Thursday, February 16, 2023

new from above/ground press: P E S T / (Zion Offramp 65-70), by Mark Scroggins

P E S T / (Zion Offramp 65-70)
Mark Scroggins

Who would spill into the seamless night, heave
the abductor apart? With what conjuration
do you address yourself to the exploit,
the token bypass? Clogged larvae, coagulate
gelid astonishment, were all they could descry
from the cabin, that abscessed and malodorous
primal scene. They joined us there, together we re-
arranged and shuffled densely printed blanks.

About logic they were rarely wrong, those old
    masters, their outlandish clothes
and gorgeous hairdos. Their elaborate ruffs
    and buttery, finely-tooled leather shoes.
Buckles, tassles, silver-headed walking
    sticks. Goose quills and microscopes,
spyglasses and nodding plumes. A camouflage
    bikini, a silk and latex trousseau.
The oracles and sages strut their way
    up the catwalk, toss their heads
at the turn. Syllogism and stemmata,
    quicksilver delta of the calculus
and hungry glimmer of philosopher’s stone.
    Names are sequent to things named, said
    someone: consequentia rerum, but requisite
    for any useful grasp of phenomena.
    Kaleidoscope of the world sliced
    into graspable gobbets, shapes
    modes attributes and other Latin words.
    The teacher says, Salve, discipuli; when
    the virtual session ends, vale. The teacher
    says, fermez vos livres. You’re trying
    to make sense of a new world by reading
    old books again, week in which each day
    has lost its surname, so ____day follows ___day,
    followed by undifferentiated ___day.
    Me, I’m always waiting, that’s what I do.
    Lamp trimmed and ready, parousia-gear stashed
    in a handy cupboard. My Aunt Anne
    would be in her element, downstairs closet
    filled top to bottom with discount
    toilet rolls. The rain almost gentle today.
    A block off someone hammers something. ("65")

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Mark Scroggins
lives in Montclair (New Jersey) and Manhattan. His poetry has been collected in Damage: Poems 1988-2022 (Dos Madres Press) and Zion Offramp 1-50 (MadHat Press). His most recent collection of essays and reviews is Arcane Pleasures: On Poetry and Some Other Arts (Selva Oscura/Three Count Pour).

This is Scroggins’ second above/ground press chapbook, after Elegiac Verses (2020).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

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