Mudlark Flash No. 60 (2011)

Four Poems by Drew Dillhunt

Cell Line | Cell Line | Algal | Ars Poetica

Cell Line

When I say civil war, hear autoimmune
   response; hear explanation’s intern

hear twenty-five pounds of black powder
   held hostage in the back of a Suburban
don’t worry, they’re state-approved
   these containers to hold trade unions
responsible for any antebellum behavior
   there’s no need for confederacy
to lapse into time-honored disrepair
   when the legislators flee the capital

it’s the spirit of democracy we’re after
   and we just don’t have the votes
to reenact the debate betwixt
   competition and mutual aid:
in the absence
   of plausible mathematics
our natural state is

Cell Line

When I say metaphor, hear user interface
   hear rare earth metal skyline

hear the twelve step program asking
   how to put its cell phone down

how to sort the text bubbles
   on the flat screen of the fish tank

into a poetics of directories
   henceforth known as folders

which converge on the absence of data
   and draw remarkable conclusions

about the origins of altruism
   here in the depths of the framework

the transfer station is my point of contact
   aren’t you amazed by your need to write

please remember to shift your mobile device
   from your pants to your shirt pocket

to your attaché with some frequency
   until we can sort the safety concerns.


A field of lentil-like bodies
gestates in the pond of my mind

it’s decent of you to deny your arousal
and I welcome the subterfuge

for proprietary reasons
a cell’s firm resolve

to divide is routine. Here
is the actual monastery

beneath the blue tarp
where a new green diesel

lurks in the wings and begs
the question: is consciousness

a pre-condition for altruism?
I take H to the bar for a drink

to discuss the paradox, the open
and shut of it; the what we want

is a I-bought-you-a-gift-card-


value nonsense. The city is multivalent
and it begins with the sounds

of my little boy kicking at his crib.

Ars Poetica

If this soap in my hand is an inkblot
where are we headed: when all
I can see is potato, again and again

unraveling the thread of the pristine
the ideal of verse. Here are your hands
push them together. Again. Reform

the unvexed motion. There are bits
and pieces of profundity
all over the place. Bend the branch

let me juxtapose. So I’ve got an ear
for it, can pick shit from Shinola
off the hot concrete, you call it

a gift, I call it a placement
in the not-so-unifying scheme
a seismic wave from the PA

registered on the surface of a pint—
the sort of particular that’s all
the lovelier for being reduced

to an equation, but no more
transcendent than we found it.
Is it possible there’s an oligarchy

based on syntax, a great collection
of Sith Lords gathered ‘round a travel
Scrabble board, reaching for a dictionary

choking themselves to death
with their minds.

Drew Dillhunt is author of the chapbook 3,068,518 (Mudlark No. 39). His writing has appeared 
in Eclectica, Hummingbird, Jacket, and Tarpaulin Sky; and is forthcoming in VOLT and Jacket2. 
His manuscript, Materials Science, was selected as a finalist for the 2009 National Poetry Series. 
He has released two albums of songs, including one with the band Fighting Shy, and is a member 
of the Seattle art-music collaborative The Blank Department. 

Copyright © Mudlark 2011
Mudlark Flashes | Home Page