By Patrick Hurley


letters and numbers converge
then dissolve into pure sound

suddenly visible in the pavement
a repeated pattern of circles

late sounds come to us
approaching dissonance beautifully

eyes burn and water–
the airborne miasma

each cold breath a knife blade
and here a crystal jar of

cobalt ink lying at the edge
of the pavement

did it fall from the poor
calligrapher’s worn pocket?

will he now trace letters in sand
or on the surface of moving water?

litter thickens and loud
voices speak of commerce

insistent percussion sends
ripples through the sky

fragments leavings detritus***

vision of subsequent and antecedent layers
is sometimes accounted madness
hearing sounds that exist beyond
the confines of time cannot be tolerated

there is permanence and there is
the mutability of the superficial
the pavement is wet but
the warmth of the sun will dry it

colors are approaching their
actual hues once again
blue teachings crackle
in the still air

along the path lays
a rusted flute
pick it up


figures in a circle––animals
remade by strange mutation

first simple sounds
tapping on heat-fused glass
blowing through a
corroded cylinder

winding up a music box
found amongst the carcasses

a tape found in the ruins––
play it forwards
play it backwards
perhaps a sequence will emerge

the circle will start to spin
and the monsters that comprise it
will rotate in the opposite direction
movement within movement

colored fragments of parchment
blow in the wind


strange mathematics in
what appears to be a
northern village

structures are painted
in bright primary colors
the birds too have been
painted––the crow’s
bitter caw is now
a rich white sound

in the landscape
green’s sweetness
is leaving

now paths are streaked
with sour yellow
and salty red

somewhere a voice
counts to five

somewhere mallets
strike metal wires

this path south
is downhill

refuse increases
along the descent

seeking only addition
someone is immune
to the magic of subtraction

plus’s cross is just the
intersection of two
perpendicular minuses


the warm air is sour
competing frequencies
charge the ambient air

fresh tree stumps dot
the former landscape

walking on bleached bones
walking on shells
walking on fragments

lead paint chips
frame broken windows

corroded fan blades
turn slowly

security cameras’
forlorn wires dangle

no spells
no sacraments
no algorithms

stocky humanoids
scale crumbling ruins

they feed on the
flesh of the weaker ones

About the Author:

Patrick Hurley

Patrick Hurley was born in an unimportant midwestern American city in 1969. After wasting several years in graduate school, he published a book on Thomas Pynchon and taught writing and literature at a few colleges in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is now a full-time bartender and poet, currently obsessed with a long poetry collection in progress called Walking. He lives and works in Saint Louis.