13.

Koo-Koo is Walking the Wire Again

It's sentiment. It’s structured—peeking
through the meshed windows and the
cracks in the walls.  These prison birds are
Freedom.  They fly: the fence, the twisted

barbs, the razor, the whistles, the sirens. 
They are Freedom with feathers, flocked
into groups, each uniquely hued, and even
the ones with drab, dark ole tufts are teasing,

as the prison birds strut and flaunt to the
crowds of men that keep the butts and roaches
of their choice of acceptable addiction, just to
mix back into the pouches with the fresh

cuttings to maximize the haul until store day. 
These men get the smoke rollin’ and water
boiling to mix with the freeze-dried coffee
crystals, and soon they sit down on stools to

waste the morning with: Barbie, Monica, Boo,
Koo-Koo, Susan, Purple-chested Charlene,
Alisha, and Queen.  The birds are like women;
the men are dreamers.  And the worst thing that

you could do is spook Freedom away before the
mornings gaze upon is complete.  I once asked
an old head, “What gives?” and he told me,
“Sir, losing the sight of Freedom is a familiar

sense in here, pathos, but to truly find relief is
maddening, yet rewarding, in any form it
chooses to take.”

~Victor Clevenger~

*

12.

A Year and a Half Ago in a Hotel Room

It was a mandatory meeting. I needed it.
We were exposed without bed sheets,
bare asses, and the hands of the clock watched it all
as I licked my lips with spit first, but before I
finished, he had done the same to his,
licked them. 
We lit a cigarette and I held it between my scarred
fingers while we sucked smoke like foreskin
through lips still dry like burnt bread crumbs;
the spit was worthless. 
The room filled with ashes and haze
until the mirror no longer showed my reflection.
I puckered my crusty lips and blew madly
in all directions until the room cleared and
gave view of the mirror once again;
my reflection visible once again,
bare asses visible . . . once . . . again.
I cleared my throat, fingered my nose and wiped my eye;
I read the latest book review from the Plainsman Press,
and it was nicely written. It complemented my
work, so we came to the decision that there
was still a life for us
beyond
these
walls.
Nobody voted for suicide, so I dropped the cigarette
into a cup of water, adjourned the meeting and
untied the rope from the ceiling rafters. 
The Golden Girls were on the television,
laughing, muted in the background.

~Victor Clevenger~

*

11.

 El Gallo (“the rooster”)

St. Peter wanted you at his feet.  
A reminder of faith
                                   and of God.
The frayed feathers and faith.   Faith.  
You scream it.
Louder than the cock’s crow.

I remember sunshine and musky grass.
Sweat that dripped slowly in the summer heat.
St. Peter said he wanted you at his feet.  So he could
always look down and find you.  
There faithfully.  
A reminder of resurrection and rebirth.
What is faith the size of a mustard seed?
Where does it grow to become stagnant
in the belly of a child?
My eyes pop open when you sing,
           with your jump on the sunrise.

If I placed you at my feet I’d have to fight
the urge to kill you.
To ask you why
and to wonder what St. Peter saw in you.

I remember the boiling sunshine and sticky grass.
The way it made the sweat pool off him.
The way I refused to help outside that day.
The way the cock broke the sound barrier
in my ears and in that quiet heavy-breathed moment,
killed God for a child.
I apologize to Peter.  I set you at my feet so I can see you.
So I can’t forget.
So I know how my dark rises.
So I can apologize, to me.
*

10.

El gorrito ("the bonnet")
Ponle su gorrito al nene, no se nos
vaya a resfriar.
Put the bonnet on the baby, lest he
catch a cold.

The   culmination  of   my  coming  out  story
started with a  family  outing and ended  with
my father puffed up like the Hulk,  screaming
at my mother in  the  driveway.    Towering as
ever a short man could.

Naturally, it was her fault I was queer. She’d cultivated that  bee-hive  having  me  around  all
her gay friends.    It’s  where  I   grew  my  bonnet
and where I stored the honey of my desire.

I don’t know that anyone ever told him that if anything,  it  was  the  wasp  in  him,  red,  angry,
and ready to attack…
   whose violent buzz never left my ear.


*

9.

El árbol ("the tree")
El que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.
He who nears a good tree, is blanketed by good shade

I was born heartwood of an Evergreen.
When I smile Cardinals fly from my mouth. 
My branches hold 20 tons worth of pain and I
sway in the wind. 

It cannot hold me down. 

I reach towards the sun.  I am a harbinger.
Heavier and taller and stronger and warmer with each day. 

My heart oozes sap.  My sticky insides rooted. 
The storm released to rip me apart works
itself into fizzle.  Doesn’t realize its rain sustains me.

You cannot climb me.
My shade expands for miles
and in my shadow is where you find yourself,
cool and confused.   I sing with the songbirds.
My leaves fall and inside their descent is where
my laughter grows. 

I was birthed in the dirts of
Texas, San Lois Potosi, Louisiana.
I am larger than my individual parts.
I tower.
I expand.

My bark is renewed.  Your fingertips forgotten.
I dance and the moon is transfixed.   It salivates.
The coyotes howl and inside their sadness my
seedlings sprout. 

The pit of me free.  Crowned with passion.
I reflect stars.  Protect life.   Provide comfort.

The twinkle of constellations reflects off my crown and
I am forever. 

Yo soy eternamente. 


*

8.

Nocturne #1

I tried to bare-hand catch the catfish
but it was elusive as silence.

Dreams are part soiled paper
and cracked egg shells, and
parts of a woman
who misplaced herself
when some people saw no value in her.

The problem with dreams is:
sometimes they are more than real.

~Martin Willitts Jr~

*

7.

Turn, Turn, Turn

(for Mario De Sa Carneiro)

The joy of the seasons rot
as slowly and surely
as paint chips spinning
in a rotting killer's brain.

Those same ones spilling
from your bleeding nostrils
as you wave to the stitched
dummy hung in your tailor's
window,

and perhaps a little
to the gasping
missionary
encased
within.

And the mirror you pass
every later afternoon,
spotty with mildew,
shaded with Death's
long, warted nose….

~John Thomas Allen~

*

6.

Michael Moore's Next Documentary
(The Hours)

The woodpecker has developed
a taste for soft tissue.
He sits on my nose
and we stare at one another,
the only two things alive
in this landscape.

Spongy trees droop
towards dust unmarred
by the tracks of snakes,
or even fleas;
what was once a river
is now a sluggish trickle,
a trail of green sludge
in a cracked bed.

Years ago my last
companion, a defrocked priest,
offered one final communion.
He hacked off his fingers
for bread, offered a Dixie cup
of dust as wine.
We choked, of course,
spat out digits,
but the dust went down
like fine claret, washed away
our sins, or at least
our memories of commission.
He ascended a pure
and wealthy man.

I have lost my taste for all
but this dust, and the memory
of my collared companion
will soon be absolved. As will I,
the hollows of my cheeks reflected
in my hands, my chest.

The woodpecker cocks its head,
feet shift. He sizes up my eye.
One strike and it will all be over.


5.

Toxic Bubbles

At a popular vacation resort
trying to shed their worries
heading down to the beach
with towels and sun tan lotion
a young couple’s lives
were to change dramatically
in ways very unexpected
on that balmy July afternoon
discovering not a blue but
a fluorescent yellow ocean
tasting a bit like banana soda
not seeing the camouflaged
octopus until it started turning
a bright red as it emerged
from the seltzer-like water
sliding onto the sandy shores
to release thousands of eggs
inching closer to them with
tentacles flailing so wildly
grabbing at bare feet until
finally catching one of them
quickly attacking his body
all that was left at the end
was his lover’s footprints
marking her great escape

~Lorraine Cipriano~

*

4.

Emergency Airship Landing

Following enormous crack
almost in the middle of the earth
leading right to the destruction
entering the decrepit jail house
where half-bodied zombies
don flying goggles and remnants
of Edwardian suits dangle
tattered caramel moleskin
on rotting flesh so grotesque
their screams muffled in the dark
noticing her sister in the midst
and not ready to admit that
this new reality is happening
yet knowing the time has come
shutting the door to the cell
strapping on the gas mask
ignoring the tears as memories
of happier moments flash by
rubbing rosary beads in pocket
saying the quickest of prayers
carefully aiming the tesla pistol
a flamethrower in disguise
letting it all go for now

~Lorraine Cipriano~

*

3.

Insomniac Sonnet #26

“There’s not nothing,” we tell ourselves, on fire
with waking dreams of life and drowning in
our teeming cells, their little deaths. “The wire
is in the blood,” we say, like skulls that grin
in movies, pointing at a satellite.
“This implant in my dick, the aliens put
it there last week. My tandem angels fight,
and every seventh thought is sex.” The soot
keeps powdering down, and all this chimney is
is breath. The clock, the rain tick-ticking, clean
as dead men’s fingers on the window screen. . . .
We think it never stops, the manic fizz,
the plop of thoughts in mossy wells, the smell
of skin on wrinkled linens, bed as hell.


*

2.

Do you wonder

while your hands are wrapped
around his throat, pale fingers
pressed deep into his olive skin
his cheeks dusking dead plums,
whether you should leave
a cherry in his limp jaw?

What should your calling card be,
what will history remember?
An ordinary, cheap suit? Your shoes
never quite fit right. He’s quiet,
nondescript, he kept to himself,
really, you’d never know he was

at night, muffling the screams,
at night, he’s deciding whether
a burn mark on the wrist or
fruit in the mouth make for
a more beautiful bridegroom,
ushered into the pit of the dead.

*

1.

Midnight in the garden

She’s got it down to a science. Craigslist, late at night, looking for the perfect cocks. She clicks casual encounters, m4w, she looks for men of few words, just a dick and a number, sometimes discreet, married, ddf, adventure, just42nite, she especially loves wife out of townI wanna use you like a used up whore, up for fun 2nite?

She knows it when she sees it. It’ll be rock hard, slightly curved, a tip just right, plump and bulbous, and she will reply with a convenience store cell phone. I’ve got a fetish for outdoors, you know. I want to be in my back yard, at night, drinking a glass of champagne. You’ll know it’s me because I will be wearing nothing but a sheer pink teddy. Would you like to see? I’ll even write your name on a piece of paper and put it on my lap, so you know it’s me. She’ll text a photo, long legs, perky, perfect tits, m4wMatt written on her lap in red ink, white card stock. Today’s date.

If they want a rape fantasy, she’ll provide. If they want a photo of her fingers pressed into her cunt, she’ll provide. This luring, this come-hither, this coming to yes, this is the fun of it all.

She gives them her address, and challenges them to come anytime between midnight and two AM. When you come, knock on the back gate only. I’ll be outside.  Knock six times, and wait for me to say come.

She wraps her head in a white scarf. She waits. She is patient.

She will know them by their knock. Come, she says. Her chair faces the garden gate, just a tall evergreen hedge behind her, framing her body perfection inside the pink slip. She’s already excited, if they could see her face, they’d see the quickening in her cheeks, the glow of her eyes, the parting of her lips. ComeTake out that cock, let me see you make it hard.

They are so eager to fuck her. Her hands are on her breasts, she kneads them for the benefit of this evening’s cock. Harder, she says, urging him on. I want it beautiful, like your photo. Make it huge, make it just for me. And then come here.

When the glistening drop of precum makes its way to the tip, she knows it is at its best. She says, yes, yes. Now. My babies now, you may have him now.

Inevitably, the man isn’t listening. All he hears are her murmurs, her encouragement, her need as she takes off her scarf, freezing him at this moment. His erect cock. His look of terror. Pants sometimes around the ankles, and sometimes, no pants at all.

The satisfied hissing around her ears as her babies feast upon the rest of his life, that which she froze out of him. Their satiety.  She finishes herself off, too, licks her fingers, and moves him behind the hedge into the yard. Her collection, her garden. She surveys it with satisfaction and finds a chisel. This one’s navel will make a wonderful pot for crocuses. Next to him, a tall, slim statue, legs wrapped with English ivy. Over time, she knows, the ivy will make its way to the head and provide a glorious head of hair.

Inside her shed, she finds a pot on brass hanger, spilling over with peonies. She hangs it on the brand new addition. She lights a match, burns his name, m4wMatt. She throws the disposable cell phone into a pot in the shed, listens for the fssssh of dissolving in acid. She keeps her marble tools there too. The acid keeps them clean, good for blunting unwanted bits off her statues. A collar that looks out of place.  Glasses obscuring the face.  An unwanted nose.

Somehow, her statues never remember to take their cell phones out of their pockets – it’s become part of them now.  Sometimes she leaves these, and sometimes she chips them away, chipping here and there, creating perfection.

She calls it her midnight garden – equal parts topiary and sculpture garden, equal parts memory and vengeance.  The town believes she is a sculptor. She sculpts the things which come in the night.

15 comments:

  1. Awesome poetry on this page! I especially like 'Evidence.' Thanks for the inclusion with such talent!

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  2. Thank you for being within the flock.

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  3. So many great poets. I love what you guys are all about. On a scale of one to ten, Myna is a thirteen! Looking forward to the next issue.

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  4. It's an honor to be included. Thank you.

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  5. Thank YOU. Feel free to submit again in the future.

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  6. I really love this and hope you will continue this series. Thank you for asking. This is exciting!

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  7. Thank you Charles. You should also feel free to submit in the future, with any poems you think might fit. You know what the title and the cover derive from, right? Lynchian-ness. :)

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  8. Proud to be associated with your beautiful journal. Thank you Juliet for the publication.

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    1. Thank you for being a part of it, Debasis.

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  9. Juliet, thank you for including me here. I really enjoy the diversity. In this grouping I particularly enjoyed Erin Renee Wahl's #4 piece, "Adhesive Climax."

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  10. These are all great, "Shake Awake the Sandman" in particular.

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  11. So lucky to be in this flock with the rest of these amazing poets. You've created the most bada$$ of poetry communities here, Ms. Juliet. Love my fellow poets!

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  12. What a wonderful series of poetry! I feel lucky to have been part of this flock! Thanks so much for including me!

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  13. Thanks for including me, Juliet.

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