John Nyman

for my aloe

I’m sinking in the aesthetic of your aggression,
a fabric of fix and distortion stitched
from faraway doctrines into the hems
of a minute-to-minute—the political

personal, perhaps, or the pea-pod
pains of your labour’s duration,
all of it adding up to a banner
near the back of a long parade.

I’m reconstructing your grassroots
on every platform available. I was raised
on the high of a pledge to never persuade
but to implant, like a botanical graft.

And you realize this dream of a people
is one thing. Altogether another is touch,

which you’ve already noticed is soon abandoned
to alien implements, staining the lips
of a still obscure yet looming punctuation.
I wonder if there is a threat there.

Seeing the ornament propped
in the centre is smallest,
you spoke out.

Your languages bottlenecked,
I get it: you’re reappraising the seams
where I carry your fancy disaster
in a holdable shape.

Laughing, I squint
as the details come out in the wash.
And I applaud you, partner.

But say I say little,
lie a little, then tire
in the corner?

The flat at the bottom got laughed at
in the face of an imbalanced life.

The human you is still hung over
on bad gin and from sniffing tomorrow.

The plant you, well, it’s bland as the bricks
of the institution.

for my aloe(s)

I sing of two capsules
of anarchy, potted, un-
preciously placed
on a sun-warm platform,

and all I can say is whatever
I say to the puppets,
usually slipping it
inside a whisper.

But here, I’ll lend you a shoulder,
juggle my eyelashes’ hint
and retraction like schoolbook
lines towards the bottom,

render this truth at a level
that’s speeding or slower, and sheathe
each topic in the windsock
of a signature.

Gravity calls for its own landing
like gravestones call for the sky.

We’re thrown along,
all bodies ragdolled,

all positions
declining to x.

Why would the sky rise, if not
for the weight of our skyless minds,

who only agree
to be helpless.

You are in propulsion, becoming a
more vastly disorganized mass.

Praise the God-slandering atoms;
all my votes go to the bootstrap.

I am building you a body
you’ll outgrow again.

A taller prospect
can’t be found
than that which calls
on the divine
so many times

their voicemails stack
like money. Like
insolent memoranda
never dreaming,
even of burning up.

I still don’t see
the shoelace
in the blurry
at the gallows;

I picture photo-
folders crammed
in colder storage,

gravesites overfull
from long before.

for my african violet

My gesture’s a hit on the slick unabsorbed
this morning—that’s usual. It twinkles
like snowflakes in the new regime.

But sometimes my spine clicks a bigger linking line
to your tree-father’s helicopter, caterpillar,
or stop-motion document,

and you emit a thought conquering with bashful witness
and my insides come out microwaved, spilling through lipstick
pristinely. Sometimes it’s the movement of the fruit fly

and remaining awake is a hive of fury,
but we’re toppling faster and faster and loving
every metre of axial progress. What

we touch is no floor—it’s more
electric than an earworm.

John Nyman’s first book of poetry, Players, was published with Palimpsest Press in spring 2016. Originally from Toronto, he currently lives in Guelph, Ontario, where he writes and workshops with the &, poetry collective. He is also completing a PhD in Theory and Criticism at Western University.