Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind

Scaffold

Soren James

I was awakened early this morning by the scaffolders next door. They were shouting up and down their construction about Mediaeval imagination and the birth of nationhood. I yelled out the window, What’s with the academic bullshit! Get a proper job, like the rest of us. They told me where to go, then began upon the subject of aggression and gender identity.

Still angry, I put on a clown nose, a red fuzzy wig, and left for work.

Driving was hell in my clown shoes, but I managed to crash the car near enough work that I could walk the rest of the way.

I entered the offices, and as I passed those gathered by the coffee machine, a phrase came to mind: The psychology of hell is strewn with coffee tables. Putting this to one side, I went to my office to attend to paperwork.

Eight hours later I went home. The scaffolders were still there, still shouting—discussing the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. I shouted up at them, Impossible, don’t be so stupid!

My argument seemed to win them over, as they conceded—in surprisingly good humour—that it is doubtful.

Elephants and Rain

Matthew Schmidt

Savannah rain a careful glove
on the elephant’s ear, an ah or peanut.
Not a peanut, a chrysanthemum,
cavalcade of horses romping
cliff, a considerable moth
covering the porch light. Twilit
elephant wrinkles. Some more
trees, terrible breakfast aroma
late in the day. Yes, some laugh
like the world is smaller than it is.

Optimism

Allan Peterson

The gift of the future was finding out

how wrong we were about the past

We were so open to everything

it was like unprotected X

We wrote words like leaves that fell

and turned in the current

as a rotating wing reducing pressure

on its cambered face produces lift

Pastoral

Allan Peterson

Someone made a craft of balloons and lawnmowers

a chaise lounge a cup for martinis and rose above landscape

drifted and came down pleasantly streamside

where kingbirds were associating easily with peewees

and tyrants the way a dalmatian can move among holsteins

with a sense of belonging

Execution

Eric G. Wilson

Blinded and bound, I stiffen
for triggers.
Inside my eye you spread.
The horses you water by the shore.
Bullets splash my heart,
blue hooves, the waves

The Brightening Air

Eric G. Wilson

Chartreuse gown
iconic as Harlow
between songs you smoke
your bedroom flickers
my sonnet on dahlias
the hyaline dawn

As Soon As Possible in the Past

Jeff Griffin

Stuffed animals left a knife smell
we stick on the asphalt. I suggested no

such half-toothed smile. Warm
drink, arrogant beauty—

possibilities of night, deserted
hallways. It was—

 it was not her.

A blonde started throat dancing.
I dance, I did, I dance, I do a little.

Light, chewing sound of copper pennies
being run through the mouth. I found

myself licking the motel window.
Air thick with burning feathers.

Tape the door closed, tomorrow
will take all day.

Ontology

A. Molotkov

A bullet-size hole
in my chest; my best

attempts at love escape. A story
of wrong doors opened

in a wrong order. A multiple

choice test. A towel I left
on the beach

the morning
my mother ran out of air.

Turn Around

Peter Munro

Let me repent my god and die.
Without a woman I am not.
I offered everything. It bought
me nothing. In the church of thigh

and idyll, she strips. But her sighs
betray the worship I have sought.
Let me repent my gods and die.
Without a woman I am not

nothing yet my praise seems a lie,
empty as wind in a chime, caught
briefly in sound like a blood clot
snags on what a spirit denies.
Let me repent, O Lord, and die.

Sans

Jennifer Wortman

HaShem mans a mean sea.
A name’s a seam.
A seaman’s ash: amen, shema.
Mama smashes manna.

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