you can’t prove something entirely safe
            complete thoughts
                        swallowed by periods

that’s art for you
            a bucket of knives
                        for putting out fires

believe it or not Jesus was a raconteur
            fish and chips for the masses
                        alpha and omega-3

I prefer religious smorgasbords
            entrees from all traditions
                        dabs of dogmas for sides

everything’s a conversation
            whether you say anything or not
                        is it safe to say my sepia memories are me?

hedge your bets with the gods
            risk management with wifi in the wilderness
                        keep visions to a minimum with defensive sleeping

trouble shoot
            hum melatonin mmmmmmmelatoninnnn
                        whisper serotonin sssssssssserotoninnnn

I worry about the beatific vision
            playing cards all eternity with an autistic god
                        no beer and peanuts

I have no quarrel with juxtapositions
            except when they involve
                        strapping on vestments

when’s the last time you tossed your soul into the salad
            when’s the last time you raged on the moor
                        when’s the last time you sang to the mermaids

too safe is not safe
            carry a few extra pounds
                        invest in your death





Martin Settle is a writer and assemblage artist residing in Charlotte, NC. In 2015 Main Street Rag published his first book of poetry The Teleology of Dunes. His second book Coming to Attention: developing the habit of haiku was released in September of 2016. In 2017, he self-published a third book called The Backbone Alphabet. His chapbook Maple Samaras (Wild Leek Press) came out in April 2018. He has been awarded The Thomas McDill Award (North Carolina Poetry Society), The Poetry of Courage Award, the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, and the Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award.

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