2 Poems — C. Derick Varn


“Psychosis is an attempt at rigor… I am psychotic for the simple reason
that I have always tried to be rigorous”
— Jacques Lacan

A woman once asked me:
“Do you believe in love?”
we sipped over-acidic coffee:

There is gingko outside
the window, fan-leaves
yellowing slightly in fall

wind. Emotions are
acknowledgements of
need, I thought, but

said: “Do you believe in
money?” The parsed
challenge of a self-made

man talking to a self-made
woman and in the moment
realizes there is no self

all, but reflections on prismatic
droplets, bending refracting
back inward. If I am rigorous

with the lack implied in words
there is nothing I can say. Each
is a sign once removed from the

the human touch on strong
shoulders, bereft of the proper
flavor of sweat, blood, and salt.



My mouth burns
from a chipped
tooth. Driving, so
no wine to cut

the burning. At the
Bibb county dump,
rats bask in the heat
of rot. Chirping

radio from my
Dodge bleats
about Tehran. The
bags fly over the rim

like cephalopods
descending on prawns
in the Cambrian
muck. My mouth

thickening with
pain pulse and debris
flies from the dumpster
hits my cheeks:

dentist drills ratchet
across nerves, glass
window seem to shatter,
the world’s light bulb

blown. The primordial prawn
crushed. More
talking about Iran
as I bend over.


C Derick Varn is a poet, teacher, and theorist. He currently edits for Former People and is a reviewer for the Hong Kong Review of Books. Originally from Georgia, he currently abides in Utah, but his nomadic tendencies have found him living in Cairo, Egypt,various places inSouth Korea and Northern Mexico. He lives with hiswife, and a bunch of books, and writes at night. He has published in Danse Macabre, Writing Disorder, JMWW, Clutching at Straws, Xenith, Piriene’s Fountain, Nebo, Yes, Poetry!, and many other venues.