer
secrets of what remains outside: I belong in all things.
Oh yes, mother, in your earthy embrace, I fly.




Micheal Sean BoltonMicheal Sean Bolton received an M.F.A. in poetry in 1993 and a Ph.D. in American literature in 2009, both from Arizona State University. He currently teaches in the Department of Literature and Language at Eastern Tennessee State University. He has previously published poetry in journals such as Prism International, Sage of Consciousness, and Thought Crime. His chapbook, A Passion, was recently published online by Gold Wake Press.


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