minneapolis poetry


Upon the debut of ‘Landmark’ I was given the divine privilege of writing the boys a biography. A sort of literary companion to the new Hippo Campus album. Relaying the journey, as I see it, has been one of the best prompts I have ever been given. You can find the bio on the inside back cover of the ltd edition blue Vinyl at Electric Fetus. You can also find it below. 

October 2016

The beginning is as intimate as yesterday and as distant as the details that get lost in a dream. Even in this moment I ache to remember when they became one another, with one another. For the Minnesota fort is held down with the heavy weight of incalculable moments, and these moments have become the life blood in the body of the boys. It began in the dead of winter. Their memories shrouded in a fresh layer of snow. In the beginning, the trees were bare and the horizon was stencil-like and silent. Sounds made in the middle of the night billowed up into the sky like smoke: a signal amidst the Earth’s silence. The boys tripped over their feet to meet at the top of the stairs, and I watched them gather on the roof like this. Balancing tentatively on the ledge overlooking the city, hollering collectively into the void, watching the sound bounce from building to building, until everything fell silent. And in the midst of this vast expanse, all that could be heard was an echo: as if something elsewhere was answering back in the shape of a sound. Staring down at their hands, I watched them gaze at their own boyish grasp on mortality. I watched them try and wrap their fingers around it. But their hands were too small for the idea that life was not eternal. So they lived in the wake of this, for you cannot unsee a dream.

Walking along a winding street, I crossed paths with a house, and a dim light in a basement window. Here, the sky held the illusion of tent canvas, muffling the footsteps of passersby. Encompassed in what felt like a secret corner of the universe, I strained my eyes to see the moon in the midst of them. And so the spot on the map was spoken into existence. A landmark. A house with a light on. A light they would spend eternity looking for again. But until then, the nights with the boys were exuberant! I watched them run, run, run the length of the grass. Squeals and unabashed sounds of excitement filled the night as they darted like arrows into the dark again and again. The end was never clear, and the path appeared wide and vast and void of obstacles. Solely was the land and the boys, reaching back to grab one another by the hand and pull each other forward. Sometimes I wondered what they were running towards, but most nights I simply stood back and watched them wander into oblivion with one another. Wiling away the hours, collectively funneling the happenings of their lives into the simplest and often the most profound. I felt them ache to remember when one another, became one another, with one another. Their grasps on mortality unhinged. Memories becoming subtly fragmented in the midst of their sprint, and so their grasps tightened. Eyes fixed on the moments that made them. Sometimes they would be gone for a very long time. Emerging in different colors themselves, or with one another. All the while clutching to the boys they had been on a roof, or in a basement.

Onlookers tried to crane their necks to see the end of the clearing: running a few paces forward, or scaling a tree to see if something was impending. But as much as I or others tried, there was no use in losing moonlight. The ground was where the pine and the Juniper grew up from, so the four boys ran with their feet keeping time with floor: feeling the snow, and the leaves, and the tall grass on the bottoms of their feet. They kept matchsticks and notebooks and cigarettes in their backpacks, taking supplies out at their leisure. Collared shirts and missing buttons. Belt loops and black jeans. Over time, their faces morphed into a collective mask of manhood. Tripping over their own feet in a flurry of boots and laces, I saw the boys approach a precipice. That which they could not see over the edge of, except for a warm glow: a yellow making its way out of the grey. And they knew that this was neither the end, nor another beginning: just a vast and open space to speak their dreams into. I watched them rear their heads to the South. Staring back at the light still looming from the basement window; nostalgia tugging the human water from their faces. And with a collective breath, they crept towards the edge. Cupping their hands to their mouths and hollering collectively into the void until everything fell silent. Looking back, I could not quite make out what they said. But what I heard was an echo. As if something elsewhere was answering back in the shape of a sound. And it was most beautiful.

all my love,


Maid of Saint Paul

Shall I seduce thee by the Cathedrals’ steps, twin domes as our guise?

Or walk by the river blossoming, during hazy June’s demise?

At our final reckoning, it shall be written in gold

That we walked together in a city betrayed of old

At the peak of the greatest river wide

Of this aging sighing new world

Cliffs amongst plains, a contrast rare

Rising above prairie, refuge of the fair

Fitzgerald wrote of thee, not in hushed tones

Your glory outstripped never by those

Whose arrogance is that of dust and bone

Crowned Nymph

What make of crown shall go on her head, shall it be of precious stones?

Mined from heaven or from this Earth alone?

But if an angel gives me leave, I shall pull from my sleeve

A ruby from distant Persia, to which her heart shall cleave

A cap upon the crown itself, a sign that my love can never melt.

Perhaps a diamond is more germane, for no joy could ever be the same

As when I light up your eyes, or make you know the only truth

That you are my queen, and from all else am I aloof.


Donte Collins - “13 (after Patricia Smith)”

“Do you still perform autopsies on conversations you had lives ago?”

Performing at Button’s second Inside Voices reading, at the Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis, MN.