3 Poems | Nathan Wade Carter


A lot like birth.
A boa constrictor coils around me.
Not crushing.
This mortal snake
slow dips me into the ocean.
A wet sandwich.
A naked man to not look at.
We delete in new ways.
Charged and expensive.
Written by a chicken.
The muse tosses you an anvil.
You catch & release.
You unwrap the line from the fin of a dolphin.
A breast full of liquid dinosaur.
A cereal of Hawai’i’s ash.
A television with a name.
Without pink eye
I never would have found
my dulcimer torso.
Oboe throat.
Ketchup and mustard body.
Jellybean pupils.
And turmeric roses for ears.
I dye you white
& start you over.
An engine full of sugar.
A penis full of salt.



To be vulnerable is to be taken apart.

I held back the truth
so you could not use it
against me.
I paused indefinitely
to not incite your silences, iced. I’m afraid
of not saying things. Afraid of lockjaw
and surprised by the might
with which you hold me down.
I can say that now.

What is it about pumpkins and their speech
bubble seeds? There is something I need, an orange
thumping weight to carry and bake.
What is it about pillboxes, their compartments,
a different seed each day of the week.
M is pumpkin. T is a walnut, its folds like ours.
W is condensation, or dew.
R is a curl of cashew. F is a mighty brazil nut.
S is as you would expect, a pomegranate seed.
U is empty. These are all memories.

I pile books and other paper next to me in bed.
My grandma did this at the end of her life. Everything
within reach. Why do we sleep
together when we sleep less well together? I had to learn
not to be picky. I had to learn to empty
and fill, repeat, hold
and spill. I had to learn not to tear meat
from me, to chew on tender wings. I had to learn
to zip lips and listen, be silent, sit,
what is said in my heart when I am not saying?

What is it about being carefully unscrewed,
a chance to exit contents
into a mouth. The people we feed
are the people we kick out once stout.



Alter the script. Sacred alphabet. Sacred serif. I’m scared of the discharge of texting. Inherent beam. Easy mis-commune. Sacred dance of trying to get out the way and choosing same direction as your obstacle. Touching never touching never touched. They say I’m a catch. Let’s leave fish out of this. Let’s remove our titanic penis from the Atlantic. Pacific. Indian. Black. Dead. Arctic. Footprint dance step diagram. The arrows. What is read on paper. Black marks. No exactness never shaped nobody. A gentleman. A heathen. I recede into my hairline. I reduce into a potent jus. We are paper waiting to be torn, cut, signed, folded.

Nathan Wade Carter is a queer, grey-a poet, musician, and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry can and will be found in Heavy Feather Review, Horse Less Press, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, Pacifica Literary Review, and others. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot. He is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at nathanwadecarter.com.



3 thoughts on “3 Poems | Nathan Wade Carter

  1. kirizar

    I have never hated a piece of poetry as much as I do Wet Sandwich. It strikes me as a computer-driven concoction of random words and spliced snippets of overheard phone conversations. It is kitchen sink poetry–full of dirty, broken dishes. Perhaps the author can take solace in eliciting an emotional response, even if it is one of loathing.

    That said, this line from Seraph almost redeems the preceding works: “We are paper waiting to be torn, cut, signed, folded.”

  2. kirizar

    Yes. We all have bad days. And some days my honesty slips its leash. Look, not everyone is going to like everything. Everybody writes crap at some point. And what is junk to me is treasure to another person. Someone out there probably loves this. I’m just not one of them.

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