Now available to pre-order from Trembling Pillow Press


What a dream, this new book by Marty Cain, and, like a dream, how difficult to shake: “one enters the wound and begins singing.” Here is Vermont as omphalos, scene of birth and the crime, site where bile, violence, blood, grief, and the dream are circuited towards and away from the boy-body. I admire the lyric intensity, the gorgeousness of this vision, in which literary tradition is interrogated, personal trauma distends the frameboards and the floorboards with its engorged veins, and beauty is a bolus that rises on the gorge of the throat. Disgorged, adorns the throat.

—Joyelle Mcsweeney, author of Toxicon and Arachne




Goodbye Arcadia, holy paroxysm, blue-breasted bird adrift in the rafters where it made a nest and rose a home, my bluebird SHRIEK, my morning SHRIEEEEEK my fragrant days raised like a calf in the sun for all night we dreamed in the front of the bus, our future husbands, our future land, the future bodies we could call our own and moneyless lovers with kneecap stars and gars in the ice, we scrubbed each other’s backs in a tub of brown water and the plaster fell from the ceiling and sank…

One time I was young. One time I drank gin. My body rejected fashion and the violence of skin and I saw a horse with a hard-on look my way, goodbye my semen, goodbye warm feeling which riseth from my rib and drifts like a fox to the frosted window I WILL TAKE YOU AWAY I WILL MAKE YOU MY OWN. We slept all night in the pickup bed. We made a fire inside a tent. God paced with a flashlight thru a stranger’s kitchen, and when he opened the fridge the woundlight came and the lettuce wilted and children died. Everything I saw when I woke was white. Everything I loved when I woke was white. Everything that sprouted hairs in its regulated crotch was the color of the belly of the dried-out toad. I mew like a kitten who prowls in the womb; the Lego house killed us, our driveway killed us and the marks of the peepers were flat on concrete. I sleep in warm water. I sleep before money. I sleep in a pixilated pasture that smells like joy and when I hit the switch it flashes gray…

O don’t tell me you don’t know the finger of god, don’t say you were asleep when we walked in the room, you float like a gator, you play like a possum. You smell like a wound. You fingered the red. I sank into your soul from the ceiling supports. I was scared of sleepovers. The roads were poor. Life was mostly boring but in a beautiful way. I dreamed of a conveyor belt with my supine body in an upstate junkyard and it was nearly dawn, it stretched for miles, it rang phallus production, it rang I was crying, I rang the policemen’s doors and hid in the bushes and those sons of bitches they licked the soil. The mouth broke me down into smaller cells. The mouth broke me down into off-color letters. The mouth broke me down for it knew what to do and when I rise from the grass I am nearly laughing, goodbye fake nostalgia, goodbye gay body, they paint lines of flour along the trails, I swear I despise death and what it does and the shoe growing moss I will not forget you.












I await a God in the back of the bus. I await a blue hand to come through the curtain. I await the rain once I roll from the truck and dream the letters all burned in trees. I dig my feet at the base of the lake. I summon the leeches between my toes. I walk this highway with a pillowcase of clothes and await wild horses from the back of my skull. I close my eyes. I finger the red. The ferns they caught me. The police they caught me. I conjure the crawfish at the base of the brook. I conjure the frog in the houses we made. I await the snow and a muskeg of voices and the radio crackling for cancellations. The transmission it comes like yellow fluid. The transmission it comes like a ribbon from my chest and circles around my parents’ bodies… You’re staying home today spake the Lord and slid his blue hand through the half-open door, he wrapped his hands around my neck, he slid a finger in the hole of my chest and fingerbanged the thicket of my humming heart, the thrushes flew, the dappled light, in my dreams I play all day in the snow and jerk off silently in the dark. The cabins they dim; the holes they shut; the yellow eye of the snowplow coming up the drive, for electrified birch for an inch of ice for an earthbroke heavy and about to come I CLOSE MY EYES I FINGER THE RED. For oil glands rupture my febrile skin. I sit on a milkcrate drinking gin. I await a lancet to break me apart. I await the snowsuit and the immoveable arms, for I looked like Christ when I slid on my belly. For I have the knight and the princess both inside me. For I was a king of infinite space. I came in a jar. I buried it in snow. For I bought an eighth of weed and paid in quarters. Forgive me my mothers and trembling brothers. Forgive me for drinking your mother’s liquor. Forgive the bully who hung me by my ankles. Forgive my snowy sepulcher. Forgive my dead goldfish in funereal snow, for the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh my fluids. Forgive the waters of Youth and Death. Forgive me my host for trying to breathe. Forgive the bears lonely in yonder woods. For boys showing their cocks at the bottom of the road. For the sled comes hard when it comes in this way. For my land is my land you indolent fuck. For my town had nine-hundred living individuals. For my town had one-thousand undead dogs. For my Arcadia exists in my hallowed head. *brain matter splatters the bathroom wall* For my Arcadia exists in my internal lake. For my Arcadia is snot in the back of the bus. For my Arcadia exists in the eyesocket of a doll we found lying in a snowbank by the post office wall. I close my eyes. I finger the red.









Marty Cain is the author of Kids of the Black Hole (2017) and The Wound Is (Not) Real: A Memoir (2021), both from Trembling Pillow Press, as well as the chapbook Four Essays (2019). Individual works appear in Best American Experimental WritingSink Review, Fence, Tarpaulin Sky, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi, and is currently a Ph.D candidate at Cornell University, where he is finishing a dissertation on rural avant-garde poetry collectives. With Kina Viola, he co-edits Garden-Door Press.