from Freakophone World

Madison McCartha





when let off my



i wag my rancid

tail           & jump


into your voice


                      you ready?


ready for battle?


then call the pigeon-swarm


to paint our blackest



                               like a prom-queen

limousine under a mass




                         i only want


to become ink dotting the path


                    to rip


a little swamp-hole

we can breathe inside


so don’t be a freak about it ok?


fissure-needle        gold-injection









draw a zero


beneath this pyramid

of skulls


            single pictorial gate


oceanbrine shoots out of 


in your mouth


                               bite down

& i am yours—


spewing from your tongue


down your chin


into your little



when you & the cliff       the moon


repeating in its maroon-dye-loop


                            the book



i calcify


as a bone-chime-chorus


making my pneumatic



                                   to tell you

we are alive


                  didn’t you know?


a griot cannot die


           even now

in the infraspook


a new body

accrues like—


                          ever seen

the squid-beak-build-up


of ambergris in the nasal

passage of a blue



                    like that


but with your regrets


one after the other—

each amulet


a bullet in the amber


                                                                                                                  like me


         fetching the field-wren


                                                                rattling tin mug


shitting in the dark with the door open


                                                                                          red-rot blooming in


                                 the irradiated soil


       in the oak-bark-snatches of moonlight


                                                                                         in a palm


as extinct as


this shimmering black

tapestry of my looking—


each blond occlusion


written in the night’s



                     in the sulfur trail


from where i am     

                                                        to where i



tie a knot—


the vertebrae collapsing

                                                          such small surrenders


the way this glass breaks                    so you can eat


               a bone breaks                   so you can breathe


                   a neck snaps                        so you can




& i will have to start from dust


                           from fine black



sewn through the lips

                                         into a high-noon




                           the sirens so quiet


i can finally smoke a cigarette in


the feculence of the living &

the dead          

                                  the stone


whole      to see the ruin in


the formed thing—


           to look to pieces


to keep shaking

                               to diffuse the light









if a sound                                   *

                                                if i could


   if you                                                                  *

                                                                           if i just


                 if a pulse


                                           if just a nibble


if i bite                                                                    *

                                                                          if an itch


                     if you are here


                                                            if i smell you


if a black spot                                                         *

                                                                       if just a shape


                                    if i fit


   if a lung                                                       *

                                                               if you’re alone


if arrival                                      *

                                            if December


if there was light


                               if people changed


look me in my big blind lidless eyes       white as filth


& tell me        i am found









MADISON MCCARTHA is a black poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, DREGINALD, Full-Stop, The Journal, jubilat, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He has served as the Design Editor for Cream City Review, and became the Poetry Editor for Storm Cellar. Madison holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and is a 2018 Artist-In-Residence at The Millay Colony for the Arts.