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Adam Tedesco

By September 18th, 2020No Comments

At the Penitent’s Altar

The cult of memory wants patience. Silence as the new order of falconry takes its mark. Jackals stalking circles around their haul of fresh corpse. Nature. A course of ever blooming orchards. The fruit of which you’ve promised yourself the spoils. A white wormed belly split. The aquifer’s passage to your mouth.

The cult of smiles wants spines for its balustrade. The cult. A church. A ladder into that which is between. Thoughts as if that’s higher. Soft fists of slick and cream. Curried favor. A mouth that opens easily in absence of water.

The cult of patience wants orphaned balloons left waving from gallows. A tongue balanced between truth and not. A knot of knowing not what we have done. The pieces of time within which you feel me. The blood on the trees. My body. The dam.

The cult of eyes wants its bony chapel back. To welcome you. To a rectory. To house. The breathing dead. The walking stones or sticks. Reminders of each poor choice made. A flood of swaying blooms. The confusion of time there. The dance of iris and lily or echo of peregrine shriek.

The cult of time wants a seat at the table. To sit hidden amongst the overgrowth in quiet. Contemplation of each other’s faces. Unmoving. Unspeaking. The learning of language back into its cage. The tide. The rise. The change of day to night. And we. The unsettled into us. And then the other.


The Chain

Two neon butterflies and a patch of double negative
rest on the table where we have our last conversation

Ask me how many times must you make a person
come before they learn to love you fearlessly

A whole lot of nothing leaves the body behind
never forgets the mind is body, the body is mind

How I couldn’t stop laughing under the broken willow
when we buried the dog I dropped in the busy road

My school grays stained with her blood
I refused to get clean

When the myth of self-care rears its head again
I laugh at the pointless math of autoeroticism and time

If I keep eating the poison, if I starve myself long enough
I’ll be able to suck myself to sleep

I have to believe I must believe
how you have your box of worry, I believe

In the needle’s eye, in you, in the cereal on the box
of cereal, with empty hunger for itself

I’d like to be that: Puppet, to know not what I do
Unthinking vessel of water should love and time abide



How one tree chops down another
you want to kill all trees
between the object of your animal
imagining and what keeps you human

The density of time is light
through a tightened loom
piles of dead choking out lilacs

Freedom is knowing
what other people really want
to fuck and kill when they want
to fuck and kill themselves

Power is freedom
from the desire of others
to actualize inner violence
to destroy the world
the way you destroy yourself

Violence is a small flower
you walk by every day
a small flower
made in your image
that you don’t want to look at

What you want is the magic
to find pleasure
in what disgusts you
as it swallows you whole

The magic of freedom
is that even if you refuse
to believe you are what you are
here you are, rotting in its belly





Adam Tedesco is a founding editor of REALITY BEACH, a journal of new poetics. He conducts interviews and analyzes dreams for Drunk In A Midnight Choir. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, Gramma Daily, Funhouse, Fanzine, Fence, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hobart, Powder Keg, and elsewhere. He is the author of several chapbooks, most recently HEART SUTRA, and ABLAZA (Lithic Press).