Jamison Crabtree


to see what falls out. all the emptinesses
shielded by jars & crates & pots. let’s thrash

the animals & thresh the fields; see
what all it yields. i kiss a man to break

his heart. i misstep to break our dance.
so many feelings come from some unknown

place inside & i wish men were filled with more
than tears. instead, here: let’s take a hammer

to our bed & find the springs. to the armless
chair & discover the splinters of someplace

intimate. i want to collect all that’s kept inside,
to break you. but you appear & re & appear;

you wear the same body. & i keep trying
to take it off, expecting something new.


for B—-

in games, it doesn’t matter if you choose
to be a man or a woman. whoever

is supposed to love you, loves you b/c
the story requires it. nothing’s risked

if you’re a man in a red dress, tiptoeing
along the edge of some old town’s bridge:

no one will block your way with their truck,
get out, spit, & ask what do you think you are.

no one mentions rape. no one breaks your face
with the stock of a shotgun then steals your

shoes & wallet & dress. whatever harms, harms
equally. not just b/c you’re weakpretty

& alone. in games, the conflict’s easy. hurt
whatever hurts you (none of this is real).


everything you touch breaks, regardless
of your intention: you, midas of delicateness.

walk towards the chair & it falls apart.
step lightly on the cat, accidentally,

& she pops into nothing. this holds true
for everyone. whosoever touches

the other first, survives. & to be touched
is to die– the short primer for safety.

b/c intimacy leads to pain. asks you to be close
with someone when you’re not even very close to yourself.

i don’t want to stay safe, to be untouched. jump
on me. break me. just give me some small reprieve

from the world as it is: give me your hand.
i flash for you. move closer. make me flicker.


Jamison Crabtree is a Black Mountain Ph.D. fellow at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His first book, “rel[am]ent,” was awarded the Word Works’ Washington Prize. His chapbook “rough music outside of the vacant body” was published by Sundog Lit.