Blake Butler


I have such masterful strokes of ruin
you shouldn't come near me with that camera.
You shouldn't come near me with those years of photography
your children will use to remember when you're gone.
I have receipts all over my desk for the money I spent
to mail letters across the country.
There's enough room in my freezer
to store my upper body and probably my legs.
In the apartment I lived in before this one,
the TV would often turn itself off and on.
Tonight it's quiet.
Tonight was Halloween.
It was cold enough to wear a sweater but I didn't.
I wore the same shirt I wear once every three days.
I haven't loved a holiday since I was fourteen.
I can cripple a fine intention with one flick of my dumb tongue.
I'd like to wallpaper my room with transcripted telephone conversations
on days I felt my arms go soft.
Those women in the supermarket who offer free samples
have homes where at night they sleep.
Where do all the other people go?
I might shave my head tomorrow.
There's always somewhere else to visit.
There's always someone in the hall.
Next year I'll dress up as myself gestating in my mother.
The year after that I'll dress up as something made of light.

Blake Butler has been published or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Fence, Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, etc. He lives in Atlanta and blogs at "Ruiner" previously appeared in Juked.

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