poems by Andrew Najberg

Twenty first century headlines


This story like many stories

starts with a bullet

and ends with tears

and justice deferred

I’ll leave the names

to the date,

to the wound

freshest to you

let them tumble

from your lips

like a waterfall

because we’ve heard it

but must drink again,

because it leaks from

our ears

before we register

the most recent,

because no vessel

holds enough volume

to speak as loud as grief.




Summoning the Trampled Gods


With the lights and bodies and the sweat on your lips and the sweat of your neighbor

and sultry heat throbbing from shoulders and bellies and wide-open mouths,

when the fluid dynamics of a crowd, when we are water and skin and pulp

at a doorway in a concert hall fire or surging for a back alley

to escape gunshots in a plaza, when we move as liquid

and compress just as little without breaking

something vital, something pours

from the container

of self,






in mouths







This life was stolen


From someone perhaps more deserving,

someone who had less

who never knew what they could be

who faced more locked doors than open

windows whose fists close around bars

or who perched stools at bars

who spent years of piano lessons trying to learn bars

or who just couldn’t pass the bar

whose parents didn’t set the bar

high enough who couldn’t find the drug

to get them high enough who was never taught

to set their eyes high enough or couldn’t find

the time off work to get their grades high

enough who couldn’t get their savings

high enough




An Hour in Techno Hedonia


You don’t need to go an hour

without drinking tragic glass,

liquid headlines in plasma

that light midnight bedsides

like a second star joined

the dance of Sol.


The numbers dead,

Shots fired, stillborn

Heart disease tooth ache

Cancer shower elephant

March to the burial ground

Like manna of psyche


heart beats techno-hedonism

with hands free Hallelujah

to the touchdown Jesus

and the fist down on table

edge when we celebrate

how we’ve mocked the soil.




A gasp


Have you’ve stopped

to consider

how many stand


at windows

like vigil candles,

not knowing

for what they hope,

perhaps for love,

or resurrection,

their daily bread

or good catch,

the condensation

of breath or

hope itself,

and that by the odds

of probability

if you stand at your

own glass

and press spread fingers

to the pane,

you touch

with the exact


of someone

in desperation



poems by Andrew Najberg

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