Micah Ballard & Patrick James Dunagan

Collaborations from EASY EDEN


It was hard to see
that he was an ordinary man
that I was an ambassador
& there was no one you could trust
besides the merchandise.
Some said he carved them forever
& even if I tried to forget
the fragrance would always bring me back.
There were alabaster jars
they had things written on them
painted figures
all of which were crossing a bridge
no one dared to drink from them
this I knew
his own kind wouldn’t even whisper
the secret of distillation.
It was said never to be recorded
not even through symbols
& this I knew too
right past the first sip


In impossible realms
Tattooed virgins Melville knew of
Work out the literature blues
Mouthing their names for each other
One is Wisdom Wrong another Paralyzed Perfect
I let them mess with my hair
This took place centuries ago
I had brought Homer along
His rudimentary charm & dialogue
Went over big with the little ones
Having withheld the story for so long
I'm pleased it's now coming out
Released in print by a World Press
Minus a sudden release in the Underworld
I have put away my sorrow
Tattooed virgins Melville knew of
Glad I brought Homer along
His chants, the dance continues


Humbly alive again
walking through someone else’s
death not mine this time
they are usually small
then you move on to the next
unaffected, besides paranoid pale
& the usual horsemen
they like to be spoken to
at random at ease
to recognize they are there
is all that they want
it’s better to keep it up
at random and not summon
for your own sake
but sit back and do what they want
all the while taking notes
not your notes, only theirs
then you act like nothing happened
and keep on acting
because nothing does happen
unless they want to.


Brought under the city
shown his hand, a good deal
worth of lid, substantial recompense
as glad as I was
told the old stories, his past swindles,
his refusal compelled my acceptance.
Parting the shirt from my breast
an offering of all I could think of,
what else was there:
minutes of wasted breath, why bother
washing his hands of it,
he pulled back the curtain—
It is now and it goes on every day

Micah Ballard was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is co-editor for Auguste Press and works for the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. Recent books include: Absinthian Journal, Bettina Coffin, Emblematic, Scenes from the Saragossa Manuscript, Death Race V.S.O.P. (with Cedar Sigo & Will Yackulic), Evangeline Downs, and Easy Eden (with Patrick Dunagan). A new collection of poems, Parish Krewes, is forthcoming from Bootstrap Press, Nov. 2008.

Patrick James Dunagan lives and works in San Francisco. Recent publications include: From Chansonniers (Blue Press, 2008) and an essay on Creeley and Stevens expected in Fulcrum 7. Numerous book reviews and poems have appeared in Big Bell, Blue Book, Cannibal, Chain, Galatea Resurrects, Jacket, Mirage #4 Period(ical), Morning Train, One Less magazine, Pompom, Poetry Project newsletter, Try!, and are expected in Vanitas and the forthcoming Easy Eden (PUSH 2009).