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Balwit & Whisenhunt – May 2019

Cullen Whisenhunt and Devon Balwit traded art and words. Cullen shared this image, titled “Crawling Back to Normal,” with Devon:

In response, Devon wrote this poem:

Crawling Back

Last up after three hours, I read
to a near-empty venue.

The embarrassed organizer mollifies:
Those who left early missed the best.

I flinch at this award for showing up,
for hauling unsold books to and fro.

Later, curbside with the drunks,
I watch a man rap

at a restroom door, provoking
curses from within. Sorry,

I was just checking, he apologizes
as it opens. Its occupant excoriates

as he crabwalks his wheelchair
down a whole city block.

His twin, I commando the dusk,
belly grimed with outrage.

I could stand but choose not to.
Here is just right: abasement,

abrasion, visible scars. My objective
eludes me. Low, amidst gunfire,

I reflect in wet asphalt.

* * * * *

Devon shared this poem with Cullen:

Feint & Parry

What begins as whirlwind hits wall. The hot
blood cools. I press myself against you, but
you sleep on. My fingers dance alone. No
matter. They find the suture where brick
meets brick, run roughshod against seam.

In hurricane season, I learn to live without
windows. To cache water. To see snapped
trunks as a wider horizon. Curses blister the
tongue. Better to take each sting as
medicine, joints loosening in the buzz.

Winged Victory, Valkyrie, Night Witch, I fly
without engines in a plane made of balsa. I,
too, am unafraid. Shot down, I plume red
against trenches.

In response, Cullen made this image, titled “Snapped Trunks, Wider Horizons”:

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