Daniel Bailey



tonight a man described a snuff film he saw online:

“a couple Mexicans got killed with a chainsaw

for a minute they were pleading

and I thought the link would be less brutal

it said ‘not for the squeamish or faint of heart’

and I am not any of those things”

which is how I feel at an 8 out of 10

not squeamish or faint of heart

but I am up here in the sky

and I am anxious

I describe my heart to you and get it wrong every time

it is a heart like a snuff film I have already lived

yet I still don’t know how to feel

or it is a heart that speaks to me

through screens and asks me

to consider it more often as if by PSA

it is a heart within a heart and I

belong to the air around me

which I try not to disrupt too much

for fear that it will leave me


today I have talked myself into being

kinder or at least to view the world

with a kinder heart or attitude or

however I should describe that thing of me

that needs to change


I love how on an airplane I can

shake my legs as hard as they can shake

and no one will notice


just now I got water

and mini-pretzels, which I will save for later

and then I looked at the earth

and its cities and towns

and it looked covered in a vast web

of burning villages

and I stared into the dark outside the villages

in hopes

of finding the fire outside of fire


I am young enough to love someone

and still maintain my fear

and I don’t know how I will love without that

once I have changed


I feel anxious from something as simple as

a loud chime telling us it is ok

to move about the cabin


I chew ice

and that is what I love

about night


on a separate flight in a separate year

I sat next to a Packer’s fan

who had a terrible cold

which I caught

which then became a sinus infection

I watched basketball

under the strange power of Mucinex

and bourbon

and that was one of the defining moments

of this life

in another life maybe I sat next to a window

and stared out at ant hills

or a group of dogs licking paws

or maybe sat in a house

and gazed at some constellation

convinced that if I stared hard enough

it would begin to scream

what God believed of me

a formation of fireflies

giving it to the air

but these are not my memories

and they have not even graced my dreams


I sometimes love life enough to know

that it is too good for me

and then I wait for my heart to stop

and it doesn’t stop

o let it beat forever

or until I have been moved beyond

where I can recognize

the shape of my deficiency

let me rejoice as I have rejoiced


or near as I have ever




Daniel Bailey lives is the author of The Drunk Sonnets (Magic Helicopter) and Gather Me (Scrambler Books). He currently lives in Athens, Georgia.