Dictation from Noise #16 and #17

by Mackie Garrett

Dictation from Noise #16 

Sometimes, some places spanning 
when & where, between shouts 
& sirens, glass shatter 
& new blood’s bright quiet. 

I’ll stoop to gather 
all the tiny, sharp bits, leave 
this corner a little 
cleaner than.

Dictation from Noise #17

A heavy padlock speaks 
mistrust in the hands 
that place& pass over, let 
precious things slip or stick 
to an eager grasp. 
Out of sight, your lock invites 
prying fingers to the box 
where your best thing’s hid. 

A friend from a tougher town 
might advise: leave your door 
unlocked, stow your shit 
out of mind& let night’s hands 
search& depart with the smell 
of nothing-to-take 
driving them home.


Mackie Garrett is a poet, artist, and caregiver based in Iowa City. His poems have appeared in IODINE POETRY JOURNAL, THE FOURTH RIVER, PLAINSONGS, and other journals.  Poems from his Dictation from Noise series recently appeared in SPOON RIVER POETRY REVIEW and SLANT. Mackie designs and letterpress prints zines, chapbooks, greeting cards, and posters as 508 Press. He has taught literature, creative writing, and English as a Second Language to students of all ages at schools, community colleges, and universities in the midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan)  and overseas (rural Jamaica; Shanghai, China). He teaches letterpress printing and zine making workshops at the Iowa City Press Cooperative and dreams of starting a literary magazine soon.