3. 13. 2022

G R A C E   R O T  
B A S E M E N T   

stevie redwood

This early quiet is an opus, an ode.

Morning steeps. A cutlass of light splits you

                           from the world.

You want to want it all. You do, only sometimes

you can’t live inside it. The world

with its clock-tower theatre,

the world with its light-show streets. Sometimes

a grace museum. Sometimes the basement rot.

Sometimes it’s the man with the bread & the birds

in his palm. Or: it’s the welded copper wing.

It’s the boy with a winter

beneath his skin, & the bare-skinned girl

he buries. It’s the honeybee & his holy curse, the dying

he does for the hive. It’s the beak in the flower’s glory.

The stunted fruit dead on the vine.

It’s the scars on your kneecaps & all the hands

clasped. It’s the outstretched arms

of the park bench you perch on

& the people they gatekeep from sleep.

It’s the feast in the grocery store

dumpster. The padlocks sealing it shut.

It’s Stevie Wonder’s Ordinary Pain

anointing the radio

while you scribble your name on the rent check.

It’s the neighborhood kids playing

cops & robbers, their red-ringed mouths

a Kool-Aid fusillade.

It’s the one who wears out

her dollar-store guns & a quarter

-century later makes a pretty penny

for each lead round she reddens

in the mouth of a robber.

It’s the man spooning mashed bananas

between the tender gums of his six-month-old

                           pocketing his knife

& joining his friends for a Friday night

Proud Boys rally.

Sometimes it’s the room

with the light on

& sometimes

the house on fire.

The blaze is the baptism,


& sometimes the requiem.

Maybe you thaw your fingers. Maybe

you swallow the smoke.

& the birth-red clouds are a sacred question,

or else they’re the war moving in.

stevie redwood is a disabled sino-jewish neuroemergent introvert genderpervert homotrash littledreamer bigmouth freak living & dying on Yelamu Ohlone land / San Francisco, CA. they like shittalk, porchsitting, leaflitter, & riffraff. find them trolling yimbys on twitter @trash_whisperer