Kelly Schirmann

self-identifying with succulents


To want
you need an object shining
in the empty swimming pool
of the mind. You want to be comforted
for leaving your wallet at the bar
past midnight, when the apples
get tossed into the street
in bruised hillocks, meaning
It’s all over. In bed at night
we dig in our heels
because we can’t remember
who bought the sheets.
We shove one set of feelings
into the other set of feelings
& then switch. I think I’m leaving
the period of Desert Reverence
for the period of Volume At All Hours
but how will we know? I want your mood
to be a punchline hovering above us.
I want the road home
to wash itself out
just before we decide to go back.





if i was in seattle i'd be in love right now

Those days I walked around the water

with no good way to describe it, but knowing
that nothing majestic simply flows.
Native tribes replenished the west coast
with media when the animals left for good
& then everything was a pet
or a pet’s story. I was hungover
constantly, aching & enthusiastic,
& I felt that very specific loneliness
of having no good parka
in a city where practical knowledge
flowers toward you like a fruit
& asks you to participate in its gift.
I was in love with too many things
I never saw or touched — Tibet,
Nepal, Croatia, Great Barrier Reef
in winter, great interiors
of famous American men & women,
where I could be in five years
if I left you, how I could become a person
who kept a lot of living things around
& brought the water to them all
each morning, saying I’m still listening
as I flow from room to room.
I can’t go to Washington
like I can’t go to Los Angeles
like I need any more opportunities
to embrace the apparition
of what we couldn’t hack.
I go to the cities I know don’t want you
& wallow in my invented sea.
I grow big there
eating the salty air
& try to hate you
& don’t care.





Kelly Schirmann is the author of Activity Book (NAP, 2014) & the co-author (with Tyler Brewington) of Boyfriend Mountain, forthcoming from Poor Claudia this fall. She sings in the band Young Family, whose EP King Cobra is available as a cassette from Spork Press, & runs BLACK CAKE, a record label for audio-chapbooks of contemporary poetry. She lives in Portland, Oregon, & at