Two Poems

Poetry by Warren C. Longmire
The sweet smother synthetic, by Travis MacDonald. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist.

Feeling Nothing and Why

I am listening to the story about the Black Disciples in Chicago of 17 to 20 who are part of the up to 58% surge in murders by a journalist who hung with them and who said first and foremost how gun shots are just omnipresent, he said, omnipresent (which is a word I only otherwise hear in reference to God) and he follows with how it does not even seem traumatizing to them at this point and I don't think I was traumatized thought I know the thought of gun sounds seeming to surround me like a God there, like a presence from beyond time laying signs like casings pressed into dented copper shining glint of a old coin as you bend down close enough to say "Oh." He says how the shooting to the Disciples was not even a newsworthy thing someone gets shot in the foot or the leg and the ambulance comes and the gurneys unfold and the body goes still shining, still heaving and young and even sometimes with body upright and curved over like a hopeless student over a cheap wooden desk and the cops come and the neighbors have their doors locked if they were open and their tvs up if they never left and their heads cocked and spooked but already forgetting and I wonder if any of the explosions from the corners facing outward on the square block of my life was the 20M squad, just like this story, hobbling toward his death a month or 3 years max or tomorrow like a short story written in broad strokes but ending in a good death. Today, my mom told me that a grandma plump and most full of love died choking on her own phlegm in a hospital. That the tube which could have snaked through her throat and breathed for her was not inserted in time by the staff. And I remember my dad's Dad died this way, slipping to the floor by a rough nurse while in a wheelchair, an anonymous shriveled Black man with a name tag in the former murder capital of the states. And I remember the 2 nightmares after the crap game on Cambria tensed into gunshot behind our Buick and single family talk and then nothing until a white college friend covered her mouth with her hand and asked, "Oh God! Why didn't you move?"

The Tuesday I finally gave up

Ms. Mary's bony shoulder tents
a faded tee and rosary beads. Waves slow. My head cranes

soft, turning mid-asphalt from the perch
of my corner porch. Oh, still uncolonized street.

Her grand-babies bounce unhurried and teetering. I weave
on a single gear towards the park. The masked readers

crowd in distance pairs and someone in the bowl
of grass to the south might fly a kite. I’ve seen it once on a walk.

I’m teaching online full-time now to a gaggle of midwestern adults.
Since the start of class, three funerals and two babies born.

I shout out if I’m clear through bluetooth buds and the gallery
of faces blink on and raise their thumbs. I play afrobeat between lecture notes.

I play drums. Today, I didn’t think about my ex. Being single doesn’t kill you and the sun doesn’t know anything. There is still whiskey to kill.

A friend I cry over I’m so thankful posted a square composition
of sidewalk three minutes ago, asymmetric, intrinsic and god as any idle,

untamable weed.

Warren C. Longmire

Warren C. Longmire is a writer, technologist, educator and uncle from the bad part of Philadelphia. He is a former contributing editor for Apiary Magazine, a board member of Blue Stoop and founder of _mixlit. Warren's words have been published in journals including Cartridge Lit, The Cleveland Review of Books, Eleven Eleven and The American Poetry Review. He was featured in the Best American Poetry 2021, edited by Patricia Smith. His latest book, Bird/Diz [an erased history of bebop] was released in Nov. 2022 through BUNNY Presse.

Travis MacDonald

Travis MacDonald is an artist and musician based in Melbourne. His deliberately understated works often feature a subdued palette and subjects that bridge the mundane to the absurd. They offer an idiosyncratic take on the more traditional genres of figuration and landscape painting. He draws upon his interest in art history, music and world events to present a memory: blurred, twisted and suggestive of a greater narrative, merging the personal and the universal.

Travis MacDonald was born in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand and currently lives and works in Melbourne. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2011 and has been exhibiting since 2009. He has been awarded the Gary Grossbard Drawing Prize and the Lionel Gell Foundation Drawing Scholarship. His work was featured in the 2018 Melbourne Art Fair and in 2016, MacDonald’s work was exhibited in Painting. More Painting at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. He held his first solo exhibition at Niagara Galleries in December 2016.