Nicole Connolly

I Joke That Poets Will Be Some of the Last People Replaced by AI Because We Don’t Trust Robots Enough to Give Them Bipolar Disorder Quite Yet

for torrin a. greathouse

                                                                                               how inexpensive
a robot’s death will need / to be               before their creators / are willing
                      to admit they made them              all harsh glare & all harsh rust //

they will not build                            the robots until replacing them
              costs less / than either                     of our funerals // how cheaply
we will burn / how too tight                    with gasoline all these
              vessels feel even on us / born                          to carry them //

the robots // they will not      need / to burden themselves with     rocks
before they walk            into the ocean / to die //              until then
                  they will write           about bathtubs      they are not allowed
to have /           their feelings toward                    the Delivery Drone
& how like a bird she           is made        light enough to fly by
                            the hollowing / out                   of everything unnecessary //

no one will blaspheme             their hands on these robots          until no one
needs / to be      forgiven          for anything // what they could have
                                done differently will fit                   next to checkboxes //
no one will              have to change out        of their neutral blue
              polos       on a Sunday // on Monday maybe          someone will turn
                  a penny-sized dial                                  a bit to the left //

no one will bother /      with the bipolars until               these creators can go
                scuba diving / take pictures            of themselves
in a new kingdom / resurrected coral             grafting the self-drowned
robots a new           neon skin // if our bones

                                                                               end up sunk   there / no one
                     will notice them / so tight they will be
with tedious barnacles // these pictures          will accompany
Christmas-       in-July cards // these were my bodies /
               they will say /                                                 thumbs up & shutter /
                   I gave them up


Mania is a Trust Fall into the Arms of an Unloving God Wherein I am the Fallen & the God

why else that passage in psych-soc-anthro-101                    “some cultures revere
the mentally ill etc         for their connection etc             to the divine etc” / anyway

isn’t that why you’re              wary? / yes anyone could be                a first-born son
in my egypt / & confession                there were years         it seemed the world

was a forlorn riverbed                  yearning for the return            of its lava & studly
horsemen /              & wasn’t it my revelation /                  I left a grilled cheese

to smolder overnight &           rose unignited              to never get so drunk again /
even if they do call it praying               to the porcelain god / anyway             I can

humble myself small         enough for anyone to fit            their arms around me
& call it a halo / yes                    I am anyone’s good wife / even if              scientists

feed mice pcp to make them          act like me / o it’s why              they call it angel
dust /     it’s just there are barbs        from a seraph’s wing                  where my dna

should be /           it’s just that there is no weather                          except a brass band &
sometimes I am followed                by an army of shine only                    I can see / it’s not

the pearls             I dream of anyway / it’s the sin of turning                      wine to water


I Don’t Know Why My Internet Algorithms Suggest Articles About How to Keep Teens in the Faith

even a church this old keeps                  an immaculate bowl of holy water
one way to remind us               every tradition measures its success
in the count of living + dead // these days my father face & holy spirit
shoulders                             repel such damp & blessed fingers
                                                        when I was younger, my father supervised
each application like a prescription // yes ritual-by-ritual
he cauterized the little devil                             jigging & hoofing within me
masses & bible studies & youth groups                       the whole nine yawns

child of darkness                 I crossed my fingers under the table
during grace // I wanted God to know                      my portion
of the prayer was useless                    as seawater to the stomach

               it is perfectly common to say God is fire                            yet stupefying
to watch one’s father burn up         in the gasoline of his faith // every day
after church                      we thought he might kill us
with his hollers & bloodface & car pedals           a terrible angel song
only the dead                  or nearly dead                           can hear

child of darkness               I trained my sister to become a fireman
by dressing her in all her clothes at once                             getting her
used to the heat                              it was always my turn next           & never
my turn // she learned something I didn’t
                                                               coal walking       or tricking the church
out of checking its wristwatch                 & telling her when
to ash away         her own boyfriend or solstice feast        or name

grown-up of darkness                   even now religious chatter illuminates
a macabre              stained-glass window in my heart // a spear of light
keeps Jesus’s red side                        always bleeding


Nicole Connolly lives and works in Orange County, CA, which she promises is mostly unlike what you see on TV. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, and her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in such journals as Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Waccamaw, Pretty Owl Poetry and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She currently serves as Managing Editor for the poetry-centric Black Napkin Press.