Allen Forrest for Steffi Drewes


Rise and shine Guanajuato, Sebastian’s got five tongues
to your one, odds and ends the acrolinguist flings into

his breakfast banter. Not just the number of bricks it takes
to build a church or trips to Peru before he stopped eating papaya,

tell me how to launch a comeback that steals his morning thunder
—this is high stakes choreography with a mathematical accent.

Here I am climbing a cabeza de piedra to feel closer to history
and here my funnybone exposed under a cactus, underlining all

the parts about silver tunnels and mountains, rebel monuments
that fade and flash. So raise a fist to greet the day block out the sun

and sweep your rival, all muscle and gold sky. Sold two flicks of flint
to unroll a funicular steep on a hillside—feel the weight of

your limbs, the change in elevation, every arched window
an eye unfolding. Half-notes shimmy from a kitchen floating O’s

what a bunch of white rabbits down a hole, what a mouth making its own
magic show or bronze hero come to life. Did you miss the punchline?

Pause for selfies? Wake up, Quixote! We can see you counting tiles,
chasing tides. If you can say it better, go ahead and write my lifeline

in all caps or A minor, in any case think of the chords that can’t be spoken
running an instrument through your veins. Here you are with a piccolo bird

in your head or deep in the jungle coughing up leaf scum. Bit by breath
pushing tongue against teeth what licks the air and starts to howl.

About the Author: Steffi Drewes is author of the chapbooks Magnetic ForestCartography Askew, and History of Drawing Circles. Her work has also appeared in 6×6Zen MonsterEleven Eleven, and the anthology It’s Night in San Francisco But It’s Sunny in Oakland. She organizes Featherboard Writing Series and manages the Writer in Residence program at Aggregate Space Gallery in West Oakland.

Artwork: Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas.

Art website (paintings for sale):
Twitter account:
Portfolio: published works