The Poetry of David Van Etten

Updated: May 15, 2019

By David Van Etten:


Flapper Press is proud to feature the poetry of David Van Etten!



Rude boy


Public stoning is like the compulsory

draft: if we’re all doing the deed, we

better mean it. I pulled a good, long

pour before returning to my spot in

the bar light. If you’ve never opened

with a power ballad, you’ve never been

here before. I got stuck in the stairwell

without my badge. In ancient Thebes,

they'd kill you for mourning the wrong

person. Gudrun’s dad contacted every

joint in greater Stuttgart trying to bury

his daughter. I didn’t mean any harm

when I retweeted open mic night at

Your Mom’s Gas Chamber starring your

face emoji. I can’t tell where our hearts

will someday harbor. But these bread

crumbs fall lightly across the hillside like

snow flakes. Rhyging was the original

rude boy but King David ruled the cuts.

The raw steak of night hangs heavy.

Heaven is dependable but has a wild

streak. My life will bury everything

I once loved. All you can do is stand

before strangers and twist the blue

burlap inside you. You’ve been here

before but forget when the song starts.


Bald torso

The carbon life of this parchment

is forever but invisible. I made

a pact with the dealer: my blood

for your antigens. In the casbah,

blue jeans; in