Poetry by Maxwell Redder



Noticing the cellulite clouds moving
south, the match stung me and I dropped it.
Grasses, the size of corn stalks,
sizzled quietly at first releasing a silky
stream of gray smoke; black came within a minute.

I remember their stench, the locusts
burning. Their sound was like children
popping bubbles; I laughed as they tried
to swarm. It was before realizing
how cruel the world can be.

Heat pushed me hard and I ran home
hopping through our neighbors azalea garden,
careful not to ruin more plants, slipping
behind their oak and behind the playhouse
their kids abandoned years ago.

My brother punched my arm when I told
him what I did. Laughing, he told me
he wouldn’t tell mom but I owed him something big.
At dinner, mom said we’re all lucky
the fire department was so close, then we gave thanks.




Hand carved mallet of mahogany,
greening copper horse-head bookends,
musty velvet wafting in metronome,
electric detoxifying of piano notes.

Whoopee! Whipping orgasm. Leaning back whirling
a big cab franc through smoky haze; notes stopping
as she capered off ivory keys and drifted
to the plumaged blanket hugging the loveseat.

Scribbled ink stained paper fibers,
tobacco smoke stinging eye under glasses,
journal under crumbling jazz sheets,
sheltie awaiting nightly cuddle.



In Space with Karl Spaeth


“Prayer flags,” pointing,
we were in the attic space.
What do they read? Asked Karl

I shrug lightly, “I’m not sure, but I trust they’re good prayers.”
Karl smiles his Karl smile, and if they’re evil?

Well damn, he stumped me.


Think about data

in terms of cell phones and computers,
it’s not impossible, the metaphor of pulling the cord,

that when you die, the “you” is unplugged, but awakes to that from which
it was unplugged; a great nothing.
I don’t think that’s the case.

“Well, my friend,” laughing,
sweating in the attic space,
“I don’t think that’s the case.” Nor do I,

where did you get them? Fond memories
plop into place,

“my brother.”


That crazy ass, smiling
that Karl smile, subtle on his face, is he out there?
“Where?” There, pointing, space!

“Yes,” I say, thinking about data,
how even if it’s not accessible, it still exists,

“every last atom.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *