N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 3 :   S p e c i a l   E d i t i o n

L o n g   P o e m   M a s t e r p i e c e s   o f   t h e   P o s t b e a t s





Caitlan Mitchell



From The Vacant Stillness



of late august

in maryland

i’ve been long ago far away


follied down a well

after false premonitions

of foggy discontent



& beaten


brown as mulch

on the shaded concrete


a boy asleep

on the bench next to me


how long has he been here?

before i interrupted his space

like a trumpet crooned

child laughter

out of a fourth story rafter

in the middle of the day


i was left addled

and paid for

on the front porch swing


shucking oysters & idling

a billy-goat in the dandelions

roaring in the garden


the yawning ardent want of wandering to wild

this earth             is wild

no matter how many highways we wend across it

how many miles we surpass rain on semi-trucks


i’ve been long ago far away

as ranch cattle staid

on the wyoming prairie

that begs to be a desert


to be freed

of the cud

& the chewing

& the spitting rails

& the rank spittoons out of old beer cans


skunked radishes

in scarlet’s garden


the iron swelling

of the arab spring


bowled over



in the belly of late august

the vacant stillness


of waiting for fall to furrow its brow

over a dusty stack of textbooks

browned at the edges

& in rings from black coffee

remind me


of when academics sat

in smoky wooden lecture halls

& took themselves seriously as a yellow legal pad

scratched over racingly in dogged precipitation of waltered suprension


and we

the masturbating library fiends


are at it again

sneaking up behind quiet

suspecting young women in white make-up

laced tight in the night as bourgeoisie buggles that break

under lightning in an eye-dropper


early morning deemsters

like pancakes & bacon


are worth waking for

when your body is aching for more

than what it got the night before

with some loose cannon rooster

strut-slutting cock-lockety across the street

in an abbey road daydream


on a monday afternoon

in the hot attic room

dropping grizzly b-more believe drones

the re-verb static moans

falsetto scratch-back tones make me geek out


like i’m red lean buffalo meat

sold pre-packaged saran-wrapped with coleslaw packets

all sting


like the back-snapping pains

of illegals


their homes

all ramshackle adobe in the red hillside


has eyes

& has steps carved of dried blood


from cracked man hands

& old mother birth wounds


are black ink

blotched all over

my clean white hands

like childhood arthritis

like patella-femoral stress syndrome

E.T. phone home—earth to author earth to author


can we cut it out please

with all the earth-to’s?


who ever said i want to come down

from my head in the clouds?

so long as my feet are on the ground

i think i’m doing okay lately


i’ve been lolling about milling

& walt swoops down & accuses me

complains of my gab & my loitering

my cloistering of cloth garden rose dis-symetry

my          finicking-trinksing

soft-staking love-making

in the hollow drum belly of djembe night in late august

humidly settled down

& blowing on tea


we take our time

about delving the old mines


left abandoned mid-19th century

the homestead act


would give you 160 acres

and a mule

for the worst hard time

is the same as this one


but now we are here to bear bull run

dressed in fine linens


but wiltered by noon

is like an oven already—




[Used by permission of the author.]




Caitlan Mitchell is an MFA student at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, having earned her BA from the University of Maryland in 2011. She has been published in the 2012 Naropa Summer Writing Progam Magazine, and is co-editor of The Love Shovel Review, a literary magazine based out of Nederland, Colorado. Caitlan is currently working on a novel-length lyric myth which she plans to self-publish in 2014.