Instinctive drowning response.

sea water blue sun

Hands press down
flapping like a silly bird,
I can’t stop paddling-
dumb mouth open,
red eyes gawking at the sun.

Panic burns my thighs
but I wonder,
how is hope so heavy
when my lungs are full of foam.

It’s so quiet here,
just a small ripple
in a vast and indifferent undertow.

No one notices
no one sees
no one hears
I don’t think
I can save myself.

© Nancy Botta, 2018


It’s no longer baby blues if you haven’t showered in weeks.

adult black and white darkness face

Mommy please!

No baby
mommy’s tired,
the edges of the bed
no longer exists,
and I don’t know how
to wake from the dead.

But mommy—

Oh sweetie, I wish
I knew how to pump life
into tired skin,
or how to answer
for six weeks
(or is it six months)
of crumbling within.

But daddy says—

I know what daddy says,
rather loudly I might add,
he’s been sure to remind me
that if I keep this up,
I’ll be a lonely stranger
to his new family.

Mommy please!

Honey please go
build a fort, or something
and later we’ll dance in it,
I just need
to close my eyes again
and lay down for a little bit.

© Nancy Botta, 2018


Oh my God, shut up Susan.

people drinking liquor and talking on dining table close up photo

Small talk
about the holidays
new year, new you
maybe you’ll go paleo—
there’s no way out of this room

Small talk
about the weather
mudslides and ice patches
maybe you’ll buy new boots—
there’s no way out of this exchange

Small talk
about the community
the alderman is up for re-election
maybe you’ll remember to vote—
there’s no way out of this moment

Small talk
about the neighbors
always screaming and banging
maybe you’ll call the cops later—
there’s no way out of this script

If I could
I would fold myself up
slip through the walls
and disappear forever
but you’re here, talking at my face
with the expectation of geniality
so just give me a moment
to think up some bullshit
just give me a moment
to breathe.

© Nancy Botta, 2018


No one reads the EULA.

photography of macbook half opened on white wooden surface

It’s unnerving that algorithms
can tell us what we’re thinking,
that we’ll upload autonomy
for One Touch Checkout Pay®.

It’s upsetting that someone
is always listening,
and far flung flotsam
voyeur under corporate sway.

But the true perversion
is stepping up for digital auction,
because privacy never mattered
to a generation conditioned to click ‘okay’.

© Nancy Botta, 2018



lights abstract curves long exposure

I’ve slipped out of the static
but before I go
I just wanted to tell you that
I know that’s not me in there,
some derivative is wearing my skin,
pantomiming the idea of me.

I don’t remember when it began
I just know
that I became more defined
with each grey crested day-
on and on and on
a copy of a simulation of a facsimile of a reflection-
the generational loss of a magnetic tape
dissipated to a thin white line,
the bleed through of the waking world.

I’m not the one glitching anymore
and I know that now,
I know who I am
I am
free and vibrant
shimmering with obscene colors.

© Nancy Botta, 2018.


Compound fracture.

abstract break broken broken glass

I’m content to neglect
my willpower’s fracture,
and let bacteria grow
in a scabbed up suture,
because I face planted dirt
(and blinked back moisture)
trying to live with conviction
that limps like a creature.

© Nancy Botta, 2018



action art black dark


AOL 4.0, Town Square Chat Room, 12:17 AM

Shes’s looking for an answer
to her lonely adolescence,
by shooting wishful invitations
into a sea of ASCII dicks.

She’s looking for the frisson
of a soul-struck witness,
something more than KooLMiKe86
asking ‘wanna cyber? u got any pics?’

She’ll find progs, bots, and pedophiles
maybe a digital boyfriend or two,
but she’ll never find her 8 bit kinship,
even the dial-up world has its cliques.

©Nancy Botta, 2018