person Lee Patterson, two poems

Lee Patterson‘s poetry has recently appeared in Hobart, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Entropy, The Airgonaut, and Unbroken, among others. His chapbook, I get sad, will be published by Ethel Zine in late 2019.


an essay about scientology

sometimes jaden smith’s dad doesn’t know
the difference between an alien or a robot.
he’s killed both, obviously, though never
at the same time. are there alien robots?
this is something jaden smith’s dad thinks
about on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.
would it even matter?
jaden smith’s dad supposes not.
these days his heart hurts from not laughing enough.
he hates that he’s never been offered the role
of the voice of god or won an oscar or tasted milk
so fresh his bones grew twice as strong.
jaden smith’s dad wants to be better in real
life—after the cut!, after his makeup is removed
& the publicity tour is over.
these days the only thing jaden smith’s dad is able
to take solace in is the fact that one day,
as his spirit keeps living, his body
will take a new shape. jaden smith’s dad will
always experience tomorrow.


an essay about process

a ladder falls from the sky. something should come
after that, like a ladder falls from the sky
& I climb it, as 1 tends to do when standing
in front of a ladder, & when I climb
the ladder there sits god, all 3 parts
of him, playing nba 2k19 on his ps4, mumbling
about kawhi going hollywood & the seeding
dilemma between conferences, & should the league
forego the 1-&-done rule, & really,
what constitutes goat status—rings? stats?
era played?—& will charles barkley make a cameo
in space jam 2? & this is where god pauses
the game, sets down his controller & says,
it was hinkie who died for your sins.
I nod as god swallows the entire preseason,
kyrie’s flat earth, christian laettner’s gold
medal, the entire los angeles skyline.


person Lee Patterson, two poems

Lee Patterson‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Airgonaut, Thin Air Magazine, and Entropy, among others. His chapbook, I get sad, is forthcoming from Ethel Zine in late 2019. Lee can be reached at


an essay where I compare myself to a tree

on the front page of the paper, a headline: beauty got drunk last night, cheated on itself. sometimes people are in love & sometimes people are just people. I have been everything at least once. I will be some things twice but only one thing tomorrow. the day after tomorrow I will be a magician, a wand, a saw cutting myself in half. the volume in my memory keeps getting softer as everything in me hardens: skin, jaw, the hipbone connected to my neck-bone. I twist & forget how to shout. I haven’t loved in reverse since I took pills in fast forward, but I’ve been sick longer than I haven’t, alive for so long I don’t know how I haven’t spoiled yet. these days I am realizing I am not much different than a tree, drowning in a drought. I am never not watered enough.


an essay that starts with the onset of & ends in a dream
—for my grandfather

finding your house keys in the fridge.
in the microwave. in the pocket
of a pair of jeans you never remember
owning. waking up crying
because you’re still in love
a month later. 6 months later.
2 years later. forgetting how to breathe.
forgetting the capital of wyoming &
which ocean california crashes into.
forgetting children.
the last argument you had with your mother.
remembering that you forget.
forgetting love. the thank god that follows.
finding your house keys in the sock
drawer, in every smith’s lyric,
between the sky & what falls from it.
a dream, in a stupid dream.


person Lee Patterson, one poem

Lee Patterson is a poet living in the northeast.


a dialect, a draw

you let ohio keep its fireflies so they can see their lovers’ skin even as the power flickers. I watch a deer with a bum leg hobble across one of the dakotas. somehow, georgia got most of new hampshire sunburnt while colorado drunkenly stumbled across a time zone no one’s ever heard of before. I drove through alabama once & was asked to never do it again. mississippi is one large billboard with a plastic fetus glued to it. I am always reaching for a new pack of cigarettes. the midwest is tornado’s tomorrow. look up. every cloud is a boombox held over my head. look around. you can find wilderness everywhere. or is it anywhere? is anywhere everywhere if the sun eventually finds it? the clock blinks eights. the bathroom smells like green soap. a sticky note on my computer screen reads a bomb is falling & I know exactly where.