Glen Armstrong

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three current books of poems: Invisible HistoriesThe New Vaudeville, and Midsummer. His work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestConduit, and Cream City Review.


 Bees cross borders 
 as they see fit
 like the wind or flying saucers.
 They gambol about 
 like stuntwomen on motorcycles
 as my own relevance falls 
 and falls.
 Their tiny brakes 
 give them courage.
 One of the bees calls out to me,
 “Hassan! Your sadness is bullshit!”
 For some reason,
 the bees always call me “Hassan.” 

Hat Size Dialogue

 You have a very large head. 
             I suppose I should thank you
             for noticing.
 Your barber must feel
 like Evel Knievel.
             My barber feels like Lewis and Clark.
 I often feel 
 like more than one explorer,
 conflicted about how to navigate
 an unforgiving wilderness.
             I am surprised that there is room
             for even one 
             in your freakishly small head.
 To have a head is to worry.
 To travel this continent
 is to come up against obstacles. 

A Listening Guide

 We must listen to the teenagers, even the ones in the back row who pretend to be dead.
 Having more than one person’s clothing on the same body does not necessarily signify love.
 We must listen for mice occupying our kitchen counters.
 Sometimes a blue light blinks on and off through the night. Sometimes we or our children are that blinking blue light.
 We must listen and connect. We must hear the news.
 Sometimes one of the teenagers listens to a rock singer who pretends to be dead. Listen, but don’t panic. Remember Halloween. Remember Disney’s head.
 To be young is to live in a grotto. 
 To be even younger is to be constantly discovering grottos. The crisp, autumn air is like a pike for a tender skull.
 We must hear the word “apple” as if for the first time.
 We must clean up some of the mess even though it was not ours. 
 We must listen to make sure none of the evening’s first visible stars are exploding. 

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