The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Timothy Liu

Dead-beat Ode


I am his

laundry service,
one he calls

when he's feeling

dirty. He takes
no starch

nor bleach—

wants a gentle
agitation cycle

and someone

like a mommy
to clean up

after him so he

doesn't have to
face the world

in all its stinking

glory he knows
he can't help

but keep on

consuming, a man
who at times

forgets how to

wipe his own ass
when falling down

drunk. Have you

seen him? Are you
the kind drawn

to this particular

type—the infant
slumped over

in a high chair,

baby bottle filled
with top-shelf

booze because

mommy simply
buys the best

or nothing at all?



Timothy Liu

Ars Poetica


Can't change Trump.
Can't change Mike Pence.

Can't change my ex

who's in the closet
and hasn't called me back

in four years.

Fake it till you make it!
he always said.

Can't change Sean Spicer.

Can't change Steve Bannon,
Steve Jobs, Steve McQueen.

The Towering Inferno

was the first flick I ever saw
where someone said "Shit!" on screen

and the whole theater gasped.

I'm not chubby or a waif.
I could stand to lose five pounds

depending on my moods.

Couldn't you?
Is it so hard

to pick up the fucking phone

and call me back, send me
a sext? I'm writing this

from across the border.

My passport has been stolen,
my ATM card. Last night

I fucked a giant stuffed panda

after the man I met on Grinder
passed out on his bed,

thumb securely in his mouth.

A pacified pacifist.
A peace-loving frog.

I was discrete. Careful

not to leave any traces
behind. Picked up

every last hair off my pillow

and flushed it down
the john. Tore a new hole

into that bear. Didn't

even plan on it. Nor did
we wake up the next morning

imagining any of it!



Timothy Liu



Not one but two slips
of the tongue down

a long flight of stairs.




TIMOTHY LIU's most recent book of poems is Don’t Go Back To Sleep. He lives in Manhattan and Woodstock, NY.



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