cleaning what we took to be a field

was really just a fold out bed full of crumbs

the boozy Czechs all gentle friendship and touching

were just further proof this life is a dream

you see I was reading the Complete Poverty of X

in the Accidental Library of Like Total Self Neglect:

all these weird ex-boxers on the backyard couch

and then the weeds go and grow up through everything

the ailanthus stutters over the cracks

and you go and do your “Badger Stomp”

as if we’d ever seen a badger outside of a John Clare poem

but let us stomp together before the underthings of leaves

and after a long day of modeling “life skills” to the poor

under The Poor Aren’t Poor They’re Ignorant Initiative

it’s as if, as it were, I were actually piloting this blood

as the train slides out of the bucketed land

and I swing my gaze over the crumpled land

over the bodies of strangers looking for eyes

it wasn’t me that asked me to come here

but then they drifted off into their symptoms

while I handed out my symptoms

and these years turned into rooms


More Dreams of Waking


Terrible dreams of alcohol. Of canals

of alcohol. Of watery transport. Awful

television dreams. Terrible dreams of children.

Reality Children of

Reality Parents. Awful dreams

of children in rows.  Of all of us in the bar

as the sun sets on our faces and the

terrible alcohol burns us.

Terrible dreams of houses.

The clouds rush over the houses.

Each cloud with a secret name.

No one will ever know these names.

There are awful dreams of living food.

Terrible dreams of

the Talking Sickness. Of myself

lost in

the transportation. In the

physical translation.

A great bellowing is heard.

Mammalian Howling belies us.

“A bellowing” I say.

I have crossed the parking lot.

I have placed my face

against the building.

I am right here right now.

With terrible dreams of

vehicular clouds, of

bodies locked shut.

But I have come to tell you

of the greater unlocking, of a

type of licking, a type of

licking forth. Of the opening of

eyes, the body of light,

the wind in the trees

and the unnaming of the leaves.

After the Terrible Thought.

After the Dream of the Voice.

After the Death of the Father.

After the Flaming Forth.

I found myself next to a building.

In a kind of parking structure.

There was a great bellowing there.

Was the voice of the city.

The mountains blinked.

The roads lurked.

I was there with you.

After terrible dreams

of the courthouse and law. After the

terrible solemnity of the

robed idiots. After

these dreams we awoke.

We turned off the light.

The fountain slept.

The birds stank.

We sat on a bench.

We died to the world

Mammal Island

Like a ghost

     showing its





to another






Sunday intrudes


with haze


     and the awkward smell of




It’s a floral

and revealing


here between

the dumpsters


   The dumpsters

          packed with




And beneath this world

they say

there is another


And in that world



And beneath that world

there’s a tunnel of bees


A bee tunnel of bees


of bee noise

and sleep



But meanwhile: the dread

       And meanwhile: my toes


And all the lists and all the parts

       And all the hopes of every part


And the cohesive ooze of thoughts


on a downhill



                 all the way down


rolling rolling

       and up to the hedge

where impaled

    on these leaves

I wiggle and bark



Meanwhile: the haze

       Meanwhile: the tongues


The blood and hair singing


It’s a horrible world

and I’m already embarked


And I’m already arrived

I’ve slept here for real


Is there another a more

horrible world than this one?


Here on Mammal Island

       the slugs


human milk

       and the world

is a house symbol and


       Paper Contingency


       25 percent more map than land

        on Mammal Island


       Where milk stains all the leaves


And the ponds whirl


And when the light

       comes down

It chimes


Anthony McCann was born and raised in the Hudson Valley. He is the author of three books of poetry, I Heart Your Fate (forthcoming from Wave Books, April 2011), Moongarden (Wave Books, 2006), and Father of Noise (Fence Books, 2003). Currently he lives in Los Angeles, where he works with Machine Project and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.