Category: surreal

Baby Blue

She gave birth to a baby
missing his third eye but
with remarkably imitative skin–
as he grew, he often looked
like Rock Hudson or Rex
Harrison or Clark Gable
(though his mother wasn’t a fan,
thinking Clark Gable looked like
a well-dressed monkey), always
morphing into men from Hollywood’s
golden age, eschewing anyone new

all because his mother had gone
to pray at Forest Lawn and fallen
asleep and an unholy ghost had
overshadowed her, filling her with
life and deep sorrow as she murmured,
“I am the Handmaiden of The Hills,
be it done unto me according to thy
lustful will,” a fate set not so much
in stone as celluloid, stretching to
accommodate all the pain and beauty
splashed so recklessly across the screen.

The Tale of a Grandson

His grandmother poured salt into
his eyes and shipped him of to St. Alphonso’s
Home for Boys Blinded by Their Grandmothers
and there he flourished, rising to the
top of his class and deciding to stay
even after graduating, and so he never
knew the world, and the world was poorer for it.

Yesterday’s Spider

I worry about the smallest of things
like the wound yesterday’s spider
incurred when it tumbled to the ground
and bent its leg backward and let out a tiny
spider moan that I somehow heard and knelt on
the floor and whispered, “I am so sorry
that happened, the world is a terrible place.”

Eating In

I decided that an apron
wouldn’t do as I entered
the kitchen, so I wore your
recently-shed skin instead.
It didn’t really fit, but I
didn’t complain, and look,
what a nice soufflé I made!
Your new skin itched, but you
remained silent as a stone.
And so we ate, avoiding each
other’s gaze, as darkness fell.

An Evening with Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz

“Break some glass and come on in, there’s
there’s plenty more to break here!” Mrs. Kurtz
said and cut a bloody pirouette across the foamy
carpet made glorious summer by this son

of a York Peppermint Patty–Mr. Kurtz–strutting
like the cock of the walk around the shards of glass,
carrying on some counterpoint to her nonsense,
he being vaguely aware of how silly they both were.

Guiltily, we grabbed some drinking glasses and
shattered them against the fireplace, the sound
reverberating and spreading like panic in a crowd,
and we sobbed without knowing why except our

hosts were crying, also, showing us their bleeding
hands and feet, Mr. Kurtz wounded even in his side,
and we decided that we could worship them–they
would do nicely as deities, since all others had failed us.

Love/Hate

Love/Hate

“How can you hate what I love?” she asked
draped over the sofa, ellipses stuck in her throat…

“Because I hate everything,” he answered
and deposited a lifetime of trust in an off-shore
account that the instantly forgot existed.

She thought about his words, and then she
thought about her relationship to the words,
so she took a powder and disappeared somewhere

up north, and he collected fall-out shelters
and moved among them like a wanted man.

A Blue Affair

It was such a blue affair,
irrelevant, really…or

irrelephant, you said as
you traipsed off into the wild

green of the surrounding hills
and called to those mighty

bastions of memory and deep
sadness, keepers of burial

grounds which sprout stones
like pale, strong flowers, like tusks,

like the very bones of redemption…
or so you said, one unforgivable

morning when nothing was right
with the world but you still loved me.

Dinner Date

By the time your mother invited me over
and baked her famous blood casserole,
I had already invented the art of recycled
pain, jettisoning any hope that we would
have a normal love or even a normal day,

so it wasn’t weird when your mother–
a member of the Guilt of the Month Club,
standing there with oven-mitted hands,
offering us her family history baked into
savory strangeness, some relative of hers

gasping out culinary horror– spooned
giant heaps of the stuff onto our silvery plates,
and we ate dutifully, aware of the darkness
clotting our throats, making it hard to breath,
let alone swallow the years of agony in each bite.

At Last, Lunch With You

There is a teeny bit
of mayonaise left for
your intestine sandwich.
Holy crow, that’s some
good stuff, especially

from the bellies of stupid,
fat, and juicy people.
“Ewww!” you scream.
“That’s gross! What
the hell’s wrong with you?”

“The underside of naked
mole rats in heat,” I reply,
“is gross, as in the inside
of a mongoose’s eyeball.
It’s pasty and not at all fragrant.”

For that, you relegate me
to the Hinterlands of Ill-Omens
and I… I take the suicide less
contemplated, and that will
make none of the headlines.

My Brain on a Polaroid

I can’t see because the ocean
is covering my eyes again as I
try drowning for the tenth time–
the other nine were abject failures,
and I shot to the surface, breaking
the water with my moony face
upturned and desperate for air
instead of welcoming in the water.

I have learned since then, and as
I open my mouth this time, I see
an image…a Polaroid picture of my
brain, and I remember standing in
the backyard of my grandmother’s
house, waving that little square of
paper, waiting for the picture to appear.