Sample, Spit, and Spar


Šime Knežević’s ‘Spar ’makes allusion to violence and death.



We lend (rather than give) ourselves permission
to single out and compare our thing.
We pause inward at a stop from this opaque feeling,
and prompted almost from nothing, we pursue
some relief and joy only moments before it’s gone.
We take it as it comes, cherish what’s left.

My throat revs like the engine of a muscle car.
How can I be sure you are who you say?
Turns out, you’re a music video, a swimming pool,
the whole doughnut tree, the definition of class.
I give myself away too easily in tiny free samples.
You’re right to be suspicious, there’s a catch.


hock hock
phlegm deep

even deeper
zero in

the nasal
cavity tilt

your head
just so

motor your

and then
muscle memory

your national
service training

as you
roll down

the window
while the

car must
go on

angle chin
take aim

barrel those
lips whip

the tongue
fire away

into the
rapid air

then groom
your moustache

with the
digits of

a reverse
peace sign


Some moments before passing out, I glimpsed a kata
in one of the elapsed time zones at the far far end
of my mind, and a barely audible repertoire of kicks
and punches, as if my limbs dealt in nursery rhymes.

My body weighed my age, two short of double digits.
Take your ritual bow. An ad hoc paradise this dojo.
‘Maggots, my grandmother can kick higher than you…
and she’s dead!’ Feet cold at the rim of ground opening.

Because you are still yet (the silent dark car lot,
Bloody Mary in the mirror, a cigarette burn, childhood
without love) to obtain the orange belt. Our guest
Johann G., already a ghostly presence, disappears

in his black karategi. In the news, ash rain 
on the eastern seaboard, our city is pillowed by smog. 
Weirdest thing to have to fare on your own. 
Prepare to call upon this life. Prepare your next move.