Selected Poems

by Grace Thornton

159.

I wait on the back porch and I smoke and stare, absent, at my reflection.
I thought I was waiting for you (in a way I was).
I waited on myself. Waited to come back around.

I grin, a grimace.
Luckily it’s lost in smoke.

There’s a hound ‘comes around.
He lives with me now.
Sirens pass and he sings along with long-lost, far-off friends.
He turns his back to me to sleep. More than I can say for you.
(Though I’m sure you’re behind me, just behind me, and not turned away.)

This was the summer you picked up junk and I worked in a kitchen, the only girl.
The world must’ve been trying to teach us something about hard work.
(The “world” and the “universe” are, of course, cheap euphemisms for God. When I pray for you
I suspect that’s to who, but I can’t be sure. The world is a gentler concept. That I can handle.
That I can use.)

I take long drags and you take short. We talk at length in intermittent monologues of cautious
optimism and tempered metaphors for heartache. Not -break. Neither of us utter such a suffix.

At work I lean into the prep table, conveniently pelvis-height, as I ladle gravy onto plates, and
picture every last one of the guys I work with bending me across the thin steel surface to fuck
me from behind. In these instances I spill the gravy down my hands.

New Orleans was the first and only trip we took together.
Remember? When I broke my wrist in a graveyard and (theoretically) no longer allowed myself
to drink gin.
“You’ve got to climb over the wall before the pain sets in”, and
later, in the car ride home (8 hours in an Ace bandage while poorly received Mariachi music
played), “Focus only on the pain. If you try to ignore it it’ll just come back worse”.
Fuck you (for being right)

You haven’t said anything prophetic like that for quite a while.
How could you? When you’re the prophecy.

A common adage is that addicts are narcissists. True, but too easy.
They are things designed to implode that invariably malfunction; they don’t mean to think only of
themselves. Self would have to be an entity worth considering.

Self, for them, is the feral cat that was supposed to have drowned in the river with the rest of
the litter whose survival doesn’t translate into redemption but spite. And felines, they know
vengeance. Their memory subsists on it.

What can one do when it paws at the door? Give it scraps of dinner, a bed, make embarrassing
sounds of emulation, let it sleep on your chest and watch it rise and fall with your breaths, hope
it forgets the mewling sounds made inside that drawstring bag from Wal-Mart that the very
sheets you two sleep on now were packaged in, wait.

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Fuck It. Who Gives a Shit? Just Drive!

by Keenan Schott

Too drunk to drive 65
We soared into oblivion
Tossing spent airplane bottles of cheap vodka
Into the winter air
And cruise controlling past
Middle American hopes and nightmares and wet, wet dreams.

Blunts were passed like the Eucharist.
Cars were passed like gallstones in unremarkable shits.

With our hair haphazardly thrashing
In the gelid draft
That weaseled its way in
Through windows cracked for cigarette smoke
We listened to casingle after casingle
By bands we were far too young to enjoy sans irony
And belly laughed at the ineffective rhetoric
Of the anti-abortion billboards
That littered the side of the road.

We stopped at a McDonald's for dollar menu delicacies.
I threw up into a toilet paper clogged toilet.
Then I ate an ice cream cone.

With appetites not quite satiated
And cash wads not quite depleted
We hit the road
Like deadbeat dads beating an already battered stepchild
And debated which 'anywhere'
We'd fall in love with next.

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Travels

by Jahni Delmonico

 

Hill Sermon

 

Following the grey highway, straight as a dog’s tongue, cutting between masses of old, religious hills.

The hills and sky in argument, scraping borders with sharp, wild bushes and irresolute trees.

“When Christ awoke entombed, he pressed himself into the damp & naked earth which swallowed him and became immortal.”

“Buried” synonymous with “renewed.”
He hears the shifting wooden floors, pausing rabbits, cars breathing speed.  He pushes up rocky crosses and weaves together the roots of timeless sprouting billboards.

 

Imagined Scenario

 

A shining, jittery piece of blue

Crazy bird from open sky

Flew in, placed its

Ungatherable heartbeat

Right between my facets

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