Luke Roe

Post Historical Guilt

I can satisfy both id and superego
And fall into the eggy gelatin of compromise
(I stroke my reptile and it purrs)
V.I. Lenin says it’s okay to rub corn syrup
And Doritos into my hair,
Storm troopers pole dancing
From 1917-1924

The Comintern says I can X-Wing and
Drool all I want as long
As I dialectic and write a sweaty poem

Does Werner Herzog dream of himself?
Does he ride a grizzly bear drunk thru Transylvania?
Am I a better man for asking?

And look-
The PornHub stars are here!
Erupting in an ASMR chorus of
“Peace, land, bread!”



I’ve eaten a star

It smells like a thing rotting

I was born in the fire

When did it happen?

Like a thing rotting

I wish I could shoot a deer
To see a dead bull…

Rotting in the smell

When people die,
What happens to their eyes?

It smells like

I’m making a fort out of you

A thing

Oh, it’s so small

Oh, Rotting


The Dark Dances in Mao’s Arms Around the Corner

The dark moves like a wet dog and stinks
Up the doors to the body

I am years spent making an art out of

Coming down the stairs
In someone else’s drawers
Covered in someone else’s

The dark was in my dresser
Burning my anarchistic skirts

The dark squirmed in my magazine
In my 21st century
Totalitarian heart

The dark is hunched down and barking
(Pissing its hind legs in fear?..)


Maybe Instead: a

A ubiquitous

A network
Of minor and major

(I want to come up with a Newspeak
So depressed poets can have new ways
Of communicating through Northwest winters
Maybe there is some kind of algorithm
Which could enable telepathy
When words contain too much weight for the mouth
And can only fall like rich crumbs, clusters
Of phonemes)

Maybe instead: a

Misfiring of synaptic rain. An
Entropy of hair
Sickle blade growing gray with sinking

Under a soldier’s
Bodily brio

(I want to find a pagan incantation somewhere
Which can turn a vial of spit into serum-
When drunk, an avatar, a proxy, will take over speech
So the drinker can hide in a room
Within vernacular,
And translate secret poems)

Maybe instead:
Endless wet matrix
Swamp foot at smoky dawn
A star of shit

Maybe instead:
Sock in a river
A pile of paper at the base of a tree

(Or perhaps a craving
For more oil in words
Flowers inside briefcases
Spells and math to mend the cracking)

Or maybe
Heavenly arson
Knees (fingers) prostrating
In the crunchy milk of it

Or maybe
An egg salad of prayers
A new vocabulary
New ways of saying “Covet”
Of saying “Color”



Editor’s Note

“Conversations” is composed of strange things the poet’s son has said to him in passing over the past year. “I like Smelling my Watch-It’s Fun” is a Cut-Up derived from a recent issue of the New Yorker.



Luke Roe is a father, student and worker residing in the Pacific Northwest. He has had poems published in Red Savina Review, Uut Poetry, Wire Harp, Haiku Journal and others. He was RiverLit Magazine’s Poet in Residence for 2015.