Mark Kuhar


the blueprint for a whirling tourniquet

i planned this well, this emergency
my response to imagery, beauty
the cravings of midnight, a
basket of flowers set on yer
doorstep in moments of high
voltage. i have the cure for
your illness, the anecdote in
red wispy whispers, bluish
liquid. i am immunization
in strange languages & false
passports, a master of disguise
when i shake your hand you
notice my hand, never the
hailstorm of my eyes. i look
at you like i might own you
by sundown, you know the look.
one eyebrow raised, half-smile,
yes doctor it's good to see you
again. why do i always need to
see you pure & naked? why
is it so easy to find out? I have
plans, baby, the blueprint for a
whirling tourniquet & when i
twist it onto your arm to save
your life, you'll know just what
was saved, exactly what you owe,
which door we'll leave through
on the way to where we're going


the royal order of the stoned locomotive

t-rex lines up a few more rails of coke,
huffs them home & right at that moment
a train whistle wails & we hear the beast
rip its way along the railroad track that
runs past the apartment building. t-rex
in his loaded stupor dreams up a plan
to place pennies & nickles on the tracks
& see how crazy they look after the next
train runs over them. for some reason
this sounds like a great idea, we run
outside & line up coins, leave them
for the next freight train to turn into art.
bright sunshine, cold beer, the allman
brothers playing an extended jam on
the stereo, we hear the frosty whistle
again. everyone rushes outside & waits
for the train to fly by. we find the coins
& they're flattened, distorted, scratched
& twisted, much like our state of mind,
& t-rex spends an hour punching holes
in them, stringing them on leather cord,
tying them around our necks, inducting
each of us into the royal order of the
stoned locomotive. i finger the mauled
coin around my neck, speak to dee in
words that sound czechoslovakian,
start to lose my train of thought, except
for the part where we go back to her
apartment for the night, train whistle
blaring in colors that sound orange
to me, maybe green, like her eyes

a thumbnail sketch from north of the kaleidoscope tree

you said to meet you here, this place
where the sounds ring true & the noise
vanishes with a flick of the wrist, i
came here fer you, fate in transit,
moves like a tai chi pantomine, a
choreographed persistance that comes
with yer red lipped smile, yer tiny
tortures. i can see the road from up
here. i can see the yellow lines where
one shouldn't pass, where i pass
anyway, the flumes of volcano breath
that grease the horizon beyond the
fields of goldenrod & poppies, patches
of cattails & wisteria vines wrapped
around trees like yer stretched legs.
i don't hear yer voice, but i know yer
echo, bouncing around canyon bolders
like a stray bullet. are you setting me
up, playing me like a violin at midnight?
i can be had for a price, thirty pieces
of silver, a box of claw hammers, the
sixth of the five great lakes. do you
want to explain yerself at all? behind
those sunglasses, are yer eyes still
vampire black? baby yer naked skin
glows with a shark sheen, i want
no part of this right now. you're not
going to show are you? leaving me here
to converse with you, play yer part,
haul yer freight, draw a thumbnail
sketch from north of the kaleidoscope
tree. sunset is coming baby & i don't
have a clue which way is back home
i can't even spell the nail of yer name

junk angel of the evaporating night

baby why you wanna do yerself
like this, hot horse wired at
three o'clock a.m. in some
deadly all-nighter, e49th
& elizabeth st., eyes wavering
like cherry bombs, fingers
drum drum drumming on
the formica in a nervous
cadence, low-cut top showing
just enough cleavage to be
dangerous, chainsmoking
one cigarette after another,
telling me about yer mother,
yer boyfriend, yer abortion,
scribbling cartoon cats &
flowers in a stenograhers
notebook & when the jukebox
clatters to life & the song,
i know this much is true, by
spandau ballet comes on,
you break down in silent tears
for no reason i can figure, over
yer shoulder two drunks start
armwrestling on the table,
silverware, clangs to the bare
floor, but you just stare off
into indigo darkness, my junk
angel of the evaporating night,
nowhere to go when you're home