Excerpts from DEER MYTHOS

IN THE OLD DAYS deer were
paper bags up and over absolute bone dawn what
can you tell me about the good times

you whose toes danger around with raisins and heels
of unleavened bread listen the dead never get
lonely the cashed glass somewhere
abandoned shining like a drowned alien cuz water’s air up there some
fun crunch from semi haunti-zontal saw mouths
seems hair-locks in a sack-a-dangle from a lack lath
did squat to dissuade three guys again the moon up
over the river and lung pride whoosh pines again the moon
some molded less gross than bodily guys will be
blur glory guy hands some stone mice a canyon
of bites a coterie of scurrying
oooh momentous guy guys
thunk they could arm bin hard on the mauve less moon
get me straight
trow dat bot on da moonski
boy bottle moon
pock on an heavenly floater peck on da dover coaster
chalk cheek cheap try
nicked by a bullet’s farty and that’s
or maybe a little later yep when
ol skeleton geeks geeks and gerkins by

brown bag over the dead pole barn nimble one does get lonely


glass is archaeological
childhood is archaeologists
when i meet you or people i tell them
watch out what your story is
water energy or stone
it will yoke you in yr myth so free
it will will your manifest destiny so to say
man those gleam tracks shore look pretty
morn o’ squashed pen knees ol’ charming rr cc cinders
probably moon poop probably are
the rails themselves your more duty orientated snakes
what’s that called a neophyte?
until kathunk and boom this is you gargling the pacific
with a jellyfish vacation electric chair
mess ol shock-a-glob too warm seasick toupee tell me then
about your story what part of it was exact pertains
dad kicked me too or did he stepdad dragged
me by the knuckles of my toes to Old Man river because he
would teach me by drowning me
drunk couple trucks on his tongue there was summer lion up in him
could not have known it was janus     eyes butter mess
plays in the packers’ game missed
now i was blessed by ice now this is too much true
gilt mine harnessed hurtness estately and orotund

remember the world’s a living recovery station fin dumb bruise
every where to stand minimum of 900 hundred murders
spasm in the gaping silence oh bud turn her
before the cartesian sea lion in charge of flotsam
starts to selling tea tooth croquet sets and lacrosse french mesh
with your ribs for the hardness in
your pile of sunset eat smear smiles
for the softs of
course strawberry lorries love you

as when one in the atonals of a hot and cold autumn afternoon
in the silences of the countryside
oh with the lonesome fulsome crow call
eider carving hole in sigh
or tamps loose stuff over the holes
and throw the bleach in and sprinkle the grass seed
in the one show sly lens of the countryside
surprise that’s what we want while alive get back you catch me

as when one moons about the back of the barn by the shed
with a pocketed hand and crusted snot
to armor is armoring the cuff of the sleeve finally
lives up to the sound of its name the sleeve’s cuff the cuff
of the clangs gently against my bird nest wrist
tho quote it no saw sound proffered propitiated nay nah
that’s a mayonnaise trap for your grand mama

cool green brown bottles
over the shed roof and into the
what have you behind

and there is no silence like thrown hand temp glass and all so unvoiced on the wind

some things just seem tossed together
that shed did bed head bet than child
pry puberty the boards were shy of each other
the nails scabs lifted by a kid off a kinder
the whole thing the pickled vision the liquid vision
the wonder of a water work it was a thing an earlier flood
had left it was heaved into made
it wasn’t anything what
would they have kept in there?
hairpins? breezes?
breaths? secrets? shaman’s toe fans?
the word the nile the word the nihilist?

in a wind in a word it scraped   scraped


brown bag wet rip of a bottled rock ascending and
forgotten on the yard the orphaned paper knocks around
men the mind a machine you kick to work wreck
bone-smoke back to the house where the women have repeated retreated
into false sleep their eyes lifted warily as a dog’s lip
will to show the white tooth at a stranger
the women when their men stranger
another name for excellent predictors of what happens next
that little ottoman bump bump against the inside of the bedroom door
reduces MAN to couch snore one sock half off grey dawn
translucence snake meat furs the snorer’s tongue bones
all moss edged in debt and destitute
and sour milk and maybe now track it the only thing
we have to give fuzz i was saying you HAVE to hear THIS
seriously leather patch all around my mouth and then
fuzz annnd out

mean kind wily while because the wind no bones ventral twister
on the arch yard brown paper bags two at least
crunch according to the sexy calcuses of the wind
sounds just like a boot holing snow crusted snow
bag snaps and bag lifts describing arabesques
a thing toll only in grinny whim

for the law said brown paper bag
for the law of alcohol-ed brain said bang tink tink the moon
for the law of eyes like eggs fried and frozen the drunk’s eyes
for the stadium lights are on like bleary like blear
so the twirlers can practice for the batons catch the stadium lights
for the kinds of bowing done by the twirler
not quite sexy but the sequins
on the mother’s bathing suit outfit
do make it seem the batons aroused
by the good god twirlers and the caught
between wince and rinse the brilliance light
on metal flung on sequins
does make it seem not shine
but sexual juices forgive it is 750AM
i slept too well much coffee
everyone went down to LSU
the only real traffic sounds like workers
then two small birds trade sharp notes
to twist metal from racing

up rush of the catskin
flux cusp ratskin

paper bag bangin around the yard like a chopped off head
chicken’s shanty soul someone trying to make a fire sound
for the radio

for the paper bag magic damped by the night route blameless grasses
hoo were thou coven-ing rises nice up against
this passing skeleton
see this skeleton chattering
man that’s not his teeth
from the cold passing tell it righter is clattering over the land while the moon
pulls tenebrous ravings out of the guts of the wild dogs
that’s bee buzz the moon is bone and no body dogs can bottle in
a body data smell compote eternal which in wild dog haaarooo

the booze bag by law by the state
you gotta walk out of there with yr hunch junk
in a brown bag just in case the one pure person left on earth
sees the sun emerald the atmosphere around that bottle
and like some kinda grade school hypnotism
old snow snow pure as the driven
dope noses across the street
just like a mesmerized person in a coleridgean cartoon
to the tune of everybody laying on their horns
what in the haa-yelll are you doing
strolls like through apple pie wind
into the package store buy enough booze
to kill everybody at the party says tate to revell
one of those hippo lip
park no farther than here mini curb things like they
have in parking lots just in case anybody realizes
that the whole entire world is at this point a parking lot
and sitting there rifles but that’s a sensitive word in american
public places so gurgles
five bottles of terribly proofed flotsam down-io
and the eyes basically at this point turn to
glass-io and the wrists chill worse than marble con cone corns
while local business men could
give a shit hired the plane to drag
the ad around the sky the law of attraction states
wait here cuz hear come new eyes true
as babies in mothers form their forming eyes make a sound
and that sound is faking out a finish on a poem
with the heavy ochre lacquer of a last phrase simile or no
it’s the sound of remove yr fingers from yr mouth and
put out the candle physically and since no building
yet stags all the sky in bilge is only natural the lids to rise
only our bones holding our eyes rather gives them a chance
to stay a place awhile what’s next i guess drop
cans of soup from planes which would kill everyone
salty water maybe add some potato to stretch it into
thursday bam bam
soup drop from on highski and you thought your
truck had balls bam


that bag up that bag up and over
the mattery bones blue-ing under that
shad ass moon compassion

why were the bones out walking hey the poem needed a mystery compassion

twiddling thumbs went out via internet compassion

that skeleton was twiddling thumbs little finger bones
flyin around like bats
in the drier sugar i best be going best be
getting back to my rat killin
for bats for socks for smokes compassion

listen careful everything of different size gets lonely
so the brown paper bag is not the size of the yard
so the yard is sighing
because the tree is just a fat man
because the yard and the bag are the size of the tree
because the tree is sighing because the fat man
is dying for a pasta dinner real
pasta this time or else

yeah yeah in between the size of all of those things is the bag
as it swallows the stroller skeleton   up and over
that’s the deer for you
stare and the road after a rain stares back
black damp chicken when wet eyes


find me a ditch without a broken mower blade life life

actions happen and then there is the rest of your life life
rocking like a bottle in the sea
your feeble memory ooh gluey tendon nag
ooh mother’s milk spilled ball bunting all over the floor
wwtbsd what would the blue shed do? wild lice in that florist’s 1 good knee

and voice like a private eye getting paid to talk over images
and what does that deer have to hide? silence is
silence is the pasture
crickets you nearsighted dentists crickets
take off your glasses ye gin breath crickets
silence is not really the reality of the situation
because all silence is is a bag on up over a skeleton
because that murder happened at the bloody bucket
back of the head in ninety forty four tree day after ruination day
because if you mouth off you better be able to turn yr hands on
because each silence is a shout shut down in stone
mmmmm that everyday grace deer now and always
backing up the field new orleans’ing it finally shhh at 6:66 AM
are just so obvious are not hard of hearing
and lift their heads and lift their heads
i am pretty sure you would have to call ’em spirits’ mummers haw ha
my words will all dissolve generationally
my bones about all i have to give
the earth does get lonely
being dead what a drag and forever
how am i to live with this know ledge
we must dance the smutty mustard dance without question
the deer you would have to agree
grace cowardly booze and chivalric bones grace
have turned furniture temperatures by degrees
i am surprised we do not have them over for supper
probably change the label on the venison packs to wren wrench gunnel
politeness extending 2 all mammals
a joyful hospitality all we have 2 give
my once gindrunk undrunk pal who eats cigars
says that god made alcohol and that it is good therefore
however that it is no longer right good for him
sometimes i get this feeling that every pine is saying however
the very wind howevers
but then other times i get this feeling that the windy pine says
therefore and
then the earth lays down before me
and i bread the earth with butter
and i butter the physicality healthy world
my other best friend reminds me that there is no better
symbol-set than bread and wine
tell you this right now living is an amnesia of bone
aging is your bones beginning to chat
dying is ultimate loneliness the ultimate rip bony exodus
of course the night is fearsome with fossil us
because we are all for always so so so so so so so lonely pony in a mare mare world?


no one to gainsay we have made this world
into a plate plain fact that is

yet something’s in a deer makes a man
the quality of

tho settled
tho some a made thing
for deer is corny
what makes a thing wild guess
is the not knowing where it lies down at night
corn wind no place to bed be

that their woman-i-love bones are the only ropes and rope tows heaven uses
in the heaving of souls



Abraham Smith hails from Ladysmith, Wisconsin. He has authored four poetry collections—In The Old Days (Action Books, forthcoming); Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer (Action Books, 2014); Hank (Action Books, 2010); and Whim Man Mammon (Action Books, 2007)—and two chapbooks, OOOT MMMMM (Kayrock, 2013) and Last Ride (Forklift, Ohio, 2010). Currently, he is working on a book-length pastoral poem and co-editing an anthology, Hick Poetics, within which 40 or so ‘authentic’ ‘shepherds’ stab the heart of urbane conjecture with real sharp panpipe reeds (Lost Roads Press, forthcoming). Smith winters as Instructor of English at University of Alabama; summers as farmhand at Hawks’ Highland Farm.



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