Portrait: I’m Tired of Stealing Coffins from Myself


I’d like to tell you a story in which

        I push for the death penalty,


        suit you up with a jury

        and lay your crime before the court


                                           in a manner I learned from Ms. Eliza:




Three mice rode a gray elephant!;


               the first sentence I read aloud in Kindergarten,


               but this story isn’t an achievement,


               though it is nearly as absurd: your friends are dead, calling from land lines,



authorities have their location pinned

               to within inches of depth;


                                      evidence will be exhumed as lines unfold from

                                      a wet paper swan.






Travis Blankenship’s poetry appears or is forthcoming from A cappella Zoo, Artifice, and Smash Cake magazines among others. He has been the recipient of a Tin House Writer’s Workshop scholarship, the Jim Wayne Miller Poetry Prize, a Geoffrey McClevly Memorial Award, and a Bondurant Prize in poetry. He founded the Goldenrod Poetry Festival now in its 6th year at Western Kentucky University. Currently, he is senior editor of the Yalobusha Review and lives in Mississippi.

On Preparing Skeletons for the Closet


If the hacksaw had been used
there wouldn’t be so much                (yes it is unbelievable, but ask the sky to drop;
evidence of bone in the meat              the poem will wait; go on)

                                                (of course we speak in metaphor;
                                                of course I know, there’s nothing sexy
                                                about asking you to read this)

to soil our palates with the taste of sediment—dirt eaters, all of us, dirt eaters, us all-
that awkward fender bender in the mouth,


                                                                                      a stage, a skip-out phase

                                                 leaping, another one;
                                                 we cannot dare to believe




           one might, actually,
           nourish one or the other, another one:


half-eaten animal as careless with its
property as to become the dinner
                 of a gunned party:                (it takes a militia at my temple to slow down)


           Rally Rally Rally Rally Rally until you know everyone
           and everyone’s strength, how in a crowd, you can still separate yourself
           from the better of them, from the hull of their influence.







Travis Blankenship’s poetry appears or is forthcoming from A cappella Zoo, Artifice, and Smash Cake magazines among others. He has been the recipient of a Tin House Writer’s Workshop scholarship, the Jim Wayne Miller Poetry Prize, a Geoffrey McClevly Memorial Award, and a Bondurant Prize in poetry. He founded the Goldenrod Poetry Festival now in its 6th year at Western Kentucky University. Currently, he is senior editor of the Yalobusha Review and lives in Mississippi.

Even the Army in White, River-wet Baptismal Garments Will Come for Her In Hell



It was so rooky

             how the BloodGoodBabe first watered down the strychnine

             for newcomers, so


                                                  their tolerance would be demi-god like

                                                  by the time they’d begin professing on their own,


                         but the power of prayer

                         is like yearning to strike your first match—

                                      so terrified of something

                                                                           somehow going terribly wrong:


                                                  Those confused children would

                                                  tip the glass to their lips

                                                              and that burn at the basin


                          of adrenaline liquefiying

                         the body like wind-blown Piggly Wiggly bags


so alive?


                                                            she could fill them

                                                            with anything she wanted.









Travis Blankenship’s poetry appears or is forthcoming from A cappella Zoo, Artifice, and Smash Cake magazines among others. He has been the recipient of a Tin House Writer’s Workshop scholarship, the Jim Wayne Miller Poetry Prize, a Geoffrey McClevly Memorial Award, and a Bondurant Prize in poetry. He founded the Goldenrod Poetry Festival now in its 6th year at Western Kentucky University. Currently, he is senior editor of the Yalobusha Review and lives in Mississippi.