“Exit, The Woodshed” and “Riddled” by Dezy Kosmo

Exit, The Woodshed

I can’t seem to write the final poem
that blank page that percolates when gathering inklings
condensed in under-breath utterings set scolding through the streets
unable to concoct a catalyst that can capture it’s light
in more than negatives washed in my gut-scalping’s steam
in virulescent light of this abominable woodshed
this outhouse boiler room I slink back to, shorn of bearings
tin roof stopped up with rotting magnolia hearts
that drip daggers, tears frozen under chill of new moons

I can’t seem to write this final poem
where I catch eye of a prophesized meteorite
that’ll guide me past the crossroads
dripping embers that burn vines from beveiled signs
revealing roads left dormant without my trodding

Rather, made restive by a flurry of comets
that burn out into clouds, all their traces interspliced
lodeless interlocutors: A Tapestry of Babel
a tangle of tails none could make heads of
simply a shower of dying lights

I can’t seem to write the poem that leads me so far I can’t return
can no longer avail of the compass implanted in my chest
following tick and twinge of arrows set to that irradiated pole
the lightning rod poking through the roof of the woodshed

No, I’ve yet to step foot past this barren field
Rather, wishing for dreams so quick they can’t culminate in preyed upon
Rather, stilling myself between fleeting sleeps so I don’t reflexively flagellate
Rather, losing track of gauntlets, only fielding Nowheres past the fray
flinching at myself
at my own fist raised
been exiting the woodshed
but return to beat back my head
past the childsized doorway
dodging daggers in my bed

There must be some medicine in me
some recourse past convalescence
but how do I avoid the trappings of a snake oil salesman?
Inured to all but side effects
of these endogenous elixirs
these fleeting ephedras
I hawk as emetic incantations

Hastening me to that frontier where stars wash up, insurgent
only to find myself too depleted to chart my own voyage
save back to light pollution
that magnetism I can’t shield against
no matter how much lead I blinder myself with
the promise of free radical exhausted in denting round a vacuum
ringing like a bell this makeshift straight jacket
these poems such strip-shod resonance
that’d cease sounding in escape of the censer

But there must be some medicine
some means to steep these dregs
I’ve been dredging from my Nowheres
to poison the Goliath heeling me hobbled to the woodshed
Where I kept my promise to survive
hazarding which oaths would gift me life
yet to find which revivalist would hold me fast
to ferreting out my appetites

But do y’all have any idea what I mean by these Nowheres?
Any inkling of the squid shit that sinks me?
They’re not the blank pages
But the pages burnt indelible into the back of my mind
To no end, not even a dead one
Somewhere, those Somewheres where my body ends and my mind can’t make sense and the ghost finally gives cause the machine’s ground to a halt and it’s all night sweats so delluvian I can’t feel any gravity but this earth gone to exoplanet desolated even of it’s burial grounds

Sheer gravity
That infernal anchor chained round my neck that keeps choking me from shore
thumb and forefinger collar
my knuckles the waves
bearing down ‘fore I can register the loathing that precipitates
a fear no mercy can abate

Pumped full of salt in this Ocean-Styx-undertow-Nowhere
this bitter-field-in-the-wake-of-headlights-Nowhere
this kudzu-covered-woodshed-Nowhere
this head-so-low-can’t-even-crook-to-see-the-sky-Nowhere

Washing up
drowned out
pallet rafts leached of grass
by heavy metals bastarded from quantum
no grounding to this magnetism
strung through super funded soil

So help me make my roots walk
threading past the floorboards
and maybe my Nowheres can mend your Nowheres
in inchoation, gone to pot forgone
refuse that becoming be mummified
by the ceaseless whoing of owls
Let’s turn over cemented ground swells
cast our wrappings back to earth
honoring our souls
while permitting that loose dirt
fill the rifts between
our groundlessly estranged soils



Still yourself with the skitter of beetle’s wings
feel that wordless chitter fizzle antennae from body hair
and subsume that self-chatter in the nerveless
sheltering stimulated silence
from jilt of a startle unprovoked

Stomping shuts whatever gate lies before you
always creaking, no matter where you step
never isolated to the confines of tarring space
but the singularity of one foot after another
sans haste of destination

If you haven’t the will to quell a squirm
repeat paradoxical phrases til you care not for their reference
feeling solely intonation as it runneth over your chest
as cage is pried
and tears wells from that internal Nowhere
that only Utopia
you can carry to term

Envisioning nary a face
but fostering a warmth from an impalpable vessel
lying honestly behind the eaved over heart
nose knotted away
by a churned in tunnel

If you’ve ever slept exposed
benched or in patches
you know soil hums a hearth better than any furnace choked by an overcoat
by amour
by defense from night
For you can’t enter Anytopia
without ceding childish claims
to banners
to tatters
to life
as owned

And in absence of flourishing blight
there’s still that inner soil nestled and insulated from any antenna
black and inlaid with the left hand of fertilizer
those fetal plastics impervious to decomposition
perennial weeds seeping emetic milk
the collateral yield of a capricious harvest

Spitting seeds as you thrum your harp
you bow not to the propaganda of pollution
cantering through bluster all those blossom songs
keyed to homespun strings
of stalks notched from a wilted, variegated fortune
without mind for the tried and true harmony
This: the happenstance temper of fallow dryad spines
ordains what rise and what wood it’s roots
some feeble notes felled at first pluck
as they rephrase themes hued by the readily hewn

This chromatic bouquet grooms and pollinates the crop
invigorating those doted upon to an effusive bloom
those solely stirred by sour notes irradiated
wrying as weeds
pursing onistic lips that irreverently whistle
grotesque momentos coarsed from conduction

Having abdicated the baton, trellises condemned
notation has gone to down
to stuffing for a cradle barreled over by gales
meant for those hatchlings cooing your inspirations
in signal flares from their SOS crows nest
in sophic spirals that glimmer hints of wisdom through smoke

For in fog of spent cartridges, in singe of afterglow
only the shrieks of mandrakes manage to break through
from those bastards you soothe by resolving dissonance in vain
while the discord remains, peated in their roots

You exude, inadvertent, this gnarled exasperation
in cadences wrought from delicate reconciliation
that most take for the tainting of sickened soil
a dereliction of duty
meant to waste away
plugging noses at the odor of fossilized sulphur
though the smarting is truly of delphic gas
eroding your cautionary chrysalis

For though wading through such soil is the lot of the spirited
only vagrants muck about inured to the smell of shit
taking pincers to dead teeth
gutters the rightful passage for primavera molt
crude at best to dig in, making exhibition of your sty
let alone trowel trenches to watering holes that only exacerbate lipidity
without the cephalopodal acrobatics of customary phobia
clarifying lard to a badlands petri-dish
to preclude the emergence of rancidity

I shoulder no pitchfork to turn compost
miasma a vital sign of decomp
folks say you can’t smell yourself, lest something within you has turned
a room is only mine once it smells of my slumber
when that soil breaths, fecund, unfiltered by rain
all that I let fall and die from me
without the wooding of the ostracized or the palling of a flare
mandrakes and tulips alike churned to an inky dew
by an abundance of worms, those caretakers riddling me
boring in their answers there was never any prompt for
save a guessed at, submergent resolve


I know it wide eyed to invite one to fish these tunnels with me
but am sometimes caught mulling drafts extracted from their termination
squinted away to a hazardous germ
those fossils fabled as a cryptid remedy

And so, troglodyte
so, quarantine habitually to elude antiseptic
fermenting and remote even in open air
wrenching exposure waftwards to coax fresh riddlers
that I couldn’t field on my own for the soil of me




Dezy Kosmo (He/Him) is a writer, poet, and student in The New School’s Writing and Democracy Honors Program. His work has been published in 12th Street Online, Infection House, Ravelin Magazine, and a smattering of local zines. He recently moved to Brooklyn from New Orleans to finish his degree in-person and immerse himself in New York’s literary scene.

%d bloggers like this: