‘Dawn’ by Walker Storz



Dawn, little speaks

The world does not
want another face
Rising eternally out of
Clay, or mud,
Or pyrex

I am wearier than I
have ever been

But—-for a moment—-warming in the
kind of dawn that comes once every
2×1000 to the tenth power

A shredding dawn,
a world drowning in a
Sunkist and blood
swirl—the maw
Of the old and new
One of the vortices we wait

I can only think three words a
I have been cursed from birth

I am every name from history, but some more than others, and only at the tail end of
Every millenium

I can speak into the orange glow that I knew people once, that I wanted people once, that I liked to play

The blood maw swirls again. The window fades out, I am on a playground ride around this place.

I pick three words a millenium. There’s a rhythm—a waltz, a swing on this rough circular path, around a specific school with brownstones and a small charged-looking green courtyard. And a lilt—always a tune carrying through these thin honeycombs of space time.

I know I’m coming back around on the swing again, and there’s a
feeling of excitement then fear, fading, recognition, of something as if at the periphery of my image of thought. Something I can never see, like a knot that would allow me to undo all of this.

I get three words on my way back.

Love you __
Her name an incantation that makes my mind Slate tilt a certain way
And the backjangling slightly off round , slight lilt of printer laughing at teacher on the projector light on way around
Me why I

Who goes here

Can’t wait there

Please help me

I love ____

____ help me

I Looove you

Am I dead

Sun does dawn

Let me in

I hate me

Let me out

‘Jesus Christ (dionysos)’ and ‘Fever’ by Walker Storz


Jesus Christ (dionysos)

My veins glow
luminescent, bulging
They have grown
with wills of
their own, fat
Writhing into the
world with the sickly
vigorous force of
God has spoken
to me
He is staring
at me from
the light fixture
in the ceiling
His eye bores
into me.
It is worrying my
flesh, inscribing
red angry
I sat there in the
corner with
my wine bottle and
shaking, ecstatic
I have suffered for
you, father. But
God did not
care. He was absent,
and I was
talking to his shadow
across the world; in
electrical sockets and the

faces of strangers
It is my hope that
you, Jesus
Christ, pale king,
Fill me with fire, make my
heart gold,
my feet brass, my
tongue silver; that you
my weakness and
sanctify it, make it
It is my great
hope that
you make my
hope worthy of
waiting, that you
make the world worthy of


Bright, bright
A bone
cringeing and
spilling its contents
into a toilet
My skin hot
and red as a
blistered, dying
The charred
sun sloughs off
its skin onto
me—h bombs,
The light of the
bad angels
playing on a
wooden television
disintegrating into
In this bed
in a small
yellowed attic
I writhe around
under the
It is so hot
I think it must
be a witch’s
Yellow fat melting
into a
long gold
and I can’t
breathe, not

without ice
After an
interminable silence—
the kind of long
wait after you
beg for
help and then
give up on
any response
I slip into
delirium and
I am still
invaded by
weakness, it
sits sticky in
all of my
At my
aunt’s house
at Christmas
I carry a vase
to the table,
heavy with
pain and
confusion, even
in my dream; and
trip and
fall, throwing the
vase into the
air. It smashes
into the
shiny wooden
floor like a
crystal dirge
The sky seems to
open up
as it must have
for Prometheus:

In preparation for
an executioner’s
hand reaching
out of the
heavens to take its

And I kneel in the
glass as my
father yells—
his face a
blurred mask of
high, cold fury
a silver bellow
pressing me into
the floor
I try to clean up the
glass that I am
kneeling in but
I am so heavy,
pinned to the
floor, my knees
encrusted with
shards and
The party
face contorted
slow and
fixed in aspic and
I can’t think
beyond the
edges of this
My mind in
its meatbox
retreating into

pain, the
conditioned aversion
immanent to the
broken cell
I am orthogonal
to the world, and
can never enter
So I must dance
around the
cross and
bare my chest
as an
The malignant
chatter of the
comes back into
and I bathe in
these shards
and laugh as
I stumble trying to
right myself
I feel a hand
In the small of
my back,
pressing me
down, then
another hand on the
back of my
head, grinding my
face into the glass
Maroon laughter and
blood of the same
color, but
tinged with

velvet black, bursting
out of my face and
dancing ribbons threading
their ways to a central
streams running to an
I am a blunted
dagger and I
wish to
sharpen myself
Smoky, soft, red-brown
seeps into the
room from
under the floorboards
a surging
cold, grey-green
maelstrom throws
me down
I struggle to
breathe and
find the center
A whirlwind of
ions, neither
friend or
Now it laps at me
As the crown of my
head feels

A cold wind
runs cold and
then hot
all the way to
the prisoners
shiver in
delight. I am
somewhere else.

‘Glass Cacophony’ by Walker Storz


Glass Cacophony


One of the four glass
walls that surround me
shimmer; as if
winking at me.
I collect this
glint, this icy ember,
and add it to the
crystalline fire I am
stoking in my heart
Being mocked hurts.
But everything
mocks me—every
reflection and
sparkle from the
grain of the
smooth glass
I am not being
watched, despite
the fact that I am
fully exposed. This
makes me burn with
cold anger. Why
should I be forsaken
here? I feel the
lack of God’s eye
mocking me. A
cool contempt; as if
I am not even worthy
of rebuke or
punishment. I am
His abandoned
I can’t break the
glass. I have tried to
punch through, but
my hand glances off;
a graceless slant

—a reminder that
I am diagonal to
God’s eye, his cool
rebuke is always
oblique, I always
glance off
A thread that
unravels and
can’t be folded back—
an irreversibly
fried egg white
And our ancestors’
fall from grace;
a swift fall; and
we have tried
ever since to
tumble back up to
without a catalyst?

A great light or
heat must
buoy us—the
energy from a
sacrifice; the
pain that is
unreasonable; black
blood swirling upwards
into a vortex
Remembering flight–
thinking of the
apex of a
circle; jumping from
the nadir
I turn the
glass into diaphanous,
sticky fabric-skin;
a cocoon—suddenly

warmer, lit yellow from
within, the
nocturnal, forest-
dwelling light of
A miracle! I
part these
curtains and
follow the
yellow globules
of light, out of
this enclosure,
into a
It smells like
singed hair
and the sweet,
sodden smell
of the air after
The air swirls
darkly, and
on the ground
surrounded by
greenery rustled
by conical
I see a clump of
wine-red, shiny
matter; pulsing,
with no face,
no eyes, no
way to sense
intrinsically, a
young, earthen
god comes
swirling and
gushing into
the world–forming

its vessels from
energy from the
sun in the
earth’s core:
souls propelling
the god into
being between
two gyres
Singing not
of blood, but
singing blood,
singing not
of the body, but
singing a body
beating a drum
bringing a
whirlwind of
atoms into a
shape that
flickers, then
Forming an
ivy-colored, helical
that reaches
vertiginous heights
weaving a spiral to the

‘Scotomize’ by Walker Storz

image by paul klee


Part I

I am a bad
seed, grew
rotten; a

Broken genesis,
wings clipped
at first fall

A circle breaking
and thus
losing its
momentum—losing the
horrible center

Proteins misfolding,
disorder spread

The body
breeding its
own madness

Cells limping,
losing their

Losing the
ability to

No filters,
brain dirty and
hot—the smell

Rotten leaves
and car
engines leaking

Do you hear
me?  I cannot
I have
no audience,
I fail to
register myself
to the world

It will not
tremble like my
taut flesh, but
I wish it to

I whisper to the
world.  I tell it
lies through the

I tell it to become
warped like
I view its
crystalline, perfect
germline and
insert my bad
thoughts into
It… I
birth small
hates: hatelets,
cubs, that will
be nurtured
by the cold
impassivity of
Nature, that
will suck
granite and sulfur and
pond-water out of the
of the world

In this eternal
present, no
time is redeemed

And I have
nothing to
do but wait for
wait for a
time future or
time past to
bacterium forming
from airless swamps

This whirlpool
is outside of
always comes with
room to breathe
but there is
none here

Neither segmented
worm-line of
time or the
sacred gelled
time of the gods

The whirlpool
collapses all time into a
now that
sounds like a
moan.  A now
that is a
“Please, no” to
life.  A now
that is begging
this now to

The sirens screaming
no as they
are held down and
raped by
The seductive
“No” that emerges
from the abyssal
entrails of
infinite pain

This is now from
center of the

Hope is a
phantom light that

wrecks ships

a mirage made of
bad air

A taunting
voice in the night
enveloping a muffled

Part II

We have
whirled back
to the point

of origin. We
have the knife
in our hand

We have the
choice to
end things
before they

I stare into
a glimmering
light, and I
start to
tremble.  I
am finally
here, a place
beyond the
flux of life

A ground in
which being
and becoming
is birthed

I see
spheres growing
like supernovas
in stunned

I hear Sylvie’s
behind my
ear, softly
I am with you

 A sense of
warmth and
circles me;
whirling black

I breathe more
and more
heavily as I
approach the
point of
at the center

When I was
13 years old
I ran through
wind and rain
for 13 miles
before I

I remember the
pain fondly, so
different from
the confused
dull pain and
delirium of
my abortive life

Lights flicker
on the soft wall at the
edge of this
clearing, playing
more memories

As cave-lit

Sylvie and I
in her
room, the
first I love

 I didn’t know
The line of
my life would
there, preparing for
another, greater
break–one I would
refuse to
feel until
far after it had
felled me

Topanga Canyon,
spiralling into
view, a quickly
unspooling, shaky film
of gnarled pines
against yellow-
brown sand

and a line
traced: a
blueprint overlay
of a possible
branch of my
life writing
itself in time-

A bright hole
with charred and
edges eating the

Blackness intermission

I saw a white
room with
splashes of
angry red, a
woman being
split, a crumpled
face, covered
in a veil of
blood and
slime, pulled
out of

I felt a strong
in my chest
and a feeling of a
crowning on the
top of my

Now only the
light at the center

The feeling of
Sylvie behind
me, a
pulse of
light in my

I raise the

A glittering
pure light floats
in front of me, staring
into me without

I hear soft, mocking
laughter, and the
chime of thousands
of bells

I drop my
hand and slash and
everything crumples

‘Hell Mouth’ & ‘July 2018’ by Walker Storz


Hell Mouth

This is a true story but it’s not a story. It doesn’t have narrative form because to have narrative form there must be a beginning and an end–in other words there must be change. And nothing ever changes here.

I am in hell. I am in hell forever. I am being tortured and I have no idea why. If I had any idea why it wouldn’t be hell. You see, people think of punishment as having reason: “the punishment fits the crime” and so on… but in reality, punishment IS the reason. And if I knew why I was being punished, there would be some consolation to it–consolation that is forbidden to me. So I am punished, without reason. The pain is the reason, and the denial of reason IS the punishment.

I am here and my punishers are demons. They are not red or horned, there are no flames. This is more like a dimly lit warehouse, the demons grey-fleshed middle-managers with onyx eyes. But since part of the punishment involves continual washing of my memory and my personality, I cannot recall too much. There is a continual blurring and then sharpening. I gradually begin to retain awareness that I am indeed in hell, and then right when I get to the cusp of that awareness, my memory is reset. This process has an organic rhythm, like tides of blood under a midnight sun.

The real punishment of hell is loneliness. This is said so often it might as well be a cliche, but think of this as the most solitary solitary confinement. It’s impossible to convey the extent of this isolation without resulting to ponderous abstraction, but lets try anyway. You may never have known God in your life, but when you are forever cut off from him, you will know the difference, you will know it in your flesh. The way the flesh can sense storms, etc, in some elderly people, your flesh can sense the presence of God. You will miss this presence with every inch of your being. Your flesh will ache constantly with the worst kind of sickness and revulsion for being itself. It will want nothing more than to be free from itself, but it will never achieve that. It will want union with God, it will long for God like one longs for the warmth of the sun. You will try and remember what it felt like to be unhappy on Earth, in the normal sense of being unhappy. Because that was paradise, relatively speaking… that warmth of God on your flesh, the feeling of being alive.

It is hard to say if you are 1000 miles, or 1000 light years from God. It is hard to measure distances, all you know is that you are too far to get any warmth. You are in a place that must be hermetically sealed off from God and from everything that is good. This great distance touches even your memories. Every emotion, every affect that you remember from your old life–all of it feels impossibly distant. When you remember feeling happy it’s like you are looking at this happiness in a snow globe, you can’t feel it, it doesn’t enter your body. (It’s possible that this metaphor came to me because my boss here has a snowglobe on his desk in his office. It’s so hard to make metaphors when you have limited imagery at your disposal). Every memory I have is like a film projected on glassine. Usually I don’t try and replay these memories, even when you have them. It makes things worse, I often shudder involuntarily when watching them. I suspect that your torturers want you to view these films—these memories that gradually sharpen every so often. Hope is the instrument of your torture, and in this sense you are torturing yourself.

Continue reading “‘Hell Mouth’ & ‘July 2018’ by Walker Storz”

‘Sweat’ & ‘Revolver’ by Walker Storz

sc june 18


How many times
can you
rise up to be
beaten down
by a blunt wall–
Red, humid,
broad as a thoroughfare


Before failing

A lucid star drops
from the east, a
soundless bomb
Shattering like a
Vermillion mirror–the
soul reflected into
Itself, infinitude–each
piece a drop of
sweat. The star
crosses the equator–
tumbles toward
Hell, the
guts of Earth. A
place teeming with
sickening, writhing
life; life which is too
vigorous, which wants
to be free of its

Where is my
will? What is it
that says “I am
I,” or says “I will
not—not today” I
suppose it governs
by default. I am
too tired to put these
things to bed. My
body endures
obliquely–it does not
thrive, it does not
generate a will;
it sits in
itself, its opaque stink
of congealed time,
deadening of

Condemnation, debt,
remorse, duty—all
gravities with
different vectors.
Some pull from
the firmament,
some from below
the waters, from the
insides of the

The earth washes itself
of itself, and in
these rhythms is
a seasick nausea—
I, the sick, the guilty:
I am the vomit
of the body of the earth, and
I am like a tide
rolling back on
itself without


Hundreds of doors
open and close a
minute: revolving glass—
whirring ceaselessly

Crystalline flashes
wink outward

Something flutters
in my chest
A nest births a flurry
of swallows
with damaged
wings, beating
a slant,
idiotic tune
in the air.


They peel off
and tumble
out of line,
smashing against
the inside of
my ribcage like
breakers, making
red sea-
spray, vapor
and choked cries

Below the heavens,

blue circles cull bodies, the
damaged sink
into heaps of slab,
Dust-piles at
the broken edge of the
clearing—like cream
separating from skim





God has ceased to
tend to this machinery.
The stove is on,
the clock
broken from its
trajectory, the
world a
mute, anxious scream.

‘Ariel’ by Walker Storz

sc june 18

Ariel got off the phone with the disability lawyer.  A buoyant light was falling through his chest, tugging him down.

Her voice had been so kind and strong that he wanted to cry.  She was such a merciful executioner.  He decided he would fix her face in his mind, even though he’d never seen it and never would.  Her eyes would be green and vibrant, her hair black, her face firm but pitying.  She would hold back tears and stroke his hair with unseen hands the whole time, while he was walking into the white cloud.  He would become sleepier and sleepier, while every line and fine distinction disappeared, erased by atomizing fine shards of soft white light.  He would keep walking while every part of his body vanished.  Every part of her face would disappear but the great green eyes, hovering in the white gauze.  He would come closer and closer, beckoned by the strange, broken waltz that the white light in his chest sang in unfamiliar language. And now her eyes were shining with sympathetic tears.

Crying after having held back for too long runs the risk of totally dissolving a person, into the ether.  It is necessary to freeze totally, to dam up one’s lachrymal ducts, to prevent any intrusion; to protect against the corrosive solvents that would obliterate one without care.

Two Poems by Walker Storz


For Sylvia

You were yr own Hero—
gold Narcissus-
flower turned to lead
Water turned to
ice—alchemy of
death. In your mind,
objects turn
and turn and they
whirl themselves
into static.

You own a million
postcards of yourself:
faded photographs
of statues and ghosts

and a shrine, erected to
your image,
in your mind

which is to say, in
Your house, and

When water turns
into ice, it whirls
into stasis with a
deafening flourish

Then, materializing–

a glass
icon of yourself,
chiselled out of
frozen time. That
infinite quantity–those
Crushed bodies, those
long-gone heroes. Castle
walls would not protect
them. And you were all
alone, in the doctor’s
office. A sphere of
soft light, surrounded by
a harsher light–a
Splitting pain–forceps,
scission, the film ripped
from an eye, the fathomless
Glinting fields of
Glass, or ice.

scd nt s prfc

My last lover
told me she
believed in
no afterlife,
and in that moment
the aura
surrounding her
I felt sodden;
by materiality
We were (only)
hurtling through
space, always
inevitably apart,
maybe it was
heroic to have
tried to hold
on even for
our brief

I been sinking
further into
my brain, time
unspools like
the parasites from
the guts of a

We had a
mutual fear
of children,
easy it was
to generate a
life with a
careless gesture–
what grew between us
was worse

A nihil, feeding on
our little silences,
our turning-
feeding on
time, turning it
against each
other. Even the
air, the simple
dead air, started
to have
like it
had been
laced with them

I wish I could
beat time at
its own game:
bring me my
knife, bring
me my machine
for spelling
terrible equations,
bringing the
end to my
Down the barrel,
in the waiting
room, there
is a voice
pointing at me,
saying “you can
write your
story with
you can end

‘Suburban Bardos’ by Walker Storz


This weekend I went shopping at the Hampshire Mall with my mother, getting some groceries and some amenities for my on-campus apartment.  This particular mall is not very special–just a lukewarm iteration of a rural-suburban shopping center, nothing mega–except that due to an accident of geography I grew up going there, while I was visiting schools in the area, and often in between visits to my cousins’ house in suburban Connecticut.  (The mall is right off I-91, which takes us from Northeastern Vermont to a suburb of New Haven).

I always remember being comforted by the ambiences of malls and grocery stores, and loved to accompany my mother while she shopped, so I enjoyed these stops even though we never really ended up buying that much of anything, at least anything fun.  There was one trip that has been flashing through my head recently, triggered by the insomniac lighting and brand-new smells of outlet stores and the misted jungles of produce sections.

I had been having a crisis of faith in the most dull and literal sense, for probably close to an entire year.  As a child I had been obnoxiously, proudly atheist.   But I gradually came to realize the ramifications of a materialist worldview.  I found the universe cold and hard-edged and hated it–hated that I would be annihilated and that everyone I loved would be.  This is the year that I tried really hard to believe in God, almost entirely out of fear and melancholy.  So when we went to visit my cousins–the only practicing Christians or even the only members of any organized religion left in my extended family, I took advantage of their willingness to convert me.  I threw myself so sincerely into going to church that they were at least a tiny bit suspicious, though for the wrong reasons.  This year–the year I turned twelve–was a blur–my grandfather got sick and died, which meant a lot of shuttling down to spend time with our cousins and grandmother, a lot of tight collars and hospitals and time in and around churches and receptions, with lots of comfort food both ideological and literal.  I had lots of chances to dress up and talk to pastors and talk to my cousins about God and church and engage in speculation about the afterlife that in retrospect was almost grotesque–imagining all of our dead relatives meeting and hanging out and becoming friends.

Continue reading “‘Suburban Bardos’ by Walker Storz”

‘Finale’ by Walker Storz


The feeling of his body faltering was hard to describe.  If he tried to describe it he sounded like a hysteric–there were so many sensations that, while naggingly present, had no words to put to them.  Thus the illness that was physical was experienced also as psychosis and dissociation.  Words themselves started to feel like part of the infection.  To reach for them was like desperately trying to find the root of the illness.  He found some that were close to describing a certain sensation but that sensation would take flight too quickly for the leaden words.  My brain feels dry, too dry, like it’s screaming of thirst  he would think, and then the feeling would have changed, as if the words had put it into flight.  Sometimes he would feel a general aggressive malaise in which everything inside him felt sick, as if red and inflamed and hot, but he had no fever.  Other times it would feel like the cells themselves were bursting of this heat, like they had started to bulge of their own weight.  It seemed that nothing could be done.  These were problems for a witch, not for a doctor.  The parade of doctors started to seem like a flock of viciously healthy, normal predators.  They listened and nodded dumbly, constantly, insensate.  Each visage took on a shadow of unknowing, as if the face were composed of plasticine–as everyone knows, a material that words cannot penetrate.

One day when he was far worse than usual, he made his decision.  He had been feeling like he couldn’t breathe, even though he was breathing.  It was as if every individual cell was thirsty for air, their walls crumpling from the lack.  They were all screaming in unison, and to shut them up, he knew what he had to do.  He logged into this chat channel he sometimes frequented.  He knew he had taken up everybody’s time a little too much, and that his request was a little difficult, so the phrasing was important:

I have a request.  I really, really, really need your prayers.  I need you all to pray for me.  It’s not a joke.  I’ve been very difficult and taken up too much time in the past, so now I need to emphasize that this will be the last request I will make of you.  I know that my soul is in peril, that’s all. 

He logged off before he could read any of the responses.

He thought that that was worrying, but as vague as he could make it.  Nobody would call the cops or anything.  His heartbeat quickened as he drew a bath.  What scared him wasn’t death, but the doctrines in which suicide landed one’s soul in hell.  He could not shake this superstition, no matter how hard he tried, and it left a far more morbid stain on the events awaiting him.  They were tainted by something nastier than tragedy, from the start.

He stripped quickly and pragmatically, his breathing growing hungrier by the minute.  The screaming cells were growing louder, but now they felt almost like good company.  They would be with him until the last.

He submerged himself into the painfully hot water, thinking that this stimuli would take his mind off the pain of the cutting.  He lay back and purposefully hyperventilated deeply–he had been taught to do this before lifting weights, a way to pump himself up.  The pack of razors was on the side of the bath, already opened, along with a sharp hunting knife, as a backup.  The thing was to be done in one gesture.

Slicing open the underside of his arms was simultaneously easier and more painful than he had expected, so much so that he couldn’t suppress a loud yelp.  The yield of blood was plentiful, bursting like ambergris from a fetid stomach.   He started to relax, and felt better already, too relaxed, already high.  Words started to escape him, and his chest heaved less and less frequently.  Suddenly a tear dropped out of the corner of his eye.  All of his life now appeared in retrospect as a massive, bloated waste, which could have been salvaged, but it was too late.  Black and red spots were occluding large portions of his visual field, they shimmered and seemed to circle him like scavengers.  As words and will dissolved, as he was starting to lose himself to what was calling him, he struggled to hold onto one thought as an anchor, as if this thought could burn itself onto the wall, could make him tangible and therefore immortal.  Losing his words, he thought, was exactly the same as losing his breath.