Who the self before morning felt for, dream with acts and perfect sushi or an agenda in mind for every conversation, leaving impulse crunched by speak stats and voice graphs—are we to ourselves ever seen?—and chosen tracks for how to graft tact, closure of eyesight in lid-lowered exposures, if we’ll come through each click fixed on gaze or heels or this pretend appeal to our better days as I am a self opening doors, driving on without control of what’s gone, the start of this class’s immersion or a momentary contortion to faith, stretched by intimacy to be a pack of language within bone, negatives zoning the center home, and still a thump runs and quits at our feet, as we will find a life having ended in an alley or avenue, upended by death’s ballet, life in a release and if memory or failure gets here at the last minute in a highlight reel—we are never correctly in reflection—this selection of early sentiment en route to sadness will claim indifference, blood on ground in the knees, as we do not question our timespan until cars flip over in front of us or

gunshots echo in our teeth, death of strangers as invasive arrangements of skepticism and fear, arriving home after class strung out on disbelief and a withering rant on darkness, the spoon stopping halfway to the mouth as it reflects us as nothing like the rest, and from now on to light it all at same time, our judgment and decision and every urge thrown into precision, as we are leaving ourselves either out of or fully in this discussion come comparison—we look like we’re looking like—hair as it once seemed good for comment and now if our next step involves enough skin, heralding patterns between eyes and each twitch in night a sign that distance is making a trail of death, if to deal with the cramps of the past we scrutinize each scrap, each gasp that reminds us of it, cracking days with criticism and steel, afternoon tea and opinions on funding the mind, sleeping rolled up to let our skin feel tight before in a dream it unravels god in the dams of the light.


the self by speak
tracks doors
without language we
in a memory reflect questions
strange string like urge
seems enough
the past cracks
the mind light.

It looks as though temperature stopped being itself, this minute turned over heat—is sleep just clocking out?—through grieving in public the mood we remove before falling back into private breath, recycled emotions like nod, betting on greener lawns for the source of bygones, following strangers into closed hours, respectable in our soft cloth and layered lips, as we spin in a square snapping details into design, walking onto campus to find everyone has stopped getting paid but still hold on by association, departments checking in on majors and tenure, clouds, taking them out of the future shroud by crowd, and the unfamiliar glides here, possessed by pose, confessions for poise in throbbing haircuts and hats with velvet bands blown bland by lecture—we can’t remember—what germinates in temper or stone, slip-touch of rotating feet, that it’s a matter of money or comfort in the start of this politic or love that cans the birdsong and pours it into streets, that lakes clap green over blue

machines of might, this sky versus what we came by prying up hundreds of miles for subject, contagion of locality and blood-lost globalism elbowed out of radios into blots of undone rodeos, and to capture crippling sameness some of us ride in elevators all day examining men in suits and women on phones and one step beyond the first awkward recognition comes the soul—same as it ever was—cut of its own control, a glance that takes a chance on giving cells away, wanting to be the other one, worthy of silence in a patch of violent wonder, all day lost words collecting in lines of teenage foreheads, dirge from the gut to fail in rotting skies, that each student that goes home to hearten the code will also collapse in tropes, exhausted by means, wedged in squares with eternity removing stability from spleen, these limbs spent on stirring up wind and corner, how we land when we first slide out of bed and, if so, by each hour will we ever get ahead.


minutes grieve hours
our association clouds
remembers streets
subjects blood to
ride on a glance
of silence
words that code
in squares
the hour

A thing itself, decision creeps up and leans us against walls, behind sunglasses, these time-blasted ovals of observation, the constant undertaking of pros and cons—does middle abscond?—how to get on spilling all our world out in split-second yawns and wreaths of sleep, if suffering is light and with the pangs of finance teachers are better off here with students than with their art strangled by stress and time or no, is this all not just cushion for when need beetles in wanting our books turned inside out, how gone the decades are with little to show for how we first rowed out here, beyond tradition, our arms numbed by trend and reach keeping us just outside of an end, and we see something inside of this crowd that drowns the recognition of self, perhaps the realer we, that something inside each of us that becomes an us, listening as those around us carry out conversations we’ve just been having in our head—I am between the between—measuring the hearts of mares in fields or attending anniversaries at stadiums full of

drowned sound, consistent estrangement of animal pass and the slipshod glance of occupied quads, how trapped a body is in suit or the certainties tumbling out of emotion for consistency, as backed up are all the ideas if not given words on way to sentencing, these tight jeans of mine or as we’re opening new apartments with sparklers and prosecco before taking on tinier flow, and inside the frame noise competes with nothing as in concrete slats—always in the going—it drives back in pebbles for chance, each contemporary component like frailty, speed, and groupness floored by what we inherit walking up genes into wider discourse, a flighty snow-blown look or a tightness in the chest from sudden sprint or an investment in the vessels of the know, that each time we wander into medium it’s a reminder that we cannot be who we are here without speed or tedium, shoveled into back rooms and couplets, rubbed senseless by domes of pale light, gripped by retiring love.


leaning the constant teach
students turn numb
drown inside
the between
how a suit opens
tiny concrete groups
sprinting in the medium
shoveled by love

Tonight another pour and no wonders why, slideshows rummaging through us—is each sip a slip from unknowns?—and on by toward commentaries on the failure of suburbs, suicides of comedians, and connecting with a partner without need to play game or system, just as this day is scrolling through clouds looking for a slimmer shirt or salt with soft dark chocolate, routine of need and sudden urges between, schools that will start focused on genre or what we don’t label as we casually rub against topic, dripping from gutters or is it just fridges making ice for the post-udder, as around information we are loosened by subtlety into concentration of fact and reaction, rippled for canon and concrete narratives about infidelity—take in, take out—the hardship strung behind belts and chic grips on the wear, bending down in a walk to obliterate presumption and disappear after a long evening drive into stocks and handbags, compulsion to

turn around and burn place, nudge and budge of the misplaced, fated to jiggle inside fetish and diplomacy, a cooling top of mid-term heads for sun and prolix to tread on while asking nonsense out for the day, and so we press uniform and splash bars and blotch injurious and spine blocks as they knock off for light in the rye, these chancellors of the move anesthetizing idle minds, bawdy chromosomes or caught-up forms for intent, dialing out for a finish to all ends this classroom note, riots on radio and schools stunned like docks in ice, paddling out to where damage stops, as it is to remain without a frame in proceeding for worldwide glow a seminal glitch, if we can stick anything of ourselves into underpass without trains crushing us out of time’s tracks.


another suicide
with routine
genre ices
the canon behind
place heads for bars
forming a finish
without time

Concerning form, get back into what we came here for, process as practice of production for form and the sleek horn of truth protruding scene, operation, taxonomy of situated skill sets—are you hitting the how or the what?—and the cadre of work-clerked minds, clamping ties down or winding eyes up to escape conversation or rations of the workplace, how to remain locally content until that bus comes through town to the campus and knocks down its sound, no more fist pumps in the forever loss of learning how to be, outside ourselves, an empathy of the American hour, night dangling off hooks to where reeds slum thin and golden on dead-end urban need, wanting to rise up between vanishing winds and say yes, I am somebody, and seeing as though the quirks of rain return from having slain and shirked another distant air, I rush my back up against the chalkboard and twist history intact, a crack in petal—pictures are not holes—that stems light to the dragging patterns of pathos,

missing youth in sympathy as we step in streets to complete nowhere discreetly, its unfinished touch scrubbing fact into hot dish, what I will teach about genre when funds run out and I am an inconsistent self, or we climb onto one another’s backs trying to curb racial slack, one step into the fuller dream, miles away from truth, and so this morning returns to me through thrush and simper, highlighted sidebar and a theory that I remember passing out as both fool and as favor to my undoing(s), faith in the theatrics of each campaign we run—I don’t remember what became within—keeping our words turned up for collar and remonstration, deprived of routine so that we’re left wondering again who we really are and then of course what to do about us all, generality of faith, hand-slapped by reason, what keeps us dangling in pixels, a silk lie with one head waving out as an endless aside, turning off solo, hanging in the breeze for groupness.


process operates
winding local sound
the American winds
return history in streets
I am or we are
sidebar favors
keeping general
reason turning

Where protests begin we tell the quiet microphones to stop forgetting how lost we all are here, dragging our bodies through sit and toke, that what our presence says is that there’s not much more to save this world from, grave thin walls in mid-sized cities blown up by American hours, another location unknown—is the chorus ever for us?—or asking students to diagram their visual literacies to include weather and confusion, a door locked on promise or was the way we occupied one another just prevention, tissues of admittance, a procession that recedes at its progression, as autumn ignites thinning, serenading distant bodies, waiting for us to clock into the release of info and live, and who the team is behind our republic self, that’s the ticket, slot-machine eyes and bovine-roving reprieve, autumnal apples bundled up in pie, this here need for sleep and short stories frozen to the sides of dreams, getting real then leaving light on a picket—most of them are not us—in a crunch, down for up, as our values reorganize classrooms and newfound zooms on

look, to plod appraisal that calls for more work but keeps students raised in frames for definition, sun-bowing lips or canonical eyes, that we can campaign for the democracy we’ve forgotten about while breathing transit and apparel, countries that dunk themselves under glimpse, and still gather in a room for funeral or exhibit, city as it inhibits self-worth and how we revisit ourselves in mirrors for wider births, our state of mind and geography always a correspondent full of snippets, urge-sprung delegates, plain jeans we can mean—in all instruments the storage—more for without our matter, just a direction already known toward parties being thrown, our backyard or the tiny fire of debate along cigarettes, empty bottles full of release and how that sits in our stream dangling supreme for nerves or problems, if it would be better now to have some kin and settle into origin and source, sans discourse, or make fast to excel as the self beyond self, beyond all else, beyond.


stop bodies
in cities
students occupy
clocks behind sleep
dreams value definition
that we glimpse worth
in geography the storage
of empty problems
and source.

From now on shorten breath or the take, a line caught in the middle with care to examine, trading at rank, swanky in chime, to be good or—what compresses between connect?—golden or go-getting, primed, as this body softens to lengthen, to seek out more anomalies and ask why, how come, wherefrom with that race card, that rusty badge, as I am dealing here and now with an assortment of wired voices, in daytime where they ask out of binaries, afflictions, making brief pleasings, as we can only laugh about this and be refined to bring track to it, clamor or glamor, having left the city to then ask what of continuance without density, to return for theatre or emblem along in a field, on stage to where story is remembered by change as it happens in flag, un-happening, grappled with then dragged through us in states, as nobody will park here anyway with large blocks and sample clocks for the gavel team—each unnecessary huff each second puff—and it’s not enough to think ourselves awake if we’re not going to stay, in all this latent falling-back-into, where’s nothing left in a dream

to fondle or inherit, as some see the sky open and some comb it closed, wanting to bank a shot in, that today we will come to terms with imperfect minds and still route the bend, nearby stadiums jumbled with flash and snap, flesh and stump, so let us be smaller in the middle of a lecture and expand as an end arrives and parades begin with pictures, what seems as what never really is, making implicit explicit as I mention domestic struggle and cultures coalescing—a purple rise of life left—as this conversation starts off with structure, body, and then focu, bodies, and then the minor loss of points, all I can handle crafting larger kegs for restless dregs, and so we abide by what is left here or circulate previous algorithms until fix floats us past question, our instruments as we open windows for sky and all we claim to die for, second rounds and drop-down menus, hometown flags disarmed by the city’s distant harmony.


to examine connection
to seek out voice
we refine the city
where nobody clocks awake
fondling the bend
the middle picture
starts with restless fix
windows we die by

Smoking another stick back while thinking it all through, how we’ve come without need to discard and flip ourselves over, dress tied at shoulders, movie returning us to youth—what of the scant remains?—car rides through beauty and cinema, what it is to suggest anything other than the continuous, as I used to wait until part of the waterfall froze and stand atop the rushing over, at the bottom, bottoming out, fleeing routine each day to undo a known thing, no doors near, none of this heft to choice at but instead float for, arms retrieving pebbles and ceremony, coffee that did not flourish, food making dreams dive from composure to rib-toned catastrophes of light, and I was impatient to be followed into suits, wanting to turn around and say yes, I’d like to be you with the acts or the class glance, to document what I’ve demolished without trace—to remember is to remain—foot shadows and vanquishing, sight slipped into snap, if someone can take up my voice where I no longer live and dive the gone, drain night, questions as they always end up putting more forth, as I keep wandering into

stoplights nude with my hands up, strumming sidewalks for the lifetime touch, and if the hours I’m told we’ll grow old from stir our day beyond random horrors, that’s the query, shooting deer looks or hoisting fish out of the rear rookery, as this is not to say ideas don’t continue past language, only that they wrap audience with heart in order to pump the sun senseless, and how different a length of decades lived versus years to come, like the back of a dress open to an avenue while the wing slides a treetop, potential lines we stuff our minds with thinking an hour out—scarves as slant as send—pattern of culture that begins with shop windows shattered and burned over railroads, ancestry depleted by individualism, to walk as to bend out from borrowed lights of the past and even in dark to not go back, as I control myself out of a city in blocks like this, contained to hilltop cells, rummaging self as when the sidewalk ends so do the breaths of a friend, as it is to step up as a stepping out, to meet yourself miles away from doubt.


through ourselves
the continuous fleeing choice
and light with someone gone
with hands our random audience
in years of an hour
from borrowed pasts
breathe to yourself

As another passerby she’s been gone for the whole consideration, between pills and meetings, getting on aside grieving and worry, clipped from another latch where politics get snatched up by virus—what of each moment haven’t you taken in?—these children that are not ours but who power down avenues asking for small facts below large buildings, contracting into adults, a headache always the result of something burrowing between breath and release, that she’s on her way to fill up time in a way she can forget about herself through past, she as anyone we’ve felt for, this chore and circumstance of fitting, and then to contextualize what of the color-blocked histories we smash open in order to study ourselves, getting out of cars lodged in motorcades, crowds getting louder as each racism will only subside when immersion in one’s failures is given full stride—we would have fallen in pathos—in the taxi and to the east on a subway and to the west I confess I am used to dealing not only with my bones, skin within a drink the one hand or the puff of two fingers, midnight diatribes about not voting or not listening to

jutting chins define a source for such discourse, the dials turned down on way to betterment, but also resistance by this admittance that I come from slight steps of place into a wider place, morning like the last flown body outside my window a pass, wishing to whoosh with purpose and lean before look, and so memory consists of how fresh the city first felt on the edge of our skin—each face an American hour—to be young and outrageous and not fade into fad or contagion, simple leaping hearts or art in our hand through book, to ask what of the museums we have scrutinized, as we travel so do details of the past and we’re tricked by this fact and distance into thinking we cannot go back to just students, to home or town or feelings that come around to remind us we strum from place, booted by trace-back, not forward, which is where the scrimmage between family and self begins and yes, turn it off when you’re done please, try light again where it begins and fold yourself slowly back within.


gone for each moment
these avenues contract release
this chore of crowds
striding in bone votes
sourcing place
outside an hour
fading facts
students where
self begins within

You or I or we become something tipping dials in mirror-removed booths of uncollected miles, world counted out in front of us, to pause and check in—are they still there when we are still here?—hurrying grain into posture, marble into floor plan, the party preparing a disclaimer about an overdose, roof jump, or the ugliness of everyone lit up out of control, as it is hard to see yourself look insane from the face of a stranger, to be an acquaintance between love and acknowledgement, a slipping pain we send ourselves into, that his name is her name is hi, I’m a name, that tonight we will almost go home with another body but part ways right when the moon pecks lights out of the high-rise, and what a minor celebration the world has stopped becoming, sold on itself to repeat in small defeats like secret and insinuation—nobody is between—and of course there is always a park or a thousand little nightmares to covet in the dark, romance in soft packs, air as it ought to strike back flawless in a sack of straw crows, and then so many distresses, curled along investments like group-work and pressure, benches that trace our shape

and let wind steal it to recreate us in waves, all of this quick-step appointment and petitioned paneling, to ask what of image is instinct, what of student is instructor, a bus picking kids up again and dropping them off in forests, and concerning feeling, somebody’s got more than we need here, drenched senseless in sunshine and skin clenched by an aftermath of sloe gin—being behind in time is not being behind in mind—and how to speak of the decades we never traversed, that bathing suits ruin the understanding youth could make of touch-world, hung up in swim slips, as today I will drive down to the cloudy part of a pasture, hang my life upside down in grass, or chide memory by punching a tree out of place, that it is raining where the world creeps in on a grin, colors gone damp and thin for flourish, between branches a dry slant of chance or a reach for lungs to get on back to change, how to breathe better when we’re always moving untoward.


dials in grains
the jump of control
we send a name
out the high-rise
repeating soft flaws
that trace waves
what instructor
concerns in mind
hanging grass
on a color
one back.

This afternoon, her prescriptions filled, cities begin to rekindle—what was lost in this brief, or has it been long, exhaustion?— friends getting married in botanical gardens or coffee shops with cemented flower pots full of grounds, this idea we have about a new small company, that memory happened to longer happen, that it will grow with ideas and not money, the second time around a parody of the first, love-torn by abundance and timing, leaving a class for a home for what gets us by regardless of being alone, and then what was it we wanted at sixteen or when caught crawling out of a fever dream into pen, to keep awaking in sweat and heavy remainders of blood not yet let, as I’ve been too old about remaining in such rooms of youth, missing all the while the obligation of the forward, knobs that click from the past into brass-rubbed hours of the present, and so some of us release the leave or leave from releasing light each time we give in for a moment, that we don’t need another musical erasure or the world up on its many no-no’s—always what wasn’t—as this genre can survive in new hair-do’s and fainting beliefs, which sin is left

howling when other characters begin to take over, and since it is always about ourselves, then of course what has already been written seems behind us, and if we don’t get better as a people then what’s ahead of us will do no good, having gone westward how I am now in the east counting the sky out of name, keeping a phone that don’t ring, sweaters without bodies as we pop up floorless into hourly gluttons, and with dreams tied back we’re no longer just seen, small publication or someone stage left or the principles of bugs or early morning generations of the interested ones, in shadows the hollow colliding of light, night fighting against future or its dismissal from chance, as we’re told not to bring our remnants of locality to this regional community of learning, shaking it up for who agreed to produce us with dignity, packing into view or a body called aftermath, that we get it or get after it, hurling glow of another, the possible she, tangled up in crash, as this not a question, breathing while moving forward.


cities with flowers
this idea of abundant
homes caught missing
the past
or leaving another belief
about ourselves
people keep hourly principles
in hollow remnants
to produce
another breath

Looking back, where did absurdity slip out for reality, become a headless mannequin tossing hours at children, if postmodernism is present or taking half of the time out, looking up at the high-rise of dying in the lowness of its hold, as we could be away from job or position, on flowers perseverating cures, this afternoon and new styles of light that involve orbiting dust while absorbing the better minute, petals thrashed in suds, on a porch where I corner sunset so that its gullet whittles out the last slant, the flush drop

of a target mid pond, of a sentence, popped out of the hours, as it is hard to return to our minds if we’re not still burning inside of all the bodies behind and in front of us, the machine or the pulp recognition has in nominating its grievances by seconds and plains, the American story beginning from where we’ve been judged already, crawling night down from a window to include us as breaths that do not need to be the same as any others.


the high-rise
holds the minute
corners the hour
the bodies
by seconds
include others

For more information about this piece, see this issue's legend.

Tyler Flynn Dorholt lives in Syracuse, NY with his wife and son. His most recent books include American Flowers (Dock Street Press, 2016) and Side Cars and Road Sides (Greying Ghost, 2017). He co-edits and publishes the press and journal Tammy.

Barry Park, Syracuse

All of the American Hours were written near Barry Park, a small park lodged in the middle of many Syracuse neighborhoods. The park itself is not much, at least in terms of size and allure. Basic fields for youth soccer and baseball, a playground with more than one swing, unused tennis courts. But a small pond sits at the edge of the park and is shrouded by its own mystique. Gurgles from a tropical bird or two rumored to have relocated from the Prospect Park Zoo. A solo heron reigns over certain patches. All of this is to say that the park succeeds in creating a mental escape and thus opens new avenues for contemplation. It was one of the first areas I frequented after leaving a big city and thus it became a focal point for thinking about the differences between city and nature.