Nate Maxson


Emily/ Litany

When I was a child I thought that the flowers called Black Eyed Susans were Black Eyed Bruises

As in “I don’t like the way Black Eyed Bruises smell”

Sometimes these things come to me in the ebbtide of my aphasias

Little flickers balking against the wind in a candelabra

Have you ever noticed the varying but similar iconographic depictions of saints between the Roman Catholic Church and that of eastern holy men among the various religious authorities of India?

One depicts the saints with halos while the Buddhas and the Krishnas have a more ambiguous candle flame wavering above their heads

It usually appears to burn counterclockwise

As a not particularly religious but ever so observant Jew, I pay attention to these things
The difference between the light and the fire

While I watch out the window after smelling smoke, so expectant

What a sad day it is that the FBI are going through what used to be Emily Dickenson’s front garden with drug sniffing dogs looking for discarded crack pipes and needles, foregone conclusions really

Anything to posthumously take away her medals in light of potential disgrace, that’s the way of the world in this future

Tell me another

When given a choice between a certainty and only the potential of consumption (paper curling in a hearth)

Which would you prefer as your chosen method of combustion?

Think carefully now

There is a phrase we used to use to describe such situations:

The lady or the tiger?

The flowers all get bruises or the spinsters get the pyre




Bar Mitzvah

We say or half-sing our prayer in a language we don’t fully understand

While frost gathers creeping on the branches





Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. The author of several collections of poetry, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Reach him at