Three Poems by Cody Stetzel

These three poems by Cody Stetzel are working through the manifestation and the symbol of bears, their misunderstood natures and the odd relationship humans have had with them throughout modern times. Through learning about the habitation and biology of bears, these poems offer a glimpse into their metaphysical nature, a type of ecomelancholy, startled and intrigued by the unknown and direly struggling against the known…

by: Cody Stetzel


Fate starts a fire to see it contained.

Fortune is catching a good, downward gust
++++knock it out as soon as it ignites.

Disfortune is following the charcoaled trails.

Unfortune has the flame warp the world into a funnel.

If you look ahead, sometimes there happens
++++a rabbit. Just to the right, a foot off the trail.

++++And it runs. That’s the thing with the animal —
+++++++++everywhere is the path if you can run through it.

Disfortune is spooking the rabbit early,
++++crinkling the wrapper.

Fortune is getting within five feet of the thing.



I offer my children the golden and I,
maw, absorb the silverrod. The value-spectrum distances
like an orphan. I place my need upon the ground
and they feast on it. The day
is my nemesis – while it deranges me, I prefer it
to the indiscrete variety of antagonism.
My paws crackle a sunspot four-thousand times a week
at night the star light begs for exception.
Its exceptionalism is implied. That there can be no
absolute dark. That absolution exists within whims and
minor treasures.

An event is what can happen and be recovered from.
Each season my territories emaciate. I fear the fools
coating the green in a glossy veneer, the terror
it invokes by reflecting not figures but monsters
clawing each other, creating colors and boundaries to paint
over the staunch, rancid vermillion they radiate.
Pearls of tar, an enclosure is guaranteed
protection for only the hour you find yourself within.
The joy they throttle themselves for.

I offer my children the lizard’s tail and
find relief in the arrowwood. All these
horrible names commodifying our lives,
the pain we are left in.

Even now.
Braisers of annihilation implicate terror on our manes
as though the jaw drips with a lacquer of blood
and the theorists haven’t planted a sequoia, haven’t
germinated the elderberries, haven’t given up
painting their faces in layers over layers over layers
of fallout.


Anger & Teaching

In the event of rain, I’ve been
known to get more wet
Calliope, king of Sunflowers, presented
omens of the promised North. And I have found
++++love, making me bear six additional eyes;
++++paranoia and circumstance like the older
++++brothers one wants to learn and
++++surpass the violence of;
++++ambition, bright ambition, for the sake
++++of the next inhabitor of my spirit;

Give me your largest puddle.
Drench my bones and then drench the fat
residing therein. I will never dry and
in my dampness further
move through impedance,

move North
and intend further yet.
like the burs in Spring,
waiting on this readerly beast
to spread their song.

I could not have thought through
the provocations I would utter.


Cody Stetzel is a Seattle resident working as managing editor for Five:2:One Magazine and a staff book reviewer for Glass Poetry Press. He received his Masters in Creative Writing for Poetry from the University of California at Davis. His writing can be found previously in Boston Accent Literature, Aster(ix) Journal, and more. Find him on twitter @pretzelco or at his website

0 replies on “Three Poems by Cody Stetzel”