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Henry Skalbeck

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Bits from Cat's Cradle

Cult beauty—a cold fact, or
Eyes are lover’s like oysters.
Tell the young today, “you are spoken.”
Female represent[s] form.

To which: from a letter
Outside my father’s New York.

A fresh daisy. A lousy week. I don’t sleep.
I admire. Many times I really admire (hurt)

And—and—and—the atom bomb gurgled.
Mother shook her head that day,
“he used to be [an] eight-year-old”

It is an amoeba.
Sing to his fifty-third
Machine—same people; so dark together.

God screamed when she saw worm sailboats,
I mean, what Earth, I mean, what Earth.
4 of a —
This warning:
How unable. How anyone. To understand

I am now
NiCE—very nice,

But teach anyone the unknown
Of books
No. Somebody else’s tangled life
Is called humanity. Will without instrument

This plan compelled a second place
The first day was done.
250,000 wives of man

The world
Called me they.
Be factual
I was a book.

Nothing says easy like 
An almost member.
Thus, my early entry into
Said understand[ing]

The building had been
Had been building
The last frontier of twenty-eight years.

I scared the poor people enough..
Think and you will be better
To know. And ignorant to common sense

Pain him again
Pain his eyes closed
But not for it to
Go strangling. The words cried. He cried.
In grotesque face 
That loudly wasn’t dead

Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat's Cradle. 1963. Dial Press Trade, 2010.

Bits from Station Eleven

Tomorrow, a forgotten sore throat;
Elevators empty his gaze and
Leave. Leave no way
Out, a book on flight.

Pushing was ... you ... are
Disconnected meat and felt-paper tape
Glancing on autopilot at the store television
With insomnia eye (making)
Over his “where you are” card
You are the news
About wherever
You look in time
And exit already

Winter remember[s] hot light,
Used space,
And this (not just cold)
Light inside.

Moving silent like undersea eyes to a seahorse,
She sees a voice call,

Around eleven winds: a nemesis
Trying to view a bad practice
An(d) entire day
Of talked about downtime
And “you do you.”
A not sure tone, she doesn’t time why.

Leave the sorry girl
Leave why
The prophet said
“You [are]”
Choice the going now
Her arms, standing by her eyes, rubbing
In the station
The clean girl
You are Eleanor
Why twelve-year-old?
God was told he was the Earth
Like all dreams said
“If always was a thought in motion,
The direction
—” Dead.
You were

The girl, her head
Told you.                             You.
She                                        she.
Did know “AND”           “AND.”

A pocket of time vibrated out in the snow
Hours of years they rarely saw
A peculiar intensity
Just three temporary years
Of “okay
the day had been”
A patient exhaustion with symptoms
The first friends

“station eleven; 202”
An invisible dream of dentists,
Where eyes swayed in invented breeze
/h/ And teeth drifted up
to galaxies of gray planets
like books
like thinking
a universe [of] she
spinning anyway, the live world
think[s] it’s beautiful
but it isn’t night

Existence stopped trying and
Thought-said to her mirror you look like a stranger
Covered in familiarity and dark clear beauty
She liked herself but felt outside
Of her head that parasite
That forgot her name

“station eleven; 102”
Take a
You for me
A so so cigarette
Three three three maybe thirty
Hear me too
No you
Gossip pays
For what
Like you

She tears
He fits (basic)

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. Vintage Books, 2014.

Henry Skalbeck (They/them) is a graduating senior majoring in Film Studies. They have been variously interested in (poetry) writing since around middle school but got back into poetry last summer as an outlet to help balance some other things going on in their life. They especially like reading out loud and experimenting with how words can feel in your mouth.

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