We Are Martians

Tread Marks on Mars

So cold there, and dry.
Scientists know this, know it from data
transmitted on radio waves
from bits of metal and plastic
blasted into space, hurtled to Mars.
Hurled like so many stones at abandoned shack windows.
Hurled by children wanting a sound of shattering.

Air is thin but there is wind enough to brush tread
imprints in red dust bare, in time.

How strange the hum of electric servos must sound
whirring in such thin atmosphere,
how drill bits eating old stone squeal
finding traces of water.

Could be there were ponds of it,
rivers of it. Seas.

There, now, sky just leaks away
and we are there watching from here
this heating, warring earth.

© Shawn Pavey, 2015. All rights reserved.

Cicada Poem: another piece from Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6

Dissonance, Late August

Larval husks litter the fence
hang from tree bark and porch railings
discarded amber of the earth from which they emerged
after 17 years of gnawing roots of trees
to unfurl gossamer wings, to fly.

In evenings after work these last few weeks
I shut off the engine and open my car door
to a sound loud enough to stop thought
like fire alarms in office towers
and stare into the canopy of old trees
around my old house, my bad eyes
unable to make out their shapes
against the summer green of silver maple
and sweet gum leaves

singing and mating and trenching tree bark
laying eggs, setting up a world for their children
who will hatch to migrate with gravity into cool soil
and burrow deep to eat and sleep and wait and wait and wait.
The dying fall as we all will.

© Shawn Pavey, 2015. All rights reserved.

Another poem from Nobody Steals The Towels From A Motel 6




I read about a soundproofed room

so silent that no person lasted

more than 45 minutes within it


silence so complete that

internal psychologies break down.


It starts with an awareness of breath.

Ears ring.  Blood pulses pulses pulses in veins.

Heart pumps its thud and thunder.

Muscles slip noisily about under skin.

Food gurgles through the digestive track.

Joints creak and grind, creak and grind.


Then, hallucinations.

Without data, the mind makes its own.

Poem from Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6


I wish I could tell you
the story of the world,
how sun and moon
gained dominion
over day and night,
how land raised up
and sea settled low.

I would tell you how
stars were born, how
birds learned to dance in wind,
how fish breathe water, how
fire surges from spark.

I wish I could tell you
how man shed the animal inside,
but the story of the world shows
man, standing
on two legs, fists clenched;
inventing – first – blade,
not plow.

© Shawn Pavey, 2015

Title Poem in a KC Poetry Anthology

This is the title poem in an anthology released in April of 2017 by Spartan Press. A version of this first appeared on the now defunct PresentMagazine.com in 2010.

Finding Zen in Cow Town

In Kansas City’s Union Station,
monks gathered to shake
colored sand that would become not sand,
but Mandala.

And here – pay attention now –
here is where it gets interesting:
a boy, three, maybe four,
saunters under the cordons
to do a little soft shoe
while monks ate, one assumes,
a simple meal.

Intricate designs and sharp, colored lines –
some no wider than a single small grain –
became the dust and scuffle of a child’s wilding abandon.

When asked, on the news that night,
what he thought of the security footage
of the child’s sand dancing, of the mother’s
quick grab and fast retreat, a monk replied, smiling,
We swept it up and started over.
We will just have to work faster now.

In a few days, in an unveiling ceremony,
attendees marveled
ooh and ahh.

After all of the cameras packed away,
monks swept the second attempt
into a sacred vessel and poured it
into the waters of the Missouri
for good fortune.

The mandala, you see, is like this poem
we find ourselves in this very moment;
the letters of each word, a grain of colored sand.
Dance in it, kick it around under
the soles of your feet.
Sweep it up.
Pour it in the river.

Let it all wash out to sea.

© Shawn Pavey, 2017

Today’s Poets Breathe Through America Like Born-Again Punkers: An Examination of One Instance of One Literary Road Trip Out of Thousands of Literary Road Trips Occuring On Any Given Day in the U, S, & A

Jason Preu telling it like it is.

Devious Bloggery

I’m on the floor, afloor, the floor.A floor in an apartment in Pittsburgh, PA and it is glorious. The night before I was on a couch in a house in Parma, OH, just outside of Cleveland. The night before I was in the back seat of a white Chevy Impala traveling from a Belle, MO still-flooded all around from torrential rains earlier in the week, muddy Gasconade River hungering for more life, fuckers, yet, somehow, the literary gods smiled down upon this trip, and opened an eastbound route out of Belle around 8PM, which we used to hightail it to the Red Carpet Inn in Monroe, IL, and where I fall asleep at 2AMish in a bed mercifully free from bed bugs.

The scene is this:John Dorsey, Poet Laureate of Belle, MO, and all around indie poet tour de force (his 50th book just released last month) sits…

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