The Hypnotists

by Nate Maxson

Snowflakes tinted illusionary gold melt on the fogging windows of a greenhouse/ drifting in oxygenated hypochondria/ convinced of it, trusting me (now how about that?) when two weeks ago I was the one in the chair/ they make it sound like you’ll walk an executioner’s mile down a hallway lit blue (you know the one, you remember and if you don’t/ you will)

These days there is only one task, one craft/ worth aspiring to in these years circling the nineteenth and twenty first centuries/ liquid/ imagine the one in between them as a tarnished silver drain, all falling towards/ the hypnotists/ each one convinced of himself as being/ the only one

When I snap my fingers, you will/ awaken/ bright, so bright/ like a candle (and if you don’t, give me time/ to think and be still) just like a candle, like a/ student

Acclimating auctioneer rhythms to the line of dapper and bearded hypnotists all swinging watches in a conga-line of ticking clocks/ don’t look them in the mouths/ don’t look me in the hunger/ don’t look at me/ because it’s growing, this false spring pregnancy: amateur hour at the end of the weekend

Boys from somewhere beneath who would raise Berlin like a memory from the passivity of Kansas/ I’m just the operator/ the surgeon absolved

Hungrier than the air or the soft footsteps of wolves/ in machinery/ static mechanism flipped to on position: simple device, oh pardon me don’t get up I’m only yanking out your wires/ the equinox

Only reconfiguring the state’s surplus of charming foreign orphans as a fuel supply/ only, that can’t be right or I wouldn’t have this cold premonition/ it would be a relief if I weren’t the one/ burning

Gasping cotton candy plagues/ out of me/ out, out/ on with the show

And eventually one begins to question/ what’s past those first few/ bursts of light/ sharp burning rubber scented candles/ I don’t think I’m ever going to/ wake up/ make it/ out/ on

The amusement park/ waterslide/ slaughterhouse, is less fun than it used to be/ chalk it up to age, the paranoia in wisps/ messianic conmen in competition regret it

Because where does one go? Having discarded/ the moldy pelts of manufactured teenage angst and all their indebted nubile heats: the real virus

When I snap my fingers/ breathe in/ when I snap/ when I/ awake/ under glass/ like an insect: I know I’m not the hypnotist, you don’t have to remind/ but I know his name/ I know lots of names

I even know the name/ of the slow nosebleed/ overtaking my hibernation/ when I awake/ you will simultaneously escape/ like a streak of omens across the television/ oh hunger/ you curseword/ I know/ the name/ the plague, ephemerous shame of coldness spiraling cursive/ when you open your eyes/ like a candle, like a smirk/ believe me/ I know the name


Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist from Cleveland, Ohio. He has so far published two books of poetry “Vaudeville Jihad” in 2011 and “I Wished For A Serpent” in 2012 with a third on the way for the end of 2014. He discovered poetry as a boy the way other people find religion or drugs and hasn’t looked back since

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