divine magnet





Broc Rossell


from Alameda

This is a very bitter green


on the face of water

one takes

pleasure in

the anatomy

of intention

                   Harpies pinnate the sun’s white hair

in late August,

that yellow desert, and

the blue seas leap

“I honestly do not know which day is    more        beautiful

Crows at my tote bag, empanada wrappers

shredded in the lebenswelt my mother takes for granted

like a well-breathed baby boy

The betrayal of a moment by syntax

The cup of coffee on a hot summer morning

The dust on the lemon tree

mingled with the scent of warm rinds, fresh as snowflakes on bullets

A briefcase rocking like a slow feather

makes a fountain of paper

alone in the world

The blood of an idea

like the vines of art nouveau,


                    and therefore human

A day born as a boy

for centuries

There goes a comet

and here a green Dignity

winks out

a personhood,

a deliberate


To tall, dry, odorless

trees out of pavement

Half the streets sleep

and the other half

terraced. A mother had

a premonition before

her daughter was hit

by a car; now mine

“Doesn’t feel

good about it” and

so I learn how to rebel

against myself

below the long window

of a small room, a view of

the eucalyptus slowly

walking into pine

To foraging fallen

fruit & whatnot from

yards caked in city

A rusted crank & chain

on an abandoned beach

cruiser Homeless for

the last time Pretty

girl part-time job

plentiful narcotic

Suspension decks flip-

ping like a penny arcade

Another job, another room,

a way to write into the dawn

Into the day-blind

foot that keeps walking

the other foot to work

To the quiet salt-lit

days after the divorce

Sludge-lined beach

full of night-birds &

the cries of happy

people from the bowl-

ing alley, necessary

lies an Iron Dome

above my whimsy

Leaded decanters full of

off-brand liquor from

Trader Joe’s No one

knocks The little

Catholic school plays

football The tiki lounge

squat & square in the

sun Dirt caked on hot,

fragrant lemon trees

Now just a sticker on my car.

I don’t know when I died –

I died young, I think

my body preserved by

effortlessness: smooth

and thin the whole way.

But this morning surrounded

as I am by such winky faces

in this hot little chair,

I have no way of knowing

how young I really am,

that I have never seen these

winky faces, this

arboreal blue,

younger than the summer evening

when darkness with its many colors

forgave the birds, trees, shrubs, and grass

in the same manner I forgave everything

around me, so young, I’m too pleased

this morning to “Listen to myself rot,

waiting for the great red lapses

of the heart, the tearing of the caecal walls,

for the calving of my mind

like a child’s giddy scream

No swan so fine

as the poison in this work,

no crime in the word

this petroglyph devours

like a mother in petrichor.

Go if you want,

bells be your guide,

bells braided

to the air

              in your native tongue.

                            I love everything into the ground.

I love        the way

something like gravity

walks away from everything

like the divine

or infinite regress.

In the nineteen-seventies

I was a gift

afforded several of the contented.

Their clothes were in and out

of a passing remark, to which I contributed

a sense of normalcy. Standards

enveloped the organs of us all, people died

at a minimum distance

and continued on from there.

I grew a guitar; people groaned

and winked. This was in a subsidized

one-bedroom Santa Monica apartment. Mountains loomed

over little shores dedicated to the saints

of parochial interests;

I died quickly,

I assumed and refused

the same luxury

to others, my teeth

on the world nearby.

But it died too.

The mountains turned around

and justice found its bandits,

so I left

in an unimportant way

                                   For some idea of everyday grace



and streaming

in revolution’s quivering petiole,

the champion’s



undergirding the optimism

of elephants.

A red drupelet amplifies muscle memory,

the day’s white scar into which my muscles feel red…

These broad strokes

bend saplings like wind,

like actual incidents where

“Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose,

Strong and content

I throw the canisters back.

OK mon ami?

Let’s go see the elephants.

These are sequences of words worth great color,

for which eels

Transmogrify Cool Water

                                         like afterthoughts around my ankles.

“Black is the ocean, black and sulfur the sky,

And white seas leap. I honestly do not know which day is more beautiful

But the most valuable part of company is

humor, the honest confusion of facts

spoken in a joyful spirit.

If this could be stasis,

I would marry all my neighbors

I would plant trees and wander for miles through forests,

a tourist in my own home.

There was no one to ask for forgiveness;

there were no marks on the floor or walls.

Little animals drew me outside into other, larger animals

where they sat and wrote odes to the sun.

We decided to go for a drive,

music poured out of open windows

But in the seventeenth year the song amplified

and a steely gaze ran the hallways unencumbered,

latching onto wooden spoons, oven door and refrigerator handles, baskets

reserved for magazines. Acorns and olive pits and hard,

brittle eucalyptus leaves left messages in cuneiform on the pavement

beyond the driveway. But even those were silent – chivalrous, almost,

a tiny image of spiritual training dissipating quietly,

like a seventeen-year-old-boy listening to jazz in a high school bathroom,

every difference

a difference in kind,

which doesn’t ask for language.