Lead by John Amen

How far would I have to drive — and where would I have to search — to truly find myself? What horrors would I find along the way?

Photo Courtesy Brian Landis

John Amen


I drive a flatbed in Nelson’s Lair,
looking for marbles, shine, the kind of saw
you bend into a song over bad coffee
& a blowtorch. You could call it selective
memory, the lull of aftermath,
but there’s a nation of ice
between me & the free road.
A Jungian would have a field day w/ this.
A purist would say sit still until you disappear.
I poured smoke into my throat,
like giving a murderer my house key,
I fled downriver, floating in my father’s rafters.
I begged St. Monica & the stars,
years lost in the Lower Burrows,
the hand that plucked me from the thick white line,
the pipe & chasing glass.
In the beginning, I learned a safeword,
it’s taken me a long time to use it.

Toast was a weekly email newsletter that ran from July 2018 to March 2019. All of the pieces from Toast’s run and more can be read in Solo Novo 5/6.

  • Glenna Luschei, Abiding Publisher and Editor Emeritus
  • Benjamin Daniel Lawless, Editor in Chief
  • Tom Harrington, Contributing Editor
  • Rena Ferro, Managing Editor
  • Brian Landis, Photographer and Advisor