Poetry: Constellation by Tyler Dettloff

The speaker in “Constellation” aims for the stars through an attempt at street graffiti. Flustered, the speaker elaborates on their transformation in the city: “I became smoke & stars & heart / all wonder and permanent pleiades.”



I tried to tag DECOLONIZE in the bike path tunnel under 7th St. / a black marker pointillism / black bandana over my face couldn’t decry the King Sharpie head rush / I heard police footfalls / polished cuffs on leather belts jingle-jangled / a small drum in my breast pocket / four honor beats / the cops turned into pigs / fled to the field / sharpie went dry / smell replaced by moss & tobacco / a giant leaf covered my face / green and sticky / dewy medicine hid me / I became the plant in full-bloom / trumpet flowers demolished his master’s voice /  the pigs turned into bears / the tunnel a stream / my feet rooted underwater / under someone’s song / I gave the singer my leaf / I became smoke & stars & heart / all wonder and permanent pleiades / transfixed in clustered heat / I sneezed honey combs for thick bear fat / paisley medicine aching for relief from the dirt

Tyler Dettloff

Tyler Dettloff (Anishinaabe Métis/Italian) is a musician and poet from the swampy Delirium Wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His sophomore LP “Dynamite Honey: Northern Folk & Blues” was released November 2020 by Lost Dog Records and his first chapbook of poems “Belly-up Rosehip: a Tongue Blue with Mud Songs” released August 2019 through Swimming with Elephants Publications. Tyler is an Assistant Professor of English at Lake Superior State University. He enjoys walking the woods and beaches with his wife Daraka and daughter Meadow and through swamps with his dogs Banjo and Fiddle. He performs as a one-man-blues-band and likes the smell of a bog before a thunderstorm.

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