Ian Davisson

All over me, all over me, my achy muscles look so unclean.

They gather around the same

spots and are untamed,

don’t communicate with each

other, shout out obscenities

to one another, are each

other’s best friends or they

don’t hold one another at night after they

sleep with each other.

I stare at myself, feeling for

my achy muscles. I stare at

my underdeveloped

forearms and skin-hangs

around the jaws. Achy muscles

inside my feet, kept square in my shoes.

Across the pale skin of my flesh, achy muscles

I never knew about keep appearing. Solidifying.

My body is a selection of muscles that have been

underdeveloped, so when they are used, they

propel themselves forward, against the skin

like a spaceship flying into outer space

and other galaxies.

Achy muscles in my arms

achy muscles down the ridges of my back

achy muscles smiling along a ridge of knuckle

ridges of shoulder blades too, and back ridges,

achy muscles dot the i’s of my knees and

torment my ass which has been squashed by car seat

this whole time, achy muscles.

I am a small squishy fat kid to you

I am a slanty eyed fishy cold handed kid

with tiny shoes and a circular face.

I am not beautiful, no, I am a great phony face of a human.

With the achy muscles of my eyes, I used

my achy tongue, and began making a conversation

with myself, concerning myself with myself or

measuring myself using myself.

I wish I had more time to try out

my achy muscles on someone else. I stare

into a mirror on the wall, it tells

me I am a sloth-weighty kid I am a sick

substitute for someone with something more.

Cacophony of achy muscles.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula of achy muscles.

The rim of a sewer in achy muscle.

Achy muscles to my little mouse friends.

I tell the doctor to look deep inside

my achy muscles, and tell me terrible things

about myself, about my bad habits or

physical deterioration or how I don’t measure

up to the qualities of humanity that ensure

prodigious reproduction of the race.

He squared his shoulders, took out a pair of gloves

and asked me if I had ever been

to Dollywood. I was a mascara-faced liar.

I was a tall taunt of a teenagers mistake.

I was the mess in the garage.

Tearing me up inside my achy muscles.

My muscles, short circuiting my brain muscles.

Deleterious muscles, muscles in the dictionary of my short dick.

I kept hunting myself, kept a fragile dictionary to disservice myself, kept

a concealed carry handgun holstered in the flapping crotch of

the disgust I kept to myself.

I am a collection of achy muscles, I respond

only to a series of achy muscles taunting me

and revealing the true man of my muscular form.

I am a halfbaked, wet set of muscles. A fragile cone

on the run down highway of old man muscles.

I am a carfiend rampaging in the hologram distemper of my achy muscles.

Solidified in the cracked insurance salesman of effluvium achy muscles.

This whole time achy muscles, this time

with the belt around my waist, hiking my pants

past my crotch to convey a keen admiration of

other people’s eyesight, my achy muscles.

Dissipate, lift the weights against the pace

of my achy achy muscles.


I took a walk with you in the moonlight.

I read you poetry about the end of the universe

I read you poetry about the end of mankind

I pretended to understand the end of mankind

My eyes prepped to a face like a jaguar cub

I read you a poem I wrote

And then nothing became a new word when the aliens arrived

3000 years in the future as everything became space dust

I was a lonely piece of space dust I looked up toward a star

With my tiny eyes unfocused on its cheerful shiny face

I was like a burned out universe becoming dark and disappearing

But the expanding universe in a gaping grin swallowed me into itself

And then back out into the universe because everything is the universe

I began to doubt unwavering human concepts like size and shape

And God came and looked deep into my eyes with his flashlight goggles

He held a heavy magnifying glass in his hands the size of Bob Dylan

He was a great big white sheeted ghost of a man

I had no sensory relationship to the universe, so he looked at me for one thousand years and I felt nothing

As I floated towards things on the other side of the stars I could see other things too

All along I knew the world was a river

I saw its course like a great toilet feeding itself

I was a body in its course going backwards through the history of sensory perception

Then stepping out into the cold water like stepping into a field or floating in the air

I was moving forward into a place where there was no other side

I was passed out in my great big bed resting on brown pillows half drunk

I was trying to write a paper about things that happened in the 19th century

I was trying to imagine the feelings that other people have during the day

I was trying to count the centuries

I was looking at a book and imagining a great big heated oven

I was walking along a beach like a crab with my back to the sand

I was buried halfway into a mountain watching the clouds hover

I was doing other things when I was supposed to be working

I was listening to cops pull over drunk college students on Clayton Street

I was a letter to my Dad that starts “I’m Dead. This sucks.”

I was a hundred years of sleep in a furry animal body

I was a great big phony with an ugly body planning a suicide for someone else

I was illegally downloaded music that no one remembered to listen to

All the things I thought I could do I realized I couldn't or that it didn't matter

I began to watch television on mute and turn my computer off

I began to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep and then I woke up again and then I went to sleep

I told the world thank you for making me in the image of myself

The world responded gulp gulp gulp

Swallowing itself like some sort of fire

I asked you several questions about the poem I wrote

I asked you to list the main characters and the conflict

You began to cry, excreting rapid exhalations

Like a dog with its head in the ocean

I laughed like a wailing field of corn in a tornado

I began to touch you on your arm and lead you back to the house

The stars above us were hilariously brilliant and dismembering one another


I looked into the crooked hole of a well.

My friend Bob, burying daisies in the earth.

“Hello Bob,” I said, are you cold down there, near the water?”

He told me he was shivering in his boots.

I lowered some clothes in a bucket to him.

He shook his deer antlers at me, “Don’t you understand?

I am unwell, sick.

I will be content to scratch myself in this hot, dark bathhouse.”

So I camped by him, made sure he was ok, well fed.

Kept his food coming in the bucket, lowered blankets too.

Down that silvery decline I gazed at him, his wan eyes,

filling himself up with the grey dirt of the well.

Then there was a great big war in a field,

and the place got full up with sad-eyed soldiers.

I did not want to watch them, their faces, their squabbles

I head one man tear into another with his machete or his gun.

Bob was half buried in the earth at this point

slowly sinking downward like a calm sunrise.

I named all my dogs after you Bob, every one,

and even when one pitched a fit, or had to be put down

I always thought of you grinning, imagined the long face

of yours like a tree stump in a forest by a parking lot.

We are turning into solitary squares of earth, you and me, Bob.

We are being surrounded by the face of AWOL desperation.

We couldn’t make it out of here alive Bob,

without going through the checkout aisle at Wal-Mart and handing over our socks.

They will catch us Bob, even if they bleed to death on the trail.

They will nullify your meaning Bob, your flowers Bob, that trophy of earth

you bury yourself inside.

Near the water, the troops ached forward in their musty suits

dragging dust in plumes and arrowlike pangs towards my nostrils.

Bob had one eye and two nosehairs left in the air.

He winked at me like a clown. He said, wiggling the hairs,

that he was happy I was left out of his descent, as it was becoming

wetter and wetter, and he was sick with itching, mud, and insects.

I could only nod, now that my hands were tied too. I was ready

to face the general’s tribunal, and I was ready to engorge myself

on the punitive arrangement of their societies, and I could even procreate for them,

or show them the heart space of a bullet.

Or even, when the mist of dust fell, I could watch their eyes watch me, and I could tell.

Ian Davisson is an undergrad at the University of Georgia. He wrote this poem about gym class. He has other recent work in places like Juked, the Denver Quarterly, and Shampoo.