Tony Mancus

Tony Mancus is the author of a handful of chapbooks. In 2008, he co-founded Flying Guillotine Press with Sommer Browning. Currently he co-curates the In Your Ear reading series with Meg Ronan in D.C. He lives with his wife Shannon and three yappy cats in Arlington, VA.



the problem with being a part of something you don’t know is life


you can kill or not kill the ants
the ants can carry away the picnic or they can be removed from the picture

there’s more than this.

do not reply police.

there is the lamp and then there is what’s burning
to the touch. what severance
package did you expect?

how to will the knives:
harken back to the cut, once. and always to the cut

I am swearing and then still
in bed
it’s a fortunate way
to read
a fortune – the cookie cracks even

but it’s not one of those old circular slide projectors, this life,
even though it is ‘yes and’

we can both reminisce about this right now

one click into the dark and whatever sheet will be capable
of transport into the log of travel forever

I name the wall and what hands have built and where
then the crumble is coming

call it a shoulder facing the future

but the written body is just a jumble of words against the white white backdrop
as someone said

you can’t do that anymore

sliding between first and second person like ice between the ships of perspective
it’s ink dark, the sea there
and your eye, what’s cornered in by its center circle

there’s no good ending
errors we’ve come to never mind

finding this ‘yes and’
all of us stumbling among the ruin



Some Safety Net


Make it the truth that cannot be
stomached. Make it the water
bared of it sheeting. Make it the form
of a thousand black children.
Their dreams projected – what happens
to grapes when they wither – some say
wine some say sugar. To be the true
caption of the photo, what is broken
with so few hammers. A question asked
of the general idea of nail. What is broken
among the boards and sleep walking.
Awake in the terror. Some say words
cannot capture. Some forget what
they’re saying mid sentence

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