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You cannot escape God.

I click a fishy link
spend three days worrying
over which government trackers have tied me
to its unsavory content before
some new terror creeps in.

My all-knowing feed keeps telling me my teeth are fucked.
Yes, I never wore my retainer. Yes, everything
shifts back to its crooked norm. I click. Yes.

You cannot escape God.

A woman says this in Florida.
Preaching about the 5G demons
taking our temperature. It’s America.
Knowing the mask.
I’m going to say that again.

You cannot escape God.

Are you praying to the Devil?
Are you insane? Are you crazy?*

We are each entitled (it’s America)
to our facts, fracturing
any real world — it’s America, all
technology holding strings,
pulling ontology.

Yes, everything changes. (Not us.)
Yes, we all still want something to blame.

I click plastic into my mouth,
tell myself it’s okay if it hurts.
My teeth are moving.
I’m taking control.

*Transcribed excerpts from video of the Palm Beach Commissioners Workshop county council meeting held on June 24, 2020.


Church Dream

“What window overlooking what secret of god am I confronting against my will?”
— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Mid-summer I watch the church out my fourth-floor window in the new build emptying
first its pews and lecterns into the side yard the priest in his black vestments
and sunglasses overseeing the hollowing-out walking wounded wood from worship
halls and I too want to empty myself of what I used to praise
The churchyard once was full with a tall old evergreen whose tip reached my floor
until one recent morning when with a screaming buzz I awoke to the fall
of what once looked perfectly sturdy and sensible and the patches of ground there also
laid barren now where grass should be it had all been pulled now shamelessly showing
raked brown dust now being covered in the detritus of former reverence now
contemplated upon by the sunglassed priest and me in my place of remove
If I take some inspiration take my insides out reach in to make room does it look more Videodrome
than masturbation would I feel the writhing forms of former crushes crushed in my seeking hands
or feel the pointed kick of ex’s boot lodged in my thumb like a splinter I watch the priest
watching the husk of his church I imagine wondering how one replaces the holy
and with a little work can I too wake hallowed and waiting to be filled


This Certainly is the Cup of the King of Kings

Birth canal hallway into the club and already the gaseous ice is owing
to nostril, a rolling fog warning that it’s time to gather yourself
in your shoulders, pump your heart so full of disdain
it drips from your red lips in a snarl; maybe this is how it is:
some of us are better when angry (and not often enough).

Here, later, John will touch me on a dance oor and I will elate into a hungry ego;
just one way I overcompensate for damage he’s done in private rooms.
I’ve always chosen poorly; in lms the ghostly grail knight would admonish
my picking the ornate, the pretty, the god with the gold vampire grill
and bad-good fashion and the blue hair peacocking, so obvious
with his own name tattooed over his heart.
When I tell the little god over text that I’m crying he says
I used to cry myself to sleep every night, so I fail to see what makes you so special.
I laugh so hard and keep going. What does it matter

which self-important godling tried to talk to you about Adam Curtis
or subsequently read you Brautigan on the overground platform, I admit I’ve been an easy
convert, swiping in a new class to pray to; a parade of idols and the posing in here’s so hard
it’s all right angles; in the dark I’m groping for a softer edge to worship
leaving my lips stained upon yerba mate bottle, polluted with spirit
I’m no dierent, but looking for a better way than this to choose a pantheon.

I’ve seen the silver screen idolator disintegrate and I know the false gods
are the hardest ones to leave. It becomes boring to count the ways
they have failed me. When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens.


Rooms Where I’ve Worshiped

I: Banned in DC*

All these ghosts crowding up the background.
There’s a house in the capitol of another country
where I spent many mornings admiring the black ink
in rose-thorned-stemmed-line stretching across the back
of the only living goth in DC, staring at a crumbling ceiling
in a Victorian row house tower, disrepaired and rent-controlled
from days when H.R. or Ian wandered the bureaucratic streets
between the counterculture and the establishment, holed in the tower
with the last straight-edge hold-out, watching the bottled black hair spilling
over sleeping shoulders, hearing the bang of radiator or the creaking
house settling like I’ll not settle, here, waiting on the peel of the veneer
of romantic ritual plastered over the bubbled paint, likewise unsettled or settled
incorrectly counting on the reassuring discomfort in the 4 a.m. awake
clowning up my insobriety for straight amusement’s sake, watch me
dance on the peeling paint, never let me rest into my idle hands
and I’ll keep on with my drunken hymn of praise.

II: Let’s Get Rid of New York**

Three-thousand miles away from the present I’m still

on the lease in the place where it happened, when it wasn’t happening
in the streets or in the windowless moth-eaten studio illegal, on the lease
with the walls stained with—of all things—kombucha from a shove or slapped
out of hand, where a rebound’s needles crowded up a bathroom or where
the cellist came over into my den of
the walls pink, then blue, I’m still on the lease where I laid still and let it happen
when it was better than being alone, I’m still on the lease from afar, I’m still.
*Banned in DC Appeared on the first album by Bad Brains. Bad Brains formed in Washington, DC in 1977
**Let’s Get Rid of New York is the 1977 b-side on the only official release by The Randoms, ABCD.


True Nonbelievers

rideshare to the brooklyn shaman who is meant to save this relationship
our journey part of what larger god’s all-seeing customer profiling, make my birth
chart with the facial-recognition data you’ve gathered in the filter that cuts-and-pastes
me into Jesus’s arms. phrenological horoscope, I’ve filtered my ruin, predict
my future in your sales funnel, stop targeting me with the property for sale,
that’s not my star-sign, it’s your pre-crime. even if I succeed I’ll be poor,
what lead liaison brackets my existence with a full-service necromancy.
let me be a dead poet, it’s too hard to don back the mask; too hard to act
out in business casual. stop. the camgirl deskilling, let them live. your blue
checks aren’t needed here. the future cannot hold, but it does thriving
in the grey unknown, the scarce wet flesh, wetware planned to be obsolete
in this decade, losing its sway to the feed and I remain hungry, reloading a stream.

the smaller god I’ve carved for myself is lost to his phone in the backseat I put
paper under my tongue and later see a pixelated devil in the shadows of a palm tree
projected into the red light on my ceiling, showing my mind an illusion of evil,
it makes me laugh. we’re far too old to be this far fucked up. I listen to the pop-
punk lamenting the ethos. the things I want to communicate are subject
suspect to your experience. do you feel me? breaking the fourth wall I want the touch
of wet dog hair in my nostrils, I want the smell of you tactile, your scent in my ears
like the sound of alright my love waiting in line for something mundane.
I won’t exalt you past my firmament. I don’t do that anymore.





Sharon Sloane Mariem is an American poet currently living in England. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in several online and print magazines, including Peach Mag, Witch Craft, MID LVL, and the Nottingham Horror Collective. Sharon was a finalist in the 2022 BOMB Magazine poetry contest and her poetry was also commended in the 2019 Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition. She is particularly interested in documentary poetry and verse that explores and critiques technology, capitalism, and mechanisms of control. She holds an MA in creative writing and, oddly enough, an MBA.