Robert Balun: I Know a Witch


the world’s been heavy lately
so I keep out of the body

I know a witch
she is filled with neon

we meet in the buzz

she places a memory on the table
you climb inside and carry on with the past


I look for you in the universal field
where we are abstractions

of movement
an order or a place

I keep walking by
someone I
think I

are you the sea or the sun
or do you just like the color


always stranger
floating in self

I pass by

your hand
brushes mine

this melts
I puddle

down the stairs
into your pocket

you keep me like time

we sip pixel
eyes as big as flowers

leave the light burning
color twists prismatic

did they leave you a name–if not
carry rocks like memories

tomorrow will bloom
and we’ll call it
perfect and perfume

I need you again and again


money is a secret

give me a little grace

the steady buzz of airplanes
sirens and wind

I look up from years
find only minutes

the same frightened
eyes and neglect

this is all we’ve got for sweet

the day spread over the table like proof


resolving host

timeline populates itself with outcome

sour moments not quite artifacts
just possibility we’ve settled on

I can’t
tell which
way the rushing

scenes spill
from my head
like a movie
or a dream I

surrender my secrets
to the prism of

mouth filled with neon
ritual to mitigate heat

a piece of light falls from your hand

scatter into particles

I stand in a stream of commerce to remember this

promise I don’t disappear


please tomorrow
I need to do nothing

too much body
too much time
on the table

another ragged
morning with heavy

that worn out look
to wear as days

melt by in the pulp of now
details collapse

like a dream you only
remember having


the city floats by in texture

flutter as light
comes apart
holding its promise
of possibility

I keep checking my pockets for time

no our lives are not simple anymore

but yelling just makes me tired

I open my eyes and no one wants to sit

a bit of grit in the teeth

see you in a cracked mirror
catch yourself like a reflection

find I’m made of mostly glass


I keep my hands full
(cups hats books)
a strategy to allay action

you keep a key
engraved on your wrist
(the illusion of access)

I find you walking through traffic
handing every passenger a piece of money

a memory I have for no reason

we pray for fresh rain
our cups a cistern

we’ll need a brass band
and a truck full of flowers

the radio playing crickets

Editor's Note: These poems originally appeared on our old site.

Robert Balun received his MFA from The City College of New York, where he was a recipient of the Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize for Poetry and the Teacher-Writer Award. His debut chapbook, Self (Ceremony), is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.  His poems have appeared in Bodega, Similar Peaks, Smoking Glue Gun, Heavy Feather Review, Word Riot, and others. Robert is one of the founders of the Bushwick Sweethearts reading series.  He teaches creative writing and composition at The City College of New York.