Dustin King

Broken Photo #23 or Contradictions

    you understand so I explain it slowly    our bodies are ours to enjoy & no one else’s 

but I’ll enjoy you enjoying mine     pliable here velvety there leathery in places   

                                                                                                                I point  

    only I know all that I am but I expect you to know as much       my body stretched 

    a life fluctuating                                      a civilization began to end when it was  mapped  

        intersecting highways exits back roads dead end cul-de-sac grasses & furs 

 sweeping arcs & wiggles of a cartoon      eMOTION     if I’m too much are you enough 

                    distressed & preowned & like the best denim ripped a little 

these blankets have an undertow        like my arms around my children           like waves 

kelp & plankton birthed spilled on the hospital tile                    an ecosystem stabilizing 

       a little beauty a blessing                                                                     too much a curse            

    if it’s too much to ask                                                                    I’ll ask again                                  

I am sated from eating nothing                                                             famished after a feast 

       I need more distance when you’re distant                 so much closer when we kiss 

I contradict my contradictions                                           I strip the sheets before we come

New Religion

I wake face down.
You’re scratching your proclamation across my back.
Shivers of joy and shame reform the meaning of being
in nibbles, scrapes, strawberries.

We realize the conventionalists’ whispers our ancestors dismissed
as they drank from fountains that oozed and burst from their skin,
tomes tattooed on their nakedness as they made us
and remade the world in shrieks and moans.

The priest’s pleas are mute.
A new ideology emerges between bodies and beliefs,
an astrology in the constellations of freckles
and scatterings of orgasm, splashed in revelations.
Visions of fire flower blossoms and quivering fungi
flash before our eyes like cityscape, like seasons, like generations.

A baptism of arctic water won’t extinguish
the fire of hell burning through my erection.
Amid the discarded underthings about the altar
we join gleaming crotches and grind earth
until only ashen lands of apocalypse remain
between our thighs.


Dustin King would always rather be sneaking a bottle of wine into a movie theater.  During quarantine, however, he sat and scribbled and sometimes got excited about what the scribbles became.  He teaches Spanish and runs a small non-profit that provides aid to undocumented community in Richmond, Va.  His poems appear in Throats to the Sky, Blood and Bourbon, and Ligeia Magazines.

Spread the lust

The Erozine