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Craig Kite reads The Small Print

A few months ago I arrived late at a LiveMag! reading at La Mama because I was coming from a KGB reading—this was on a Monday night and La Mama, as those who know know, is a few doors away walking on the south side of 4th Street toward Bowery. The La Mama reading, which was wrapping up, was amazing, One of the poets I had never heard before was Craig Kite whose words seemed to be part of the man who was speaking them, a real rhythm between the two. I asked Craig, afterward, if I could record him. He lives in Queens at the end of the N and W lines at Ditmars Avenue. It was worth the trip. We recorded four poems, but the both of us decided on this one, The Small Print, another rhythm. Craig wrote: “I am happy with how I read the Small Print. I had perked up a bit at that point so let’s just go with the best take. Thanks so much for your patience and my pickiness haha.” Here is The Small Print. Enjoy.

The Small Print

I hold the scissors
that cut
guitar solos
from FM radio songs.

I paste them to the corners
of my hollows.
I eat shadows for breakfast

I am a little skeleton
at a tiny desk
making fat decisions.
The Globe is my paperweight.

I am All the stranger-danger
on the Dark Web
sprawled out in contiguous basements
haunting the wires of Western Union.
I’ll teach you how the world works
with frisson and pith.

I am dry-erase-board-
If you can’t afford
big boy britches.
I will provide you with
Personal Protection Equipment.

I am the Word
on the street,
I am The Word
made flesh,
I am
The Word of the Day:
I wear a clown nose.

A little birdie told me
after crashing through my window:
Breaking News.
And It was an opinion.

I am the glint of an ostentatious blade,
that overcompensating fang of man
I thinK the scream of the butterfly
and The Lord
will not keep the lion
from tearing apart the lamb.

Only YOU can prevent mass extinction.
Only YOU can tell your kids
that animals
are filled with white fluff.

I am filled with
Reasons and meat.
I am filled with church hymns
and pornography.
I am filled with
dreams and water,
needs and incidental ingenuity.
I am filled with
profundity and lies,
philosophy and arrogance.
I rain down from the fire escapes.
I am filled with tithing and teething.
Ask me anything
and I’ll retract into the wall.

I am filled with
vacant lots
where my conscience should be.
I sold it
for my basic human rights:
tuition and a hole in the dirt.

I am filled with
basic human rights:
ample empty calories
and hairspray for the Ozone.
I am filled with
newspaper and trauma.
I am full of information.

I am filled with
milk and honey
I am filled with
hot air,
possible potential
redundancy ^
and coming back for another.

I am filled with
images and badges,
refrigerator magnets,
the sun in your icons while you drive,
(you click on my moon for money)
tractor beams,
fuzzy memories,
empty stoops
with translucent children on them.

I am filled with
falling planes,
diving birds.
My black box is full of prayers.
My buildings are all falling down
and the top of Maslow’s pyramid
hovers above the ground.

I am filled with
a deafening silence,
(the city-sounds sift into a white noise)
the bugle of road war,
clogged arteries,
and the absolute zen
of screwing in a light bulb.

I am filled with everything I’ve ever seen,
each aspect of an existential crisis.
I am filled with
the most stubborn questions
for pastors
and doctors
and pharmacists

I am the capitalism
under your fingernails.
You like to pretend
that I’m an invisible hand.

Craig Kite is executive director of Mad Gleam Press. You can check it out here:


Craig Kite

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