from Primitive State

Anselm Berrigan



Touch the art.


Cross out plague, fill in doggie treat.


Quixotic hand lotion wrenched into stark relief or timely injection of equity?


It was hard to submit to the difficulties, or the various layers of marketable air.


I am assuming one knows what it is to be a shaman.


I understand my debt is an investment in my future.


I have trouble relating to the commercialization of foreplay.


I should be more fucked up than this horrible phone.


Regionally speaking, we shit the bed.


She will devour any object placed low enough.


Restitute beacon hoagie undercut by starlit felony grin trickle.


Amphetamine tests giving the game back to the kids, thwarting heathens no longer operable.


The replay indicates a sneak in under the tag.


That surreal twang, the baiting of articles into a contextual wipe system, does believe in love.


In a museum gallery a book dismembered & splayed across a wall.


I was less than bolstered by the center, the bobbing head, an overheated constellation lashing out, coma rich.


My memory of accomplishment routinely exercises its liberty to strike.


Same build evolution in truly high code.


Getting picked off takes the breath away.


For I examine my appropriations’ triplets and give them purpose.


For my disparity’s attenuated drool, impressed by the willful poverty of the alchemist, considers a local solution.


For the ache within you that may only be muted if your payments are timely deserves a stake in our urgency.


For confidence is a stain of tangibility.


Foliage shakedown.


Cheers erupted, and their echoes bought property.


You may own comfort in shadow of fact.


Except for the entire country there is no debtor’s prison.


I trained my instincts to turn away from the banal and discovered I could no longer order my sentence.


I’m hoping the nostalgia industry ignores this decade.


Filip says he is inside a toupee of blood and you are an alien in the shape of his hand.


She misheard everything I read and came to the conclusion that I lack self-esteem.


You have ninety seconds to lay out your policy for me.


There are only two ways this can happen: if the decade’s name is too hard to pronounce, thereby limiting its circulation, or if the universe comes to a sudden halt.


I remember the tone of voice, but none of the wording.


Between scratches a little bit of the voice under the intemezzi, paradise’s diction on the sauce.


The cow guardian of these rooms will not lift its walking stick to judge.


I went too personal in class this afternoon, but I don’t think anyone caught it.


He wrested an unkind articulation of reality from the nearest squirrel in order to feel reinforced.


In fraternized valence we coalesce within reach.


At the tree dedication a poet reads a line about all animals crying out as a lap dog yelps on its way by.


Failed state is fairly abstract compared to totally fucked up state.


She’s starting to enjoy swatting her pear with the palm of her hand.


It was as if everyone went one-half dumber between parts of the story.


I think of the unsoundliest thing I can.


I know, early in the morning, a reflection of light is misleading me into a false arrangement of mind, sound available for hire.


It wasn’t a staring contest, it was an other-dimensional bloodbath of leafleting.


At the playground the kids were everywhere while the nannies, entirely self-possessed, inquired within.


He showed no ability to answer directly yet digression was unacceptable.


The female:male guardian ratio in Washington Square Park’s playground makes for long betting odds.


Actually it was just deemed unbearable, if instantly forgotten.


Blue ink meets shrinking brain at no-way intersection.


When the reading concluded everyone in the room huddled up and jumped in synch for several seconds.


Sometimes you can terrify someone into buying you a drink simply by listening.


I travel great distances riding the blown leaf.


It's about abject loneliness disguised as reciprocity of indistinction.


She drops her toys to experience letting go.


I don’t hear my voice in my head lately, which would be unsettling if I considered settled a feeling.





Anselm Berrigan is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent being Notes from Irrelevance, forthcoming in a few months from Wave Books. He lives, works, and grew up in New York City.