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  • by Ryan Oliveira

Butterfly Effect


I waltz in, expecting tangos

and paso-doblés, patterned in Olé

and mango-lassoed tongue.

The room is a humid cube of bodies quaint and queer, a champagned aviary to the ears.

All are gathered in albatrossed ground-plans around imaginary eggs, clutching plastic, cawing politics.

How do you know him is

a common icebreaker,

calving all walks of occupation

and I say, we shared poetry once

but he’s never come to my shows, though I chalk it up to the business.

And the clockwork caws turn awkward

so we try long-distance or dosey-do

or don’t say anything at all.

It’s a lot to think in present-time,

speed-dating a forest of strangers

all pre-paired and pinned together

and I wonder about the food web

where one chew churns up several

in these invested woods wherein

Interest is paid dependent upon

Production Values, Protections,

and mostly Liberal Protests

and my hands are beating wings

intense like sudden heart flutters,

aposematic sputters of word-stutters

and I hope they find it charming.

Fascinating. Groundbreaking.

Like ogling a birdwing butterfly.

Only I think they prefer it pinned

to a poster rather than all over them

like a parasite artist.

My phone tells me to breathe.

I press it to update me, sedate me,

but it presents me nothing but the present.

Here and now never warns you

of the future communion had you taken

one step to the left instead of right,

one beat better and I would’ve been married,

one side effect away from carried to Norway,

if I just play my cards all clubs and hearts.

But I fold for the night.

Dance card full, I two-step to the streets of outer space

where sound bends predictable and the butterfly is infinitesimal small and less exhausted in the moonlight.


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Ryan Oliveira

Ideas.  I'm full of them.

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