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December 7, 2023

Kitchen Sink

Jake Stein

I’ve tried

all the H.P. things,

and I’m not talking printers;

I fly

through every cosmic ring,

sucking out the absurd like splinters.


with half-baked theories

high on the Scoville scale—


your love-craft wearies

my tongue, that total fail

of being mute, or too

low volume anyway to boot,

despite the fact that, made of wax,

I melt each time you give me the slip,

or scoop my tits, as if

some eldritch horror,

something catastrophic from beyond Mars,

blocks the hand reaching for bra,

bringing my heat to your Antarctica;

singing “please” on elbows and knees,

obviously I’m no fraud, only frayed—

forlorn, you might even say, being cast away

after we fork all day, not including the afternoon,

when we just spooned.

The trouble is,

monsters do exist, and there’s always the risk

that the tarmac yearns and the pavement

burns this paper airplane

before takeoff, before I can explain

why giant penguins don’t count as birds

in the mythos of my bad dates: indeed,

I’ve been flightless of late, until you hit

my brain like calculus, hit my teeth

like sugar on ice cream, and curled

my toes right around fourth base,

flaws and all.

I hang stiff before your jaws;

will you sniff or masticate?

While we avoid the sun

as it exhales fog in May,

I’m happy, for one, to remain indefinite,

holding all labels at bay,

until we become Great Old Ones

and say:

Sometimes the whetstone slides

just for fun along this solitary blade,

seasoning not our steel but our feels

before life gets in the way.

Speaking of “cos”-play,

that elixir of corduroy days—

so tangy a brew—

cannot fill my tumultuous mind

with anyone aside from you;

even chlorophyll ill-compares to

the effectiveness of your home DVDs

making me

stumble and collapse—to glimpse

your gritty lavender past, Mario and all;

to revolve

around each notch where others get stuck—

is it only luck, or knowing when to duck?

When to send best regards or punches

from afar… but what’s the use?

I’ll throw in the kitchen

down to the orange juice

with this composition, everything

barring the sink of



JAKE STEIN lives in Portland, OR, where he concocts strange creations on his laptop and spends too much time at Powell's Books. You can often find him fumbling around twitter: @jakewritesagain

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