“and god said: no gods” by Grey Burnett


before punk was Punk,

before even she was “street

urchins” or “worthless”

she was “rotten wood

used as tinder”


before god took her safety pins

and pierced the world

she was already

promised to the flame


(i too

am kindling)


they say rock and roll’s

post-war anxiety headache

got so bad he took his ax

and jack-nicholsoned Punk

onto 1974’s pavement

fully disformed

she decrees:


and chugs a molotov

she is beautiful

like a burning cop car


(“faggot” is also

made to burn

from the tinder

of witchfires

i rise flamboyant)


this god is not dead

this Punk is not dead

she resurrects in the flames

black leather phoenix

burning in the small places

every day by every show

she is very much like me


(and sure that’s

why i thought

i wrote better

drunk like hey

this alcohol is so

damn flammable

you know

we spent three

whole months

on fire that hot


and it’s the same

chemical in

cars too and

we drove fast and

we drove loud and

oh god we ran and—)

Punk grabs me by shoulders

lovingly socks me

across the face







Grey is an ill omen currently manifesting as a flock of blackbirds in Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently serves as managing editor for ellipsis…Literature and Art and in the past has fulfilled the roles of poetry editor and productions editor. She is a judge for the 2018 IronPen competition at Utah Arts Festival. You can find her interactive poetry at https://greyb.itch.io/

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