Smokey of the Migraines · Michael McInnis

Smokey of the Migraines · Michael McInnis

McInnis’ thin-lined narrative poem forces the cosmos through the vise of a migraine, through the noir pinhole of a beleaguered hit man, a bad boy not only prey to the title’s chronic malady but to the suppressed but unavoidable regional histories of indigenous America and its off-kilter Christian complement.
Andrew Guthrie, author of Alphabet, and Paul’s Records


Excerpts from Smokey of the Migraines

The migraines
speak to Smokey
in tongues
he barely understands.
They tell him
stories that
have no meaning.

The migraine
is a ghost
whispering
of death
and night
and blood.

The migraine
is Jackson Pollack
severing occipital
nerves
with paint.

The migraine
is the
plutonium
taste of meth
down the back
of the throat.

The migraine
is a creature
living in Smokey’s neck
reaching up
through his
brain
and pulling
each eye back
back down.

The migraine
is an itch
beneath the
straps of a
back pack
straining with
the weight
of its terrible truth,
of nails and screws,
bits of rock,
pieces of glass
and broken marbles.

The migraine
is the
mortification
of flesh
glazed with auras
and sounds
heard rumbling
under the skin,
rifling through
marrow.

The migraine
is a killing field,
manured with
the blood of
shell-shocked men.

The migraine exists
outside
ecclesiastical
boundaries,
a leftover
of Purgatory,
lingering
to plague
the unholy,
the lost ones
who left the Church
or turned away
from the light.

Smokey
can’t seek
the light
because
the migraine
is light,
diffused,
catholic,
exquisite
as if the blue
of Smokey’s irises
is a laceration.

Smokey hesitates,
a coronal hammer,
a brief pause,
a shadow on his grave,
like glaciers
stopped at
the edge
of the continent,
like the planet
shifting,
like the tides
frozen between
migraines
and screaming.

The migraine
is a vision.

The migraine
is vision.

The migraine
is a revolution,
a manifesto of
pain.

The migraine
is a running sea,
a Fata Morgana,
an ocular
horizon.

The migraine
is Smokey.


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Michael McInnis

Michael McInnis lives in Boston and served six years in the Navy chasing white whales and Soviet submarines. He was the founder of the Primal Plunge, Boston’s first and only bookstore dedicated to zine and underground culture and small press literature. When he is not writing, Michael spends his time making furniture and composing ambient soundtrack music. His poetry and short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, The Commonline Journal, Cream City Review, Naugatuck Review, One-Sentence Poems, Oxford Magazine, White Knuckle Press and Yellow Chair Review to name a few.


Copyright © 2017 Michael McInnis

Cover photograph from the collection of Lauren Leja

ISBN 978-0-9993971-2-1

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.


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