Notes From Alabama Song: Nick Flynn and SA Hinson

by Nick Flynn June 13, 2018
SA Hinson, 2018

SA Hinson, 2018

Ed. note: The following is the second installment of a series titled ‘Notes From Alabama Song.’ Over the course of 2018, Glasstire will run pieces by writers in relation to a new series of shows appearing at the Houston art space Alabama Song. The pieces, presented here as companion writings about the shows, are commissioned and edited by Gabriel Martinez, artist and director of Alabama Song. Read the first installment here

The following is by Nick Flynn.



I’ve tried to dream this lake

into existence

for years &

here it is, ta-da, illuminated

briefly beneath our

flare. You

show me the birds that live


If you don’t know how
to walk, you whisper,

you could break 

them . . . . You put

a hand on my chest & I

hear the lake, you

put a hand on my scar & I hear

the ground, seeming to breathe

you. Press

harder, I say, until I don’t know

if my shoulders are the birds or if

my chest is their burrow

or if your hands put them there,

but at some point my body is

not empty

& it wants things poured over

or down its throat . . . . What if

it never was about

finding our way back,

but about our eyes becoming

accustomed to this black

water? Here’s

the thing: when I woke up

you were gone—it’s

okay, everyone’s gone

eventually—but, after, when

I tried to put my own hand on

my chest, when

I tried not to break

anything, I was a ghost touching

a ghost

& the thing is I didn’t know I was

a ghost until your hands

found me & now it has nowhere

to go . . . . Now

whatever those birds are

will simply . . . what? Return

to where they’ve been




‘SA Hinson: Intervals’ appeared at Alabama Song in Houston from April 21 – May 5, 2018. All artwork by SA Hinson, 2018. Photography by SA Hinson.

UNGHOSTED, by Nick Flynn, 2018, from I WILL DESTROY YOU, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. Flynn’s other works published by Graywolf can be found here.


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