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Two Poems by M.P. Armstrong

love letter to kenneth patchen

your generation is dead. now mine is reading the newspaper

and fading scans of your poetry. jstor delivers you to us in

droves. ink drips down the laptop and into our drain-pores.

wikipedia leads the lecture on your life. wikipedia is an

unreliable source. we do not think that you are dead.

we think we could find you somewhere, maybe in

greenwich village or san francisco. can you even

afford the rent there now? we can’t. we can’t buy

anything, least of all the revolution breathing

down our necks. i swear to you, we tried it

once and called out “be a beginning, a

revolution, dormitory neighbor!” but

we cannot get the middle class off

so i will come here to you, instead,

to home, to look for you in the

trees as slender as life, and

as tall, and hope that you

are breathing there,

silvery-pretty, to



if i was a woman of your generation, he tells me,

i would be afraid. i would be--he says something

hopelessly poetic, because we are former english

majors who wrap the world in metaphors so it’s a

softer place to land when we fall off the trojan horse.

from the saddle, we could see across the atlantic,

the red flags bobbing across the sea. we thought

we just might be invincible despite all the evidence

to the contrary. we are not evidence people. we are

frozen poets who haven’t been able to write in weeks.

we are scared misanthropes who haven’t been out

of the house since summer started, except for this.

lunch with the apocalypse hidden in the chicken, the

end of the world in the waitress’s apron pocket. i tell

him that there’s a killers song about this situation.

he doesn’t know who the killers are. i knew that but

felt like telling him anyway, like how we put music on

the voyager just in case aliens would be kinder to us

once they heard chuck berry. if the greeks overheard,

would their soldiers draw swords or pity at our table?

if anyone overheard, would anything change? it does

not matter. we are so small and shivering that we

lower our voices and are suspicious of everyone: the

waitress, the people seated behind us, the chicken,

chuck berry and the killers humming in the air.

M.P. Armstrong is a poet and constantly-stressed student at Kent State University in Ohio. Their poetry can be found or is forthcoming in Honey & Lime, Mad Swirl, Riggwelter, and more. They are also a writer and editor at Curtain Call Magazine (@curtaincallbway). In their spare time, they enjoy Netflix documentaries, colorful blazers, and travel. Find them online @mpawrites.


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