3 poems in the march shredness tradition: jim warner



“The arsenal of megadeath can’t be rid no matter what the peace treaties come to.” —Sen. Alan Cranston

“Peace sells, but who’s buying?” —Dave Mustane, Megadeth


(reprinted from The Mondegreen)

black metal pyre in xeroxed
corpse-paint faces. churches
reverse-phoenix. somewhere in a
jewel case, college dj’s are detached
retinas when it comes to violence.

boxcutter sings to a forearm
in an industrial sink, carves Slayer
with straight edges.
four years later, boys wear trenchcoats.

explicate lyrics like a tuesday in A.P.
English when Mrs. Grace asked us
to close-read “The Naming of Parts.”

we never pointed flowers at cops,
expecting it to blossom into inverted
roses and kevlar, yet we burned
our earlobes scarlet with American thrash.

after dinner and a diagnosis Mrs.
Grace buried her revolver deep into cancer.

stave church. colorado library. crooked
fingers taste ashes. Odin or Manson.
printer’s ink, as bitter as almonds,
paint effigies with broken tongues. pending
legal action blood-muddies the water. lyrics
we write but often misquote.

Even Necrobutcher Gets the Blues


Remove your facepaint
in a Best Western sink.

Drink hot tea from a paper
cup. The shower’s water

pressure is low, slightly
below a morning piss. You

left your glasses on the bus.
Everything but McDonalds is

closed. Your jacket smells like pig’s
blood and baby powder.

She didn’t return your call. Re-string
your bass guitar.

Burned hair from the pyro. Stoli
bottles and french fries.

There is a seven hour time difference.
You’ll call again in the morning.

Faust was also a drummer


It’s better to have a knife you don’t need than to not have one when you need it. —Bård Guldvik Eithun


sinks cold hands

into denim rivers, wraps fingers
around leather grips. Accents

spell out night along the swell
of a question. Punctuate the

guilt with a knife. He claims

that this was unlike him. Barter with lust
but bargain against shame. The indefinite,
unclaimed subordinate clause needs a direct

object. Poured
a pint of broken teeth, left the bar alone
just to fumble edged obsession

against an olympic park backdrop, in sight
of the treeline. His drum instructor

always told him, power comes from the wrist–compact
motion, conservation of power. What snaps

like decision–the neck or reflex? Zippo
a church to light your cigarette.

Jim Warner's work has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, and New South. His latest collection Actual Miles will be released in 2018 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University's MFA program. He lives in Philadelphia with wife Aubrie Cox and their thousands of records.

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