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Image by Grant Thomas

CW: Depictions of electroconvulsive therapy

Thoughts at El Matador

There are so many alternative lives. 

I watch the eroding cliffs at El Matador,

a gull swoops too closely. 

What have I become? 

Have I become anything? 

Why do I feel the need to have such identity

or to rebel from identities? 

O, I am twinned to my oblivion

— “God’s remembrance”

What shocks have shook me:

Lucio Bini’s electricity

Courses through the foil of my being

My anesthetized seizings

Erasing the mind’s slate


The nurse swabs my head, sticks

Electrodes on my skull

The heart monitor’s cantabile

As I close my eyes


The anesthetist injects my moly

To vouchsafe my travels

In the underworld

I never wake


DYLAN WILLOUGHBY is a permanently disabled LGBTQIA+ poet, composer, music producer, video producer, and photographer, born in London, England and currently living in Long Beach, CA. Chester Creek Press has published 3 of his limited-edition letterpress poetry chapbooks with illustrations by the hyper-realist painter Anthony Mastromatteo. He has received residency fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell and earned an MFA from Cornell University, where he studied with A. R. Ammons and Robert Morgan. His poems have appeared widely in literary magazines including Agenda (UK), Stand (UK), The Interpreter's House (UK), Shenandoah, Salmagundi, Denver Quarterly, CutBank, Southern Humanities Review, and Green Mountains Review. 
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