John Burroughs

Dear whomever it may concern
I have always felt upside down
and downside up
like an hourglass
or a cup tumbling
down a mountain of valleys
like an alley full of endless avenues
and dead-end streets
like a meet-up nobody comes to
or a voice recorder in a landfill
I have always felt
like a number one Diana Ross
song on my fourteenth birthday
Upside Down
but also sometimes
her subsequent single
I’m Coming Out
I have always felt outside in
and insight out
but never insight in
unless I was [I’m] mistaken
or outside out
unless my heart was breaking
and I could no longer bear the indoors.
I have always felt
like a rooftop floor
or a basement ceiling
like a numb feeling
or the unreeling business
of a word-proof letter
like an un-gotten go getter
a colander filled with holy water
like an arid pants wetter
a desert detour
an albino Moor
the kind of hello
who is talking to himself again
to whomever it may concern
even when
it concerns only him
or not even.

How odd.

Miss Sieve

JOHN BURROUGHS of Cleveland is the founding editor of Crisis Chronicles Press, the 2019-2021 Beat Poet Laureate for Ohio and the author of Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019. Find him at