Well, this is a dark one.
She twerked her way
into his fibrous heart, or so she
thought—the truth was that
he had no room in his heart
for anything other than hatred
which was the bruised color
of the sky when his mother died
and his father rented his brain out
for $50/month and a blow-job.
Time passed like melting fingers,
and she asked her reflection
every night, “Do I still have a chance?”
The mirror didn’t mind lying,
so it said, “Every chance in the world.”
Like a fish, she was hooked and she swam
daily through false oceans and dreamed
of ancient ship wrecks of which he was
the captain, doomed to endless watery graves.
A Man in Decent Clothes
Somewhere in Ogden, Utah, a calliope plays out of tune and a rubbish whore lies dying in a derelict hospital that pays its doctors in whiskey shots and banned pain meds. In short, all is well in the fucked-over world…
until a man in decent clothes who carries a black comb at all times, who has a silver wrist watch that never needs winding, who collects rare stamps from Middle-Earth, Narnia, and other places too good to be real, enters the blasted scene, takes a breath,
and says, “This can’t go on.”
He claps his hand twice and golden monkeys, no bigger than apples, spring to life from the trees and swarm the hospital. They save the rubbish whore and kill the doctors.
The man in decent clothes nods.
“It’s a start,” he says.
Are you some kind of duke or baron? the forlorn man
in the tweedy jacket and wearing the sunset asks me.
Surely I don’t radiate royalty in my smacked-down
outfit and my hair twisting and shouting like a bad
dance move, my eyeballs gyrating independently
of each other, my tongue confessing crimes at break-
neck speed, my curlicue tail suddenly forked and red
just as the local authorities realize I’ve broken loose.
No, good sir, I’m just an another experiment gone wrong,
I say and lope toward the sinister house on the hill.
It was supposed to be a country move,
but it quickly became continental,
and the girl with the chess-game past
moved into a foreign town with glass walls
and dagger-teeth folks who told stories
by torchlight and prayed away their hunger.
“Will I die here?” the girl asked.
The man with blood-spotted hands replied,
“By and by, young lady, by and by.”
I told my wife I would be happy in a hair shirt.
She denied me. I also told her there was victory
in my icy dominance. She further denied me.
I mastered the art of the plastic do-over,
and she burst into a kaleidoscope of butterflies.
An acquaintance reminded me that he once owned a hair shirt, though he hastened to add that he no longer finds self-mortification an effective means of connecting with his higher power. He still finds cilices intriguing and owns quite a few, but they are merely decorative.
I have nothing to say.
Those are the best poems,
someone a grave over from
me mumbles, his voice
catching with dirt and worms.
I like my men cold, dark, and handsome, you say,
and I tell you I have the cold and dark parts
down pat, but I struggle with the handsome bit.
You shrug and let me in anyway, most likely
figuring I’ll get better-looking the more you
drink, but that isn’t going to happen, my dear.
You’ll have to settle, I’m afraid, which I know
makes you cringe, but there’s nothing to be done.
My core temperature plummets as you wrap
your arms around me and the light bleeds away.
Before my eyes close, you whisper you’re not so bad.
This piece was originally published in Coffin Bell Journal.