You are
a hitchhiker’s brainwash,
a negative gasmask,
a pair of waiting hands
vacant everywhere
You are a hoarder of ridges,
a concave risk, heartsick and
craving bludgeon exchange
in a room of soundless piano
keys, pushed in.

Lonely carnivore,
with a dirty forehead
a mouth of murder.
You beautiful handsaw,
ripping my roots to shreds,
a parade of jagged teeth.

Social media performs its oldest trick:
locates your heart in the same city
as you,
sitting in a hospital room, next to your
blood supply. Calls the nurse in to check
the fluid levels.

Plays tag with your memory,
slip of hand sneaking through
searching for new marrow
to suck dry of magic.

The smart phone asks if it can
sync your location.
You choose the option that
makes it       impossible

for the bloody muscle to hunt you down
and engulf your stomach, to bind
your ankles with filaments, to choke on
[i]but that was a year ago.[/i]

If I tell my heart it can beat
the alarm, and lap up want
oozing from open sores,

will it forget how much better it is
to rip at pounding seams
than to ask,
[i]does anyone else hear that music?
will the drummer please play softer?[/i]

Aftershock is a
fictional fistfight.


cj west is a 20 yr old junior at Emerson College, where they created a major in Performance Poetry. They don’t care what your parents think of her tattoos. Their favorite things are: cats, bread, and women. Two they’re allergic to, one is out to get them. If they can’t change the world they hope to at least leave life laughing because things finally feel that light. cj can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/christie.west.5/https://www.instagram.com/christieast/ & https://twitter.com/Christieast/.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.