Poetry from Jeff Bagato

The Long Fire


a long fire from the back alley of time

rises out of Ouija’s letters,

one small alphabetical

creeping up after another,

until this blaze catches on the board,

sparked like rubbing one stick on another

by the claws of her sweet planchette;

and what a fire it is, too,

enough to barbecue a giraffe

or some other elegant

ungulate from the plains—

growing, growing like a clear cut blaze

in a corporate logger’s wallet,

like an oil well flare

lighting up a desert night,

like Big Boy’s dawn over Hiroshima,

like the gates of hell—

can’t be stopped,

can’t be contained,

can’t be looked at straight on

without protective eyewear—

can’t be starved

like those other petty blazes

‘cause they didn’t have

these few words

scratched on the kindling:

No job is worth

the death of your angels


Complete Breakfast


who can tiptoe through the apocalypse

better than the Carnegie millions

tightfisted by Will Kidd through

ten yards of advertiser’s dream

static—catch him now

to uncover the pot at the end

of the rainbow, a skipping Kidd

perhaps too fast for the grasping

hands of the constipated—

of the hemorrhoidal—

of the underarming odors—

we’re loaded with them, stocked

high with profiteering schemes

to live for one more day

counting on millions, sifting coins

and dreams through sieves,

blanking out when the Tory ship

comes to collect, and awaking in a mock

trial like the Saturday morning millennium

of cryptocolored cartoon slide

from puffenstuff to panther,

and Kidd watches laughing, taking

his cereal with milk standing

up, and shouting at the moon

because he can


Come My Brothers, Have Good Courage and Follow Me


Blackbeard stokes his ship to shore, says

I am the dreamer in you, lost like broken

plans for an office arising, the plot

overgrown and wild now where I throw

old vegetables and tally bold weeds,

breaking soft dandelion heads white

on hard ground, an explosion of seeds

on a short mind’s eye, like a haunted castle

too small for its ghost, that closeted

skeleton with six fingers and three arms

falling bones over bones to laugh,

eat, destroy you—crushing you

into foetal lies, the way naked kings

with bankrupted names

die chivalrous, unknown—and I

raise up that skeleton ghost, dancing

quick and skillful like a nimble clown

plays ball with reluctant rubes,

teasing, poking and taking on love

to tell you how to love, how to undress

that soul and really walk tall

like jumping over bells that

won’t stop ringing,


you a name you never know,

the shore too far for rising


A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. Some of his poetry and visuals have recently appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, Otoliths, Gold Wake Live, H&, The New Post-Literate, and Midnight Lane Boutique. Some short fiction has appeared in Gobbet and The Colored Lens. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and Computing Angels (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com.

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