"guzzle I," "guzzle III," "guzzle IV," "guzzle VII"

i have no urge to pronounce myself prey / so thin-limbed its terror looks like dancing

guzzle I [i have no urge]

i have no urge to pronounce myself prey
so thin-limbed its terror looks like dancing

i want more of everything
including mortal thirst

the verb to bless is rooted in bleeding
false cognate with bliss

the beauty i’ve learned is still slick
with the blood it erases

for years i compare translations of emptiness
like with the right word i’d know what i meant

touch me the way initials touch a tree.
deeper. please.

guzzle III [somewhere nearby]

somewhere nearby is a forest on fire
i looked at the sun. it looked like the moon.

i wrote the word real with a knife
and showed no one

i looked in my heart
and all i found was blood

when i say blue i mean blue
no, blue. deeper.

i steam up the glass
of the real         and scratch

a fly lands on my knee
it washes its hands

guzzle IV [the thought walked in]

the thought walked in, demanded veins, branches,
wires. what if reality is only consensus?

a sapphire crushed by a slow-motion hammer
an axe, a lake, a sky blue as burnt eyes

you told me you scraped your hands to the bone,
then held them up—miraculous, scarless

once again i quit hunger but still feel my body:
anemia, nemesis, anamnesis, amen

in a dream i walk through a burning door
when i wake nothing is obviously changed

guzzle VII [you were kind]

you were kind to your mother’s cat
or not cruel. she can walk through

, you said. i want to believe naïve’s
the wrong word here. but i believed.

there is a theory that made in [ ]’s image means the ability
to create. to imagine, redesign, disobey. disobedience holy.

i like to try on personalities
, you said, and see
what other people reveal
. or maybe you said,

what i can make them do.
we took the train to the end
of the line, let the night drink us like glasses of water.

symptoms are creatures changed by their naming
and i was nameless, a lumen, a flute.

loneliness is when we are closest to god

someone writes on a forum.

clockwork, before the last bus of the night
you started to cry. sleep here, you said.

another time, i can cry on command.
another, i made a woman with my mind

and wrung her neck
. when i say belief
i mean something to plead to

at the end of the mind.
you knew what i meant.

About the author

Madelaine Caritas Longman is the author of The Danger Model (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019), which won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Concordia University First Book Prize and was longlisted for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her creative writing has been published in Room, Prism, Vallum, Grain, and elsewhere, shortlisted for the Prism International creative nonfiction prize, and displayed in art installations at Never Apart Gallery and the EK Volland Art Gallery. She lives in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal).