“Breakfast With a Skeleton”
I walked down the morning stairs
a skeleton sat at my typewriter
he was turning the wheel
trying to get the paper through
“you have to guide it through.”
I said through a yawn
he looked at me snide
his bone and marrow yellowish from decay
what are you looking at?
you’re a god damn skeleton
he took a sip of coffee
I watched it go into his jaw
through his throat
down his belly
and onto the floor
he’d gotten the paper in
and I could hear him now from the kitchen
he was typing something
I called out
I walked over
he was head-down, still typing
I made the eggs— dashed with some cinnamon
I sat on one end of the table
him on the other
I watched the eggs travel through his body
and splat onto the floor where my dog ate them
“is that, is that cinnamon?”
what was left of his face cringed
“what were you writing?”
“what were you writing?”
he took another bite of eggs and said:
“a body for myself.”
“a body for yourself?”
“a vessel for this hollow, lonely, useless, irritating,
appalling arrangement of calcium.”
“that’s what you were writing?”
“that and a love poem.”
“but how do you write a body?”
I asked him
“the same way you write a love poem,
it writes you.”
I had a sip of coffee
“I like you, skeleton, you should stick around.”
I’ve got to get an x-ray today.”
he showed me his broken arm
“you ever tried writing a love poem with a broken arm?”
“no, but I have with a broken heart.”
we sat in silence
just before he read me his body
and his love poem
I cried during bothRead more "POETRY: KYLE PERDUE – “Breakfast With a Skeleton”"
Theo lived with six roommates.
Half of them thought you were black;
half of them thought you were white.
In the month you found refuge on his sofa,
not one of them ever asked, but you could
read their interpretation based on
how they discussed the pricklier points of race.
None of them had been to Virginia, save for one.
He once shot past Washington, D.C. and
spent a couple of hours in Arlington
before he realized his mistake.
He said the Potomac looked ferocious,
but you were a Rappahannock River girl.
You still didn’t know the bodies of water
that threatened to swallow New York.
In Bushwick, the only drops you saw
lined the gutter and pooled on the sidewalk.
Sometimes the cry of seagulls pricked your ears.
A little lost, the birds had not steered too far off course.
But you never mentioned nature to your unwilling neighbors.
“Lavinia,” said Theo one morning, while lighting a joint,
“It’s been nice, but you have to find an apartment.
Craigslist that shit, girl. It’s not that sketch.”
You stopped chewing your grits (a remnant of home)
and nodded slower than a late-night G train.
“It’s all run together,” you say. “I forgot how long I was here.”
“This city sweeps you up, but you learn to fight it.”
He exhales and you both appreciate the clouds he fashions.
“Where do you want to live?” he finally asks.
“Somewhere where I can see the sky,” you say, surprising yourself.
“Welcome to Brooklyn. No tunnels of building shadows here.”
“As long as it’s cheap,” you say, thinking of closets and slums.
You don’t add that you have nearly run out of savings
because Theo will try to convince you to work at his office,
the call center that lets him reschedule his shifts for auditions.
You didn’t flee to New York to ooze in and out of a 9-to-5.
You didn’t move here to dread every day of your existence.
You came here to revel in textiles, to dress Broadway’s stars,
to tell stories through costumes like you dreamt in school.
“We’ll look at listings and book appointments for tomorrow,”
says Theo in a daze now that the pot has hit him.
“Sure, load me up,” you mutter and grab his joint.
It’s your moment to escape, to surrender
as a speckled seagull shrieks outside.
Read more "POETRY: Christine Stoddard – “Apartment Hunting”"
A new development
in a gated community
promises local jobs,
paying minimum wage
to guard and tend
the manors of privilege,
entry only permitted
to the servant class
in the line of duty.
~Read more "POETRY: GARY BECK – SERVITUDE"
The Most Honest Syllable Is Shhh
Certainly I rinsed the vegetables.
A drummer killed himself
but I’m not even sure
he was a drummer.
The caravan abandoned the camel
in the Target parking lot.
Xanax builds the cornerstone of selfishness
on the diversion of punctuality.
A snake finds a railroad tie, hallelujah!
When working on an orgasm, distractions like the dog
scratching the french door, or the child
opening your bedroom door, or the dryer
beeping, or the washer beeping, or the timer
for the raspberries beeping, or the jazz
interrupted by the news, John Kerry broke his leg
while cycling a stretch of the Tour de France.
The ideal exists in the poems the fewest of us read.
Three people see a poem on a postcard and the national average is rattled.
Not everyone on a sofa with a bong and an acoustic guitar is cool.
I was 10 and hadn’t lost my virginity, sort of.
The Marriage Cycle:
anger proceeded by feisty dignity
followed by sacrifice.
The gangplank of adulthood is sacrifice and feisty dignity.
Children ache for actions of their own making,
not smoke machines but actual smoke.
You aren’t supposed to fast forward anyone
from The Last Waltz.
~Read more "POETRY: TIM STALEY – THE MOST HONEST SYLLABLE IS SHHH"
Time to Quit
I do love my chips and beer
But it’s time to quit
I’ve had bushels and barrels
And been content
But my doc agrees
It’s time to quit
A life of work
A handful of pebbles
My garden needs attention
I only wanted to help
Not sure I did my duty
I’m tired now
Can’t go on forever
Time to quit and yet
My dear, I love you lots
I won’t quit you
I will never quit you
I’ll hang on to keep from drowning
Or dying of thirst.
~Read more "POETRY: Martin Pedersen – TIME TO QUIT"
Glenn Marx & The Swivel Sweeper Max
“Take your cleaning experience to the max!”
You could almost eat off the floors at 44 Samuels Path.
Maybe that’s what Glenn Marx had in mind when
he muted the TV and ordered the Swivel Sweeper Max
he’s always wanted, but never wanted to pay for.
“…just two easy payments of $19.99!”
All this month, he’s been shining up his home
in Miller Place, NY, near the new Mt. Sinai.
(The old one, you’ll recall, is where ten tidy commandments
like THOU SHALT NOT STEAL were first handed down.)
“It’s so lightweight, even a child can use it — and they will!”
Across God’s miles and dirtpiles, I Discovered I’d been thieved.
I muted the radio and dialed a series of numbers to clean up the mess.
A customer service rep unspooled all the details, as if
combing hair, thread, and floss out of The Great Digital Vacuum.
“The brushes spin at 4,000 RPM!”
At 40 bucks, the Swivel Sweeper Max is a steal:
Its brushes are removable, it runs on a rechargeable battery,
and it collects all your floor junk in a no-touch tray.
Glenn Marx won’t have to handle the mockery of facing an actual dirtbag.
“Other vacuums and sweepers get munged up and bunged up…”
Leave it to a man named Marx to think that what’s yours is his.
I like to imagine him rolling out a perfectly groomed carpet
when I call him at (631) 474-5607 or (631) 374-4675 or (516) 473-8847
to hand-deliver a clock worthy of gazing upon his floors.