Poetry from Charlie Keys Bohem

I climbed up on a ledge above a house built into the crumbling granite of a California mountain,

with a few friends,

To collect a ration from my allotment of teenage infinity,

My feet sank into the powdered dirt of undeveloped land, carrying a cascade of biting oak leaves,

A charging cavalry into my ankles,

I clutched a fence as though it hung a hundred feet up,

Until we reached the precarious solace of concrete, and sat to soak in the wash of lights,

Little clouds, little but thick, came roaring on my left, an in a moment tapered from me, until the

Toxic cleavage of brain from boy welled up through my neck so that elevation became flight,

Clouds under a cloudless sky – not smoke, but vapor – that’s the future below us,

A hand upon a shoulder, a laugh against a wall, lightless hills shining with black absence,

And below them the patchwork yellow quilt of iridescent distance,


I thought of the light: “There’s an awful lot of sodium down there. If I had it all, a rock, I would throw it into the sea and duck behind thick Plexiglas, five thousand feed above the world, to watch the howling blast in all its brevity.”

Charlie Keys Bohem


The world’s become a smokestack,

A great and choking fume,

Best we run it with our refuse,

Lest we meet our doom,


We’ll find the corpse of ee cummings,

Peaceful in his tomb,

And with machines and steel and oil,

Shall his peace exhume,


And atop his wooden sleep,

A metal shaft attach,

Likewise to the bottom board,

And reinforce the latch,


We’ll hire a dozen men or so,

To clap our modern thunder,

And sit around the tomb an hour,

To read aloud from Tumblr,


And at his head we’ll place a motor,

With a mighty coil,

For as he rolls, a generator,

Nothing need be boiled.


Charlie Keys Bohem


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