from National Lube”



Into and by the streetlight          Danielle’s ghost sequins over     At the wrought iron nova

A two-grappa boy goodbye         I insist on an ocean get delivered a parking lot

            Hum and nearly blessed            Constantinople             Tyrian purple                 Liz Claiborne

            Ruined in a magazine    I love with the architecture                      I am convinced it loves me

Cars hot and dangling    And lo, for a split second this good cop bad cop           Gay Guide

to New York City          Pried open with mother of pearl pocket knife      Luminous epigram

            I left oops, on the Rockaway bound       prepared guitar just standing there, the night      twists a return

of tremendous love          you can feel, the color of            our downtown

version of dreaming: devotionally           passing            sesame balls golden back and forth

on Doyers St                tasting the propaganda of the wind        Specifically I loved

            You and the puddles, noodles entering your mouth        “I hate all of my clothes” too bad

            I glide my hand against the sun with a Diamond twist there           Adding relief in umbrage

Too, small fey masterpieces      I donate a little faggot     whimper to the medium air

Embargo time: it's so laced        with stars, permissions, Playbills,           keep practicing son

and don’t take the first offer


Only if you're serious and not
like it’s the end by any means,
the sonic phlegm dissolving
years by record longest measure
on that selfsame feeling riverside
you knew. It’s green and turning

brown unspoken where love isn’t
called to mist in silvertongued
dense archives of total potential
condensed upon a polished cod-
piece. This is what I want so bad
at bedside naked in the light
dwelling on the motel poetics

of love mistook for trusting nod
and so it’s traveling seems to ask
you: how rain removes the blue from wet


If I could fold what the city          has in half and sip out the things come oozing     I should be okay

for a night         with the not-yet enemy  A sermon from the free trade zone

            At the knotted heel of the sovereign      vomiting a visual monoculture of

            Live laugh Shepherd Fairey wine racks               the eradicating grey libidinal motor

Of capital’s global rainbow                    a clean, tingly prismatic tendency                        Nothing to buy

and yet the entire wardrobe of the sky like a condiment for my ear

            Where's my community of excess?         Hello mother, hello father,         pour me
            another           directive            Staring psychotically out of a condo advertisement

Carnatic piano victory lap           That's what                    your tenderness feels like          AT NIGHT

THEY DO GLOW                     The call and response of a concert of water

            A bit of frosting on your lip        dedicated to the thunder            Shoplifting

            the outlets, Daddy         Deep in the private code of       someone breaking free

“The music of a generation”        Though we were raised upon                 Trail cam footage


Approached him gently
(Everyone noticed this)
A new history began
There was a way I could reach
My biography, and wear it
But could not otherwise inhabit
The poem left me to appear
But I was still
there, behind
In this way I could only recall
The color of its tail, it’s beaten air
Maybe I was practicing another memory
Or in the scaffold of another event
Gilded by fiction, I remained
In a diagram of it
A train blew through the station
A type of writing had ever occurred
An area rendered into itself fully
That’s the generosity of the poem
Who wouldn’t notice a few flowers missing


Ancestors tell me                      in random wind something they'd never do again

And so I write as a fucked interior of lyric                 What makes most sense to me

            under this          spermezoic humiliation of love and species        All this mentorship

            and no disturb to show              A little harmony comes incorrectly to me


Upon the reciprocating cash-only boulevard        In this topography, oops, topology

of this orchard               Curiously with this moon and these little berries


            Lit like coins by the consciousness of the moon   And banished

            from this garden on the surface  into the rune weight of the Earth—there is


absolutely NOTHING wrong with me


(Water to never close this parenthesis
But this sodomy illuminated me from within
Like a dashboard, mycelial in axiomatic 
Puppeteering, to squeeze contemplation
And action Into the same overwhelming segue
Of looseness, a draped harness the infinite field
Aromatic murmurs fastened to boundless hereafter
Dos-a-dos elide destiny from a specific princess manifesto
It's finch language for me, gramophone in thought
Cassette requested for edge of town MPH theory
Antisocial porcelain woods where I feel his hair
Again, peaking. And easily diminished by a secret


Ryan Skrabalak wrote National Lube (forthcoming with speCt! Books, 2024). Additional chapbooks soon appearing with Ursus Americanus, Oxeye Press, and above/ground press. He teaches poetry at the University of Kansas in “Lawrence,” where he also edits the poetry micropress and tape label Spiral Editions and organizes for AFT local 6403.