Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Lost in Urban Landscaping #2 by Yrik Max Valentonis

Yrik Max Valentonis Author Photo

I stutter out children’s verses in my Grandparents’ tongue

strung on genealogical trees, the curses of sins

of fathers and wars, cremated kins

of history floating in a sea of blood

angry adolescent words, small scale genocide

back turned and eyes closed

a simple relocation

& once again alone


Eating all ancestors sins to see where I went wrong

the victims’ fearful new faith

repelled my beliefs: my gods and desires died out centuries ago

where has my family gone


children in Poland play

Cossacks and Gypsies

as I join them

is the imaginary blood

we spill

my own

or on my hands


working through recurring problems  forever unresolved

old wounds which never heal

the burden of keeping alive impossible dreams

does it benefit me to know how fragile life is

trying to sleep at night


childhood toys become a household shrine

striving toward the phantom cargo of

innocence imaginary past crashing amid isolated

tropical isle sand grain plantation washed into

estuary mangroves– the shipment of memoirs worshiped

and misunderstood


the museum within the mind catalogs

and shelves every minor nuance and the only wisdom

exhibited– dust


gathers together discussing the phenomenological

meaning of time, the cyclic nature which has a grown man

attempt to entertain himself

with the progression of an arachnid traveling

along a waterspout

how not to be bit by the memory

of the fall


going to Las Vegas to play high stakes Solitaire

betting my soul on the next draw

It’s kinda like when you’re drowning

and you gouge out the lifeguard’s eyes

the only land nearby is under thirty feet of water

once you get over breathing, you can stand on solid ground

the freedom of possibilities lifts you away from gravity

the situation of drifting through life keeps a phalanx

of angels stationed at every cliff, lover’s leap

a bungee jump flinging you in the air and

sling-shot back to the abyss

eventually you are left hung by your feet over a gorge

like the Sword of Damocles just waiting

for somebody to pause underneath


climbing the tree

Ragnarok approaches my mind


eternal is before

& birth is over

all remains, a short wait

& trying to return


Yrik-Max Valentonis’s novella 120 Days of Gomorrah is available from Alien Buddha Press. His comics and writings have recently appeared in: Cliterature, Maintenant and Zoomoozophone ; chapbooks:  iDEAL and this is visual poetry;  anthologies: Alien Buddha’s Block Party, Alien Buddha’s House of Horrors 3, Animal BlessingsBeer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations (forthcoming), Divided AgainHeat the Grease We’re Frying Up Some PoetrySinbad and the Winds of Destiny, and Zombie Nation: St. Pete. He earned a BA in English and American Literature from the University of South Florida  and a MFA in Poetry & Prose from Naropa University.

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