Kitsch Knife

At last I am tired give me a kitsch knife and a foil star
a blue ribbon from the translation factory
in the theater where I faked a sleep
in the theater I mobilized my counterfeits
I was luxuriating in the loop
of trail cam footage when the wolves came back
the last authentic wolf died in Normandy 1910
I was doing the cha cha cha du loup
I was pleading the case of the snake on the shovel blade
I was feeling the effects of the die-cast soldiers’ slow poison
in the sandbox
in the oil trench
in the exclusion zone
in the Palais Garnier
I took shelter in the orangerie
among the sticky blossoms
and degenerate arts
I was drinking under glistening leaves
and listening to the snake in the wall
light dripped its embalming fluid
stillborn light
souvenir light
light of auratic debris
I went inside to lie in state
in my bedroom contaminated with leaves
in a state contaminated with the law
encrusted with parasitical gems
a sunken garden beyond death
glaze of poetry on everything
like the dead dreamy glow of aquariums

King Wax

Glassed and cased

the king is wax

long live him

in his double coat of glaze

poisoned and preserved

like a poisson d’avril

encaustic encured encurioed

and incurred like a national debt

the king in wax behind his paywall

his folios of smoked glass of automatic writing

which is his funeral text

which is his national literature

the king in his box of mirrors

with its infinitizing principle

its transitive property

its obscene xerox principle

its turbulent surface operation

long live the king

who is dead from the moment he is born

full fathom five in the cabinet vivarium

foiled chocolate coins on his grave-wax eyes

and a real articulated jaw that cranks

a speechlike speech when the token drops

The Noise Ships

drag their dream cargo from the past

drag the sound’s floor to dislodge the bodies

drag their blurry electric wakes

across my ocean of nausea

I was born seasick

I was a flagrant naufragé

adrift on a box of dirt

my flotsam fatherland

my coffins of noise

spores asleep in the potting soil

at a distance of two meters from the body

and the waves advance like paperweights

their constellations of frozen pearls

and rose-gold irradiated dive helmets

I was living on Paul Masson

and counterfeit pieces of eight

I was sucking rainwater from the flintlock’s barrel

I took the key from its silver chain

unlocked my diary and wrote

No longer does the dream reveal a blue horizon

[Naked Body of a Headless Man]

              Le Touquet: un corps nu et sans tête retrouvé[i]

              Le Figaro 22 Février 2017

              Alertés par une promeneuse, les sapeurs-pompiers ont récupéré, hier vers 17 heures, le corps d’un homme nu et sans tête qui flottait au large entre les plages du Touquet et Stella. Le mystère est entier, rapporte aujourd’hui La Voix du Nord.

              Selon les enquêteurs, le choc avec la coque d’un bateau ou avec son hélice pourrait expliquer l’absence de tête.

              Le corps a été transféré à la morgue de Boulogne-sur-Mer pour de premiers examens médico-légaux. Puis le parquet pourrait demander une autopsie. 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1. Alerted by a passerby yesterday around 5:00

2. [une promeneuse: a woman was walking by the seaside, it was evening]

3. first responders recovered the body of a naked man without a head

4. [the text’s grammatical hierarchy establishes the body as primary, followed by its maleness, modified by nudity and headlessness]

5. the naked body of a headless man

6. [But this implies that nakedness is a property of the body and headlessness a property of the man]

7. [“corps” instead of “cadavre” alludes to the redundancy of “naked corpse;” the corpse is sufficiently grotesque without modifiers]

8. the naked body

9. [And does the lack of head attenuate the abjection of the naked male body]

10. of a headless man

11. which was floating off the coast between the beaches of Touquet and Stella.

12. [Touquet is a Picard word for “corner,” while a headless body resembles a mangled star]

13. [Ave, maris stella. Hail, star of the sea]

14. It is a complete mystery, La Voix du Nord reported today.

15. According to investigators, a collision with a boat’s hull or with its propeller may explain the absence of the head.

16. [“l’absence de tête,” lacking a definite article, elicits a more thorough headlessness than English allows]

17. it may explain the cranial lack.

18. The body was transferred to the morgue at Boulogne-Sur-Mer

19. [In another seaside town, Tossa de Mar, Georges Bataille and André Masson invented the acéphale]

20. for initial forensic examination.

21. [“Man escaped from his head like a convict from prison”[ii]]

22. Following this, the public prosecutor may recommend an autopsy.


[i] “Le Touquet: un corps nu et sans tête retrouvé.”  Le Figaro, 22 Feb. 2017,

[ii] Bataille, Georges.  “La conjuration sacré.”  Acéphale, 24 Jun. 1936.

Zack Anderson is a poet and translator from Wyoming, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame MFA program, and a PhD student at the University of Georgia. His book reviews and critical writings can be found in Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, and the Action Books blog, and his poems have recently appeared in Fairy Tale Review, New Delta Review, and Dreginald.

*Image credit: Still from Marcel Dzama’s 2009 video ‘No One Does It Like You’ for Department of Eagles.