ISSUE FIVE: My Laser Style | next poem →

A Proper Pressurized Blast

Alejandro Escudé

I am competing for space, even in the universe of spaces. My picture is there, right next to the prostitute who keeps sending me emails. Recruited by no one, I sleep beneath the network buried under invisible wiring. Two men equals twenty men. Time does not pass, it dissipates and roses aren't quite roses.

I hear a stalled madness swirling around the peaceable edges. It hops the peregrine present, skipping entire paradigms. Young men die from unlearning boredom. They translate their hatred into hopped up lines of code. The last thing my father gave me was an electronics duster— the directions state, "Pull trigger in a series of two to three second blasts."

The goal is to achieve a "proper pressurized blast." I think my father thought it would bring us closer. My window slats are closed. The coffee is cold, and I scroll aimlessly down nearly ten years of Facebook posts; the pictures are of a life lived. It would seem I've lost weight. In the one from my last poetry reading, I am standing with my arm around an acquaintance that was hardly an acquaintance.

Under every other picture is a comment by my one close friend who would josh me a little too often on being a lousy father, a bad husband. He was the only person I could call to have a beer with. Now, there are no more beers and no more joshes.

I look at the photos of my two children. The only near-objects. Even those photos are pinpricks of negotiable light. Eventually, the little white cards opening on my screen become unbearable. The problem is that the scars don't run deep enough:

That's what I want to say to the famous young hacker who killed himself. In a documentary of his life, the hacker says that his high school teachers gave him busy work, that they were disengaged. Fifteen years later he'd hang himself in his apartment.

There's no peace in the ocean monitors of the black convulsing internet. I delete the glitch-pages out of my mind. I sip the nectar of gratefulness from each suspended cup. Every lung is a vagina, every ear is a penis. The default site, after logging off, shows me the photo of the three year old boy tortured to death by his mama beside the photo of a fifty-year-old man who now looks twenty.

He really does look twenty, if you took a fifty-year-old and stretched his brows toward the back of his skull. As Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries plays, I blow the electronic duster into the cracks of my computer, into the airy corpse of my printer. This is as far as my face will stretch.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems, My Earthbound Eye, in September 2013. He holds a master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You may find more information about Alejandro Escudé and his work at

ISSUE FIVE: My Laser Style | next poem →

ISSUE FIVE: My Laser Style

Geramee Hensley
   November is an anagram
     for fishhook

Taunja Thomson
   Skull, My Former

Rachel J. Bennett
   Level with Animals
   Field Dressing
     My Favorite Animal

   For the Programmer

Sean M. Conrey
   Alan Lomax Translation No. 1:
      Nimrod Workman, 'Mother
      Jones Will' (1983)

   Alan Lomax Translation No. 2:
      "Belton Sutherland's
      Field Holler" (1978)

Heather McNaugher
   Nature & Environmental
     Writing Workshop

Thea Goodrich
   Keynes & Keats as the Keystone
     Cowboy: Infinite Iterations

Vanessa Couto Johnson

Raymond Farr
   Encroachment on a Dry Source

Kristin LaFollette
   The Burial

Anna Kreienberg
   a tornado poem

Alejandro Escudé
   A Proper Pressurized Blast

Cathryn Cofell