my soul truant
the body finds me.
together I drive away
in a moving van.

we promise in pencil
and waltz alien,
keeping this apartment
like a prison planet.

we prefer the cage
to the leash. it is who
we are and apologies
line the dry sea.

Nautilus (Remix)

The nautilus and the eddy are cousins.
Every god was a pea in a pod.

We read worlds in words
the way we hear the sea in a shell.

Impression without reason = pixels.
Rods and cones < eyes.

Clarinet and licorice
play for the same tongue.

reverie in gray

those mountains Russian blue
and those the color of rain, neither
do I belong to them—snow gilded
their sentence stoops—nor to the nickel sun
daydreaming, playing coruscate cloisonné
on oily pigeon feather waves.

a ferryboat’s chant echoes baritone
in the fog that secrets but does not hide
gray, many if not splendored.
dappled gulls laughing, warning
herald as hound’s tooth and herringbone
promenade in increments of mist.


Whispers are steep
and have snowy peaks.

Shouts are echoes.

Full and Empty

Full glass is
Empty bottle

Full belly is
Empty pot

Dinner was
And will be

Jonathan Swerdlick

Jonathan Swerdlick is a Seattle-based poet and painter, born in the Bay Area and raised in New York’s Tri-State Area. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, he holds a BA in English Literature. He has been published in Modern Haiku and was a featured reader at Pasadena LitFest 2014.

Photograph by Christie MacLean


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