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three poems from brett a. maddux's maple


maple by brett a. maddux is a collection of poems written in pen on maple avenue in hartford, connecticut from march 2021 to august 2022.

Written & Photographed by
brett a. maddux




maple was written during a four year period of complete personal solitude, without any material possessions and disconnected from the internet. Read "spectral lines,""good old chuck" and "whole inside of everything" from maple below.





spectral lines


when writing in the spectral lines, this one is love & it does echo,

sitting down & counting elements, christmas morning as it’s

snowing, surrounded by a lot of molecules & entirely alone unless


you count the holy ghost, i guess, depending how you frame

attendance. i have two slits that let the light in, the wavelengths

crash into perception, i think that i can see these colors, i believe


that there is time & a few other illusions that they sold to us as

children, first came one & then came zero, first there is order then

there’s entropy, first there is something then there’s nothing, neither


created nor destroyed, i guess, everything in ebb & flow, first

comes silence then serenity i bring you greetings from the alley cats

hovering beneath reality, ascending to the first dimension where


everything is kind of linear, first i’m a point then i’m a line & i can

split like an infinitive, if you need it you can have it, at least i think

that’s what the plan is, the things you notice when you look for


them, the things you hear if you just listen. knowing that i do not

exist which means i have the super power of understanding that i

am already dead, this one will fold into geometry & can conceive of


pure mathematics, this one knows better than to laugh when god

starts up with that old joke again who’d sell his soul for a little

power who’d sit alone & count the hours, who could really tell the


difference, snow still falling, the day quiet, a lighter i keep in my

pocket for setting fire to the poisons i’ve been taking, levitating in

the frame & floating out into the ether, later i will call my sister &


we will speak about existence just like children often do when

peering down into the river.




good old chuck


he said my name is good old chuck & i can look you in the eye, boy

& let me ask you, have you got two quarters. i got acid reflux & i’m

trying to buy some aspirin i said my name is brett & it’s nice to


meet you & all i’ve got are keys to my apartment which is one

block away but in that apartment i have aspirin if you want some.

he said that would be perfect & so we walked together to get it.


i asked him how long he’d had the acid reflux & he said it’d been a

long time that he was seventy-two but that he’d had it for as long as

he could remember a long time now, a long time & then he told an


anecdote & in it he mentioned his kids. i asked about his kids. he

told me about them, said the oldest one was named after him, that

he loved his son but that he was as hard-headed as him & as


stubborn & they didn’t always see eye to eye but they shared a

name so it was bigger than that. at this point we reached the

apartment & i was considering what he had said. i said so his name


is chuck too. he said why did you just call me chuck. no one calls

me chuck. i never told you my name was chuck & so i thought about

what he had said before, which stood real & vivid in my mind


my name is good old chuck & i can look you in the eye, boy &

i thought about the nature of the past & how anyone can see it

however they want to see it, so his version is as real as mine,


& for a moment i considered that maybe he had never said good old

chuck maybe it had drifted in from somewhere else, some other life,

maybe i had just perceived it, maybe it was an impression in my


own mind that was not rooted in reality. so i said do you go by

charles & he said yes, i go by charles & i said so your son is charles

too & he said yeah, but he goes by chuck & i know why he does it


too. & it just he cut off then & stared out into the distance, lost in a

reverie. i was not sure then what part of this was real & what was

just the dream so i stood there for a moment to see if there was


anything more i was supposed to hear. there wasn’t. he said i’m

charles, it’s been nice to meet you brett & i said charles, it has been

a real pleasure & then i gave him the aspirin.




whole inside of everything


i wrote this one high on ubik but when i read it i’ll be sober

yes they siphon all the juices & give off a falser glitter

with a casual serenity as when counting up my breath.


suppose in this one i reflect just as a mirror does, subliminal,

almost at the level of the light as it courses through the

canopy, i am a monkey in the end with lots of clever little


prophecies, if i am whole within my self then i am whole

inside of everything. i wrote this one in a trance down the road

from an old graveyard, in my body there’s the dusk & i am


floating in-between the stations of that cosmic radio, playing

on every different frequency, i can hear them in the quiet.

suppose in this one i refract just as a prism does, spiritual,


spread across a couple of dimensions, i am a universe in the

end with lots of sensory delusions, when at last i know i’m

nothing then i am whole inside of everything.



brett's apartment, where maple was written




maple and other books by brett a. maddux can be purchased at whichiswhypress.com.
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