Apartment Poetry Quarterly

8A              8B              8C              8D              8E              8F


8C Jake Syersak






“The ability to distinguish between home & hive is relative to how the thing stings,” you told me, eyes glued to Un Chien Andalou. I had to strip myself like a screw does, down to its eccentric critique of centrality, before I finally understood. But even if one’s a nuisance & the other’s insurance, a glove turned inside-out still fits like a glove, I answered. As if a swarm could disavow its eventual swerve into a pause, I realized we’d punctuated ourselves into ellipses, & so punctured legitimacy, like a constellation of stars disappears a “the stars.” & so I set my sights on the truer task ahead: tearing out the real from what’s ethereal.


                                moon-up, &
the bayou’s tendril-light
uproots some
cut-scenes to un-
reel, to
                      no sound.

there is no color, either. only whatever itch
                                of bright through film-
             negative wills, welds, wields.


In light of the question at hand, I had the look on my face, I’m sure, of untethered contortions, of aerial roots, of a paper clip hung from aether, of a radio without its listener, of what clings & thus evokes a living through suspension. This both drew & grew your attention, & in turning so, to said roots, you asked what projection wasn’t the ingestion of the present’s erosions? & it struck me that, if this was true, what points I thought were lacking was just the slack we were slugging one self along.


                      south Lake Washington:
                                              a drizzle of

dismantles the style of a lakeside neo-

colonial bungalow, little-by

                                                                 & lugs it
                    across the water, like a laugh, a conversation, built of
wave after
          wave of
interruptions. “Let me recite
what history teaches.



History teaches.” if
it’s true we’re bound to laugh

through this world, we’re bound to laugh
the way
a chainsaw is.


I told you even the very air seems to rev, sometimes, swerving my elastic nerves into awareness of my composition: of tiny never-the-less-es, collected, which come apart only to come together again. Your reply was that trying to read me was like trying to read Plutarch’s Life of Theseus from a sailing ship made of papier-mâché. When I couldn’t sleep that night, you told me to listen to the sounds drifting in from the window, outside: “try to pull the crickets’ legs from the squealing of train rails.” Sleep perforated me like tissue in the rain.



          —thirsted up, rack & pinion
from bed sheets, glaciered
thick, twice-over with night-sweats,
        can hear your dreams whirr
                          & grind their gears against

your voices: scuffs of “I have thought…

that the


makes the same noise…



…differently.” sleep-talk engineers
its little library of the day,
just so:

              pilfers you, misquotes
                                           you, to archive you,

to sound you out.


                                         your rickety old story of
the stowaway in the city’s town hall, the one who reads studiously
over the dry-erase boards,

each night,

& re-illustrates the maps
on his way out.

what’s there is where the taking is.



                       lost on the corner of Bel Air & Merlins.

                                                                high noon. turning the corner
                           into this flatiron building’s façade, freshly-painted robin’s-egg-

                     blue, peels
                             this, that
as if from air.



3 SHADOWTIME         |          noun.         |         [ borrowed from the Siouxsie & The Banshees’ song of the same name ] A parallel timescale that lurks alongside—haunts, so to speak—one’s day-to-day experience of regular time. While performing daily functions, one may experience the feeling of living in two different temporal scales simultaneously, though only able to exert agency in one. Although shadowtime is omnipresent, one is only conscious of it in sudden bursts. For example, a mother preparing a meal for their 7-year-old child may suddenly realize that an endemic flower that had evolved & flourished for over 42.7 million years has become endangered within their child’s lifetime. In this way, shadowtime signals the very real possibility that the near future will be drastically different from the past. However, it also suggests that these temporal zones are intertwined, that their distinction from one another is largely superficial, that human agency effected in one will have deleterious or regenerative effects upon the other. It is not uncommon for a chucsol or moment of tralfamidorification to spur recognition of shadowtime. [ cf. CHUCO헐SOL, EPOQUETUDE ]



the phrase, “automated…

  slips out of your

              & glues its blacksticity to me
                                                                    like a soliloquy
                                                                                                  of broken teeth.


Later, the phrase “automated financial orbits” crystallizes into “autonomous flying microrobots,” as you tell me how you’ve heard a group of scientists has intervened to solve the plausibility of colony collapse disorder—not with intervention, but invention of the Harvard Robobee: a pollinator’s pivot-point toward a post-pollinator world. It was inevitable, I said, that the market’s hand would invent itself into an invisible future. This was partly wordplay, & you were right to say that my rearranging characters wouldn’t insert real eyes into interiors, wrong to assume it wouldn’t realize ulteriors.




summer’s eve. rain-shred. this really is a mood, maybe:
heat-cracked sidewalks,
sidewalks like a split, dry jackfruit on your counter.

two kids wrestling on the seafoam-colored porch
loosen up the creaks.


a gnarled pine along the house’s aft
drops gnarled April cones

into gnarled February grass. soft-hung, like curses over wet lips,
or Christmas.


Trying to remedy the situation we’d talked ourselves into, I told you the more we merely amplify what’s human, the more we humanize what’s amplified, mirror-ly. As if what I had said was no more than a mess of cobwebs to wave aside, you would only accept this worst-case-scenario as us-in-stereo as static, static you could trace back to its speaker, argue down to a point you could center (& so cut away from), to recite what exception accepts: to acception excepts: axeption. “Where the bee sucks, there suck I.” The end of a dead end, wrung tightly out like a winding staircase’s ascension won’t double back toward its original home, to lengthen. New drone, then; new moan, then; same syndrome, then.



ambulance sirens arch
& intertwine

with a coyote’s distant yowl

& I swallow my own


like a bellyful of wolves.


the worst of all howls have no appetite.

I think we are all

in our being collectively

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Author’s note: This poem borrows the title term—“Shadowtime”— and portions of its subsequent definition from The Bureau of Linguistical Reality (bureauoflinguisticalreality.com), a project to which my own is greatly indebted.


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