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Nate Slawson

Erasure is cool, right? I mean, when it’s good it’s like whoa. Ronald Johnson is whoa. And so is the act of rewriting. I’m not talking revision so much, I’m talking hatchet and dustbin. These poems were different bands at different points, but all those bands eventually broke up. You know how bands are. Plus I always felt like the drummer (hey, don’t get me wrong, drummers are some of my favorite people), and no one would let me sing. I think the poems were power pop at first. Then they got all punk. But then they went back and listened to records by The Ethiopians, The Specials, Lee Perry, Op Ivy, Slapstick, and shit. And things started to happen. Explosions and broken bones and a ska band named zooey deschanel. My ska band. If I had one. Made out of poems.


my ska band will be named zooey deschanel



The World shall burn //

to compass all


—Ronald Johnson





you so cherry bomb


& hello nighttime ghetto fire

in the back alley of my skull


hello asphalt & cheeks filled with gasoline

I swallow you like paint


hello nighttime vertigo

the beat in my head

is freight trains, is scripture &


you bible I say

you the most

beautiful goddamn

& a jukebox of the pinkest pinkest pills

I ever seen





you bubblicious sucker punch

you best-part-of-what’s splintering

my eye socket bone


I be sketchbook

I be the architect of sweet talk & x-rated whispering 

the blueprint of yr ribcage &


all the ways a dirty movie

could undress you


I wanna bleed technicolor

I want yr basement to whirl switchblade

& switchblade & fucking switchblade

if we hold our breath long enough




in my front pocket is a note

it says I would try anything once


I would swallow a jar of pennies

I would take off all my clothes

& lie down in yr front yard

w/ a pair of pliers


would be a ladder at yr window,

yr fire truck, cadmium red,

yr pantone 192


& if you ask I be an airplane

in midair bursting into flames





you so fist-in-the-throat

yr words is hard candy


my chest is boombox

8 D-batteries blasting Dirty

all up & down yr street


I play yr Jason Lee &

you is handycam, elbow scars 2 & 3,

my broken tooth, my sugar cane


& I long to be yr factory

of daughters of daughters &

wowee & hot hot skin,

like summer blacktop

glow at the core of you





you dance snow machine &

light tower & electric hum


& when I wave my hand

in front of my face

I see meteor rain

I become the carpet

rolled inside my chest


& I like the way

the razorblade feels

underneath my chin


so how much valium

should I take before it

means I love you pin-up,

before you say once &

for all I’m yr hospital bed


because I have the hardest

time remembering,

remembering shit like

how my eyes is supposed to feel





I like to think you a power chord

& I’m the entire history of FM radio


one day we will make a movie

w/ conmen & private detectives

& you just like Anna Karina

& we will miss ourselves


I have this dream in which

we are two cities all street

signs & flocks of birds &

you is the landscape I’d carve

into my wrist w/ a pocketknife





you red vinyl lp

lunar eclipse & heavenly shit


tonight fireworks in my head

& executioner’s blackout I say faster I say


before the panic

& I cry mouthfuls

of orange paint onto

yr half-buttoned shirt


I call that lovely pill-rocket

my mouth burning down

to my breastbone when

everything lets loose


& I wish you’d say

something when I

key yr name into

my neck


but believe me when

I say dirty movies &

cherry bombs like so

many teeth squeezed

into the shotgun of

my jaw


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