Carson Pytell: Best of Poetry Showcase

black and gray abstract illustration

Photo from Jeremy Bishop (unsplash)

Cosmological Theorizing on Jackson St 

A Best of the Net Nominee first published in Sparkedlitmag April 2021

My attention snagged by a Pop!
First sight: a parasol. The day, stormy,
the fabric thin as patience and floral,
dragged by wind as though leashed to it.

Feet from the eye-catching flutter:
an elderly woman in a fur coat collapsing
and man sprinting into an alleyway
wearing a white T and blue jeans.

Maybe he couldn’t afford insulin or dope,
or she just couldn’t stand it nowadays;
they were sitting alone at opposite ends
of a car on the L-train when it happened.

Revolver out of pocket for efficiency
he menaced the legged pawnshop in back,
but her sky-old decorum refused. She steamed
and tucked her pocketbook under her arm.

In town only to buy more porcelain cherubs
she whipped out a parasol and atomized him
as though the criminal herself, pursued him
into the street. Where he stopped. Ended

the chase. And, ya know, it wasn’t so much
a pop that I heard, now that I see blood
pooling, the parasol swept away, but more like
the bang which chanced open the universe.


a Pushcart Nominee from first published there

At most upon the rock
you are none much taller
than Titans, Gods or God.

Everything besides this is a lie.

not an idea, they say, only some progression
unameably natural, small in all, as shoreline you
are tread on, eventually consumed by the one
certainty worth the time impossibly imagined,
unresolvable lest by ignorance or transcendence
through penance for the deeds undone by
or from fathomed fear, chiseled chance
or any other fancy we feed ourselves handfuls of
when we’re hungriest, none of which would exist,
not even the next you, if not for you, the mirror
in the studio where you don’t paint, but live in
reigned revelry because all’s for one who’s won it all,
be it nothing, or the back end of books earnestly
read, nevermind held limitlessly as you make it
by the limitless library to which you’ve made
only donations and from which you expect the same,
like the fib that the sky is blue or blue is the sky
or that telling the truth is what’s right or wrong
because what’s right or wrong, besides truth,
we get to decide whether or not is even true,
or the fallacy that death is more than reversed
birth, the ultimacy of knowledge told then known,
and if you expect more, if you say there’s more
than truth to nature, at least take a second to
watch a tree quickly dying and realize that

You’re just fooling yourself.

Under the rock
may we find we lie
truthfully at last.

L’Appel Du Vide & Here

first published in White Wall Review February 2021

  – for a poet I’ve never read.

To be drunk always is

never having to be sober.

The blood runs saccharine.

When I was young, yet not

enough to justify doing it,

I loved You and only You.

The only good stories I have I don’t.

Might monodies remember me

that I am, after all, a converso

to Myself, some martyr:

Human is not so bad a thing to be,

so Sisyphus, friend, follow me.

Let go. It’s halfway quixotic.


first published in White Wall February 2021

Kilroy, whose nose is trodden

and fingers must be broken now,

is wrong. He was not there.

To see him is proof of this.

He is faded just like iron ink

patinized on yellow letters.

And once letters get that look,

especially that must, they and their ink

become far too wistful to be waste.

Kilroy, whose nose is trodden

and fingers must be broken now,

was wrong. He is always there

Where Home Is

first published in Racket Journal 35

There’s no such displeasure
as waking up anywhere but home,
yet no greater liberty than
deciding just where that will be.

One evening, in my friend’s dad’s
G37x, we stopped at the ATM quick
so we had enough cash for popcorn,
soda and candy on top of ticket money.

We parked in the back of the multiplex
and got high before the movie, which sucked.
Or maybe it sucked only because of what
we saw just as soon as we exited the car.

A homeless man in a mid-90’s murder van
had both slide doors open and was pissing
right into the parking lot. Before he saw us
and almost caught his cock in those doors,

I glimpsed an old captain’s chair tucked in back,
an end table holding a full ashtray and neat brown
drink just next to it, and a Bakelite radio nestled on top
of a stack of newspapers, playing something jazzy.

The movie was a comedy, something with names
but no substance. I just couldn’t stop thinking about
how my friend loved it, and how we’d get high again,
then drunk on iced Ketel One before I slept over at his place.

Globe of Death

first published in Backchannels Edition No. 9

You must remember.
It was at the Altamont Fairgrounds
when we’d both strayed from our class
and became part of the crowd surrounding
the massive mesh-metal sphere with motorcycles
inside, revving the whole way around, earning their living.

Each time they neared the top you squeaked,
jumped as on a pogo stick. I was watching, 
frightened of a crash, when you shocked me with a hug 
then paralyzed me with a kiss on the cheek. You turned
and started clapping, yelling like life could really be as easy
as that moment. I turned and realized how difficult it would be.

You must remember, I do. It happens
each time I sit at the window after meals or poems
and a girl who isn’t you scorns me for smoking
then puts her hands on my shoulders and kisses me
anyway. Remembrance is like that. Life is déjà vu.
Experience – only something which might guide reaction.

It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t get it – most often I do.
Like when my wife’s done kissing me and, though I’ve wished
for each kiss from her, I start off dreaming I’d once have kissed you.

Bio: Carson Pytell is a writer living outside Albany, NY whose work has appeared widely online and in print, including in Ethel Zine, Perceptions Magazine, Rabid Oak, Backchannels and White Wall Review, among others. He participated in the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in December 2020 and his first two chapbooks, First-Year (Alien Buddha Press, 2020) and Trail (Guerrilla Genesis Press, 2020), are now available. His third, The Gold That Stays (Cyberwit Publishing, 2021)

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Carson Pytell

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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