Picaroon - Issue #9 - July 2017

picaroonpoetry

Hello rogues and rapscallions, readers and writers. We hope you're enjoying your summer (or winter if you're in the southern hemisphere). Issue #9 brings poems with odd animal and offbeat fairytale influences, poems that feel like summer, poems to remind you of America, poems to remind you of the rest of the world, poems befitting Pride season, and anything else you're not expecting (or maybe you are by now). 

Issue #9 features work by Louisa Campbell, Matt Nicholson, Carol Eades, Paul Vaughan, Karen Little, Tobi Alfier, Robert Okaji, Wayne Russell, Kenneth Pobo, James H Duncan, Cheryl Pearson, Marija Smits, Rosie Garland, Leslie Thomas, Katerina Neocleous, Louise Warren, Mark Totterdell, Susan Taylor, Ali Jones, Amber Decker, Daniel Edward Moore, JC Reilly, Angi Holden, Jacob Butlett, Howie Good, Jonathan Butcher, Jean Atkin, Bridget Clawson, Gareth Culshaw, and Darren C. Demaree.

Issue #9

July 2017

Edited by Kate Garrett

All poems copyright © 2017 individual authors

Selection/issue copyright © 2017 Kate Garrett / Picaroon Poetry


This Month’s Rogue Poems ● July 2017

Doubloons

Louisa Campbell

The opposite of entropy

Matt Nicholson

A multiple choice apology letter

Carol Eades

How to write an american poem

Paul Vaughan

Bindweed

Karen Little

Good Girl’s Escape

Tobi Alfier

Memorial Day, 2015

Robert Okaji

A Day in the Life

Wayne Russell

Our Smell Must Have Been Named Suspicion

Kenneth Pobo

Feral Kingdom

James H Duncan

There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

Cheryl Pearson

Her Ladyship Makes a Request

Marija Smits

Watching the first five minutes of Jaws with a feminist psychogeographer

Rosie Garland

Reclaiming switchgrass

Leslie Thomas

Bloods

Katerina Neocleous


Who will adopt this specimen?

Louise Warren

Hirudo

Mark Totterdell

if i could turn into a cat or a hare

Susan Taylor

Signature

Ali Jones

This Is the Story

Amber Decker

Campfire Chat

Daniel Edward Moore

Canali

JC Reilly

That Summer

Angi Holden

Ode to Gay Men

Jacob Butlett

Explosion in the Puzzle Factory

Howie Good

Garden

Jonathan Butcher

Making Small Adjustments

Jean Atkin

Junk Mail

Bridget Clawson

Tenant Before Us

Gareth Culshaw

Trump as a Fire Without Light #259

Darren C. Demaree


Doubloons

Louisa Campbell

For Ira

no more sagging soft in socks

get out yer booheapy baby

éclatter in yo clogs

jangling jelly beans

choose all yuh fave rit colours

swing wide woomphilly

hold all big SPACE you want

of course they do

of course they love you

u uneek u arr

go piraton the swishum see

your air is full of treasure you treasure

you treasure you treasure you treasure


The opposite of entropy

Matt Nicholson

Half-cut moon,

hung bent,

in mud-black sky.

Goose-winged clouds

scrummage

in shit-edged puddles.

Wind, like knives,

throws rain

down stone-dead streets.

And then I

hear you

laughing out loud

and dive

into

the silence that follows.


A multiple choice apology letter

Carol Eades

a) To Whom it may concern,

b) Oi,

c) Hi,

d) Dear______

i)___________ (insert name here)

ii) Bitch

iii) Companion on the way,

I am a) very a) upset

b) quite b) regretful

c) somewhat c) annoyed

d) not at all d) contrite

e) embarrassed

f) sanguine

About the a) regretful

b) unfortunate

c) ridiculous

d) totally reasonable

events of

___________________________

(insert time of incident)

I’m

a) sad

b) happy

c) embarrassed

d) angry

e) indifferent

f) mortified about what happened.

I wish we could be

a) friends again

b) alone with an array of weapons.

c) civil in future

d) in the 1950’s with traditional values and respect.


If I could do it again I would

a) take it all back.

b) have said it much sooner

c) have done things differently

d) have given you something to cry about.

We both

a) said things that we regret

b) have things in common

c) are capable of murder

d) were under stress that day

I hope you a) can forgive me

b) die slowly and alone

c) have a good life and a successful future

.

Yours a) truly

b) sincerely

c) hopefully

d) venomously __________________________ (Sign here)


How to write an american poem

Paul Vaughan

the kid was eighteen, nineteen

tryin’ to grow some hipster beard but failing.

Just a low bush crawling over his cheeks

and he hated me for making him work.

No-one was selling cigarettes on the kiosk

and he was just standing staring into space

by the self-service machines doing nothing

Hey will you come and sell me some smokes,

twenty Windsor Blue Superkings.

Never seen a boy move so slow.

He’s glowering at me with his chin on his chest

and he’s never smoked one damn cigarette

so he’s staring at the packets

no idea what twenty Windsor Blue Superkings looks like

and hands me some king size bullshit.

No I want Superkings

We ain’t got no Windsor Blue Superkings just these

and he’s waving them at me and doesn’t care

like I should be grateful he’s even breathing.

Hell, just give me a packet of Superkings

I don’t care which brand

so I point at the fourth packet from the left

three shelves down.

He scans them so I pay and shove the cigarettes

into my pocket and they don’t even have contactless

so I have to type type type my P.I.N.

and goddamn no I don’t want a receipt.

He turns his back on me and walks away

to talk to some girl stacking up the magazines

and I don’t know but she could do better

than an insolent grunt like him.


Outside I peel off the cellophane and pull

out the foil and pinch the filter on the cigarette

with my thumb and index finger drag it out

put it between my lips and rustle for the lighter

somewhere in my pocket

all I can feel is keys

so I pull it all out hold all the things in my hand

and it’s there so I spark it up.

Lift it, watch the flame lick the end of the cigarette

going crossed-eyed

drag hard.

And it’s a fucking menthol.

The guy sold me fucking menthol cigarettes.


Bindweed

Karen Little

Traveling at the speed of internet, contemporary legend insists

fictional stories be witnessed by close friends. Walking fish invite

themselves in to twirl pizzas or replace chocolate with mud. She

refuses colour Tv; blood is grey, occasionally black, so could be

mistaken for coffee or soup stains. Defending her territory

by threatening rivals, her delicate beauty makes her hard to kill;

when death threatens she creeps underground before trumpeting

her regeneration in Spring. Cautionary tales are no less macabre

than blank-eyed monsters; Brothers Grimm tales reveal disagreeable

children asking for water or biscuits who always wind up dead.

Scared of the black holes inside her slippers when she parks them

under the bathroom sink we know they could swallow us

and no one would haul us out. When she dies, her upside down

eyes terrify us, we push back the fringe of hair to be sure the birthmark

remains. She regenerates pale but strong, clambers out, heart on sleeve,

her face unlined, her fertility undiminished despite the passage of time.


Good Girl’s Escape

Tobi Alfier

Let me tell you something:

I got a mason jar of Everclear

propped between my knees,

Annie Lennox blasting on the radio,

and I’m parked up on a hill, scenic

viewpoint of nothin’ but a ferris wheel

in the valley below, clouds teasing

across the moon above, a blanket

wrapped around my shoulders

and all the strength of no one

I ever loved in my heart.

Sweet dreams are made of this.

I smoke my last cigarette, flick

it miles out into the dirt, rummage

around to find the memoir of who

I should have been, read a few pages

by the light of the cell phone…

I got nothing owed to no one,

nobody waitin’ home for dinner

crying over the spilled milk

of me bein’ gone. For an hour,

for a day, for nineteen sunrises

and sunsets, it just don’t matter.

Mail piled up inside the door,

not leavin’ a clue for anyone that I’m

on a mission to find out what that label

of Johnny Walker ain’t tellin’. I’m

warm-souled but no fool.

I watch the ferris wheel seats rock

up top, some empty as my bed,

and others—who know whose paths

are crossing tonight and who cares.

I am the butterfly crossing paths

with this nighttime desert breeze,

and that’s all you need to know.


Memorial Day, 2015

Robert Okaji

I turn away from the sun, and drink.

Every window is dark.

No one hears my song, not even the guitar.

When the rain pauses the grackle rests on the cedar picket.

Etymology: from Latin memorialis, of or belonging to memory,

leading to home and family, their connotations.

Remembering is simple, she says. But forgetting...

The coral snake slips by, unseen.

Nothing lives in my shadow.


A Day in the Life

Wayne Russell

Life is a dance with death on a daily basis

life is a struggle to stay sane enough to keep

our heads above a rabid sea of filth.

Life is bills and payments to be made, ones

that I cannot pay, due to lack of work, lack

of work leaves you bleeding pulverized in

a Tampa bay shanti town; drunk off money

that you either stole from a clueless passersby

or panhandled from a kind hearted person,

kind enough to know that you would take the

money they gifted you and run straight to the

package store to buy a cheap six pack of beer,

and some smokes if you really panhandled

superbly that day.

Kids running past me on the way home from

school blinded by youth and naivety, poke faces

at the homeless and downtrodden basket people.

They see me as a spat on the ground, through gapped

yellow brown teeth; I do an odd take on an old Irish

jig that I learned in a pub in Scotland back in my 20’s.

The kids are no longer poking fun; they run away like

a frightened pack of youthful coyote pups, they vanish

over the horizon line, down past the Baptist church,

down past the shops and bars and English pub, the

deli; with the best pressed Cuban sandwiches on

earth, they run past the hooker named Lola wearing a

pair of electric blue nylons with runs and moth holes

eaten clear through.

Lola laughs and throws her track lined arms up towards

the cloudless skies; God shakes his head and turns away

in from his creations run amuck, in disgust.


I finish my last beer, and light up a smoke, walking towards

Lola I offer her one and she snatches it; I light it and laugh,

then I walk on down the uneven sidewalks of the city and

look for a place to call home for the night.


Our Smell Must Have Been Named Suspicion

Kenneth Pobo

Away from home,

a Sunday. We decide to go to church,

any church, whatever pops up.

A Bible Church, not promising,

but in we go—about 50 people

and a broken-gate grim minister.

Strangers, our smell must have

been named suspicion.

After a blustery service, some regulars

shake our hand. When you blurt

that we’re married, two men,

faces close like barn doors. We should

have spent Sunday with birches

and pines. They stay open

day and night—trees, hands extended,

every leaf an invitation to listen

to bird or breeze.


Feral Kingdom

James H Duncan

it is a feral kingdom, a life

lived out of boxes, months

and years in spaces borrowed,

couches loaned, small

corners to call your own so long

as grace and luck and favors

hold out

those dinner parties you threw

in your married twenties

are history book memories now,

as is the ability to invite

a woman or old friend over

for drinks, dinner, a quiet evening

of talking and nostalgia;

daydreams of the transient

it’s easy to feel like a failure,

working two jobs and still

not making enough to hold off

the legal bills, medical bills,

and also make rent, utilities,

keep gas in the car—daily

negotiations with intangibles

and inchoate hopes of

tomorrow and tomorrow

but maybe the next rent sign

will be the one that says home

and maybe the next piece

of mail that chases you down will

say Current Balance $00.00

maybe the gods will say, you’ve

seen enough, rest here,

close your eyes and breathe

because even if it’s just

enough room to stretch your

legs as they shovel dirt


on top of you and pray over

books you’ve never read,

that last home sweet home

is better than never unpacking

all those boxes at all


There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

Cheryl Pearson

A different man for each daughter, a different beat

in the dark. The same slow filling, after. Hands flowering

under my heart, footlings kicking my ribs to black.

There is light, you know, at the moment of conception:

the white spark of a star falling into the world.

I know things. I browse the web at night for news

in the glow from the aglets. Laces tight, refusing

the moon, my girls asleep in the steel-capped toe.

By day they swarm like beetles, butter the tongue

smooth with their sliding. I’m not even old,

though it’s true: my milkless dugs are blue

and move like pendulums. But given half a chance, I’d still

know how to buck beneath a man. Bite a bright cry

on a round shoulder (carefully: my teeth are soft,

and sitting loose). But these days, no one asks.

All the couplings, all the christening frocks.

No one asked about those, either. Why all the children?

Why the shoe? In any case, what would I have answered?

I want a love that stays, a love that grows. I want to leave

the world changed. And look, now: my name beloved

in all these mouths. The weight of us redesigning the earth.


Her Ladyship Makes a Request

Marija Smits

Sing to me of the sea Lysander,

sing to me of the sea.

Sing to me of the rushing and the crashing

of the woosh, swoosh, wooshing

of the waves on the shore.

Sing to me of the sea Lysander,

sing to me of the sea.

Sing to me of the darting and the dancing

of the silver-skinned fish

in the shallows and the deeps;

of the selkies and the sirens

conspiring, inspiring

sailors to their doom.

Sing to me of the sea Lysander,

sing the sea to my skin.

Let me swim in your blush

and the salt water crush

a kiss

from your lips

as your song finds its way to the sea.


Watching the first five minutes of Jaws with a

feminist psychogeographer

Rosie Garland

I

Build a house on tar and volatiles,

on sand that blooms with bitumen,

a garden that buds trees slick with gasoline apples.

Climb down to the cellar. Dig,

through sediments and shales. Dig.

Till you find the place to plant it:

this hunger that fills you fat to bursting,

that tears down the sun for shining,

the moon for its mockery of healing,

every month from whole to broken, half to whole;

this thirst that sucks stars across its event horizon

and stamps them into cinders.

Shovel dirt into the pit and beat it down.

There are eyes beneath us, and more than eyes.

Rising more slowly.

It is patient. It measures time in millions.

Ignores our eyeblink lives.

Bends light, twists it into a companion

with a mouth that quenches meteors.

There are eyes beneath us, and more than eyes.

There are things that do not sleep.

Things beyond persistence, beyond extinction.

That outlast the gallop of tectonic plates,

watch Pangea unknit, wander in jigsaw pieces, knit again.

There are things that wait for the right moment.

Rising more slowly.


II

High above the faultlines, a tightrope girl is dancing.

Dusted with first love, she glitters, spilling

constellations. Her legs melt the water into ribbons.

She is made of moons: breasts, belly, buttocks, backbone.

Pillowed on night fish and ringed with brittle galaxies,

she listens to the circle dance of plankton,

the growth of coral, the foghorn hum of humpbacks.

Her shadow kisses its reflection.

There are eyes beneath her, and more than eyes.

She’s a long way from shore. She pounds her heels,

kicks off the lace line of the tide

and heads for the lights that string the horizon,

elbows sharp as fins. We scream warnings,

how she’s swimming in the wrong direction,

out of her depth, away from home. She can hear us,

but strikes out, strongly, for the stars.


Reclaiming switchgrass

Leslie Thomas

She said listen to yourself

when I doubted

after he locked the doors

when I was late.

When he shouted because

I let his stew get cold.

When he claimed the grass

wasn't greener anywhere else,

I believed him

despite a hushed inside voice.

Again she said

listen -- and I heard the truth

about that grass.

Its roots are shallow

with dainty blades,

easily subdued by a rake.


Bloods

Katerina Neocleous

Behind the greenhouse glass

of your one way mirror

you observed

and medicated us.

Noted our pale skin

but not the marks

you left in the name

of good order.

In your gaze

we were monsters

but you stole our hearts

from their scarlet bed

plucked them

like wild poppies,

breaking their petals

with your rough hand

naked stalks in

a wrinkled heap

all that was left,

when we got away.

We will adapt -

grow new hearts

in the dark, resistant

to your care

bloom with a stench

which affronts you deeply

– we’ll laugh at this –

but brings us sustenance.


Who will adopt this specimen?

Louise Warren

No one will take the Dodo bones

the tongue worm, the slipper lobster.

They are too old, too odd to sit alongside this family

on their sprightly sofa.

To appear in photographs and Facebook,

to be a meaningful addition, to fit in, almost like flesh and blood.

On the other hand

blowflies settled.

A pickled wallaby found its place.

Even that medicinal leech slipped into the gap

that before was so unfilled, so vacant.

In the sad orphanage the moon jellyfish floats in its own tears.

Bloated and pallid it is an unwanted dead thing.

Stuck inside the bottle it has a sour adolescent unhappy smell,

a hundred years away from the tidal wash of the ocean,

even its sting is shriven,

Like the swan stomach it has not been claimed.

Unlike the flamingo skull, the glass snail it has not found a home.

Is not now tucked up, although, perhaps not quite tucked in.

For many of these specimens are proving to be disappointing

when the novelty has worn off. Like that jar of lizards

they have not quite settled in as they adoptive family had wished.


Hirudo

Mark Totterdell

We fished it from the canal and fetched it home.

Delighted, we gave it a childish, chiming name.

We feared no harm from it, meant it no harm.

We installed it in my room, in a goldfish bowl.

It seemed to settle, as far as we could tell.

It sat like a still black tongue in its clear glass bell,

then shifted from pulsing blob to waving dark

trunk, then kept on performing its nifty trick

of morphing from dash to fat dot, from ball to dick.

I was so happy to keep it by my bed

and watch it, with not a thought in my soft young head

that my pet might pierce my skin and slurp my blood.

I slept, and in the morning it had gone,

as if some tiny miracle had been done,

or sleight of hand. We never saw it again,

but kept for many weeks to come a dread

of treading on its body, shrivelled, dried,

or, far worse, grossly swollen and undead.


if i could turn into a cat or a hare

Susan Taylor

the best of me would perch

among plants in the window box

and survey the Friday evening heat

of dogs yipping in the street

among a din of cars and diners

Cat-Hare-Me would be nonplussed

by the drone of male voices below

I’d be protected by felicity of otherness

from politics with its fake news

jawing enthusiastic aggression

if I could turn into a cat or a hare


Signature

Ali Jones

One summer we danced in our mothers’ wedding dresses,

fabric spilling around our feet, it was July,

our hands were full of rose petals, strewing red,

a measure of water and flower heads stashed under the bed,

with a bleed of felt tip transfusion, our secret.

We were all daisy chains and hedgerow hair,

the neighbour’s bonfire blackening white to faded sepia.

Did our bodies know we were dryads, building castles

of spindle and apple, besom in the corner a cauldron

in the fireplace. There was always another hour

to shape stories, to beg the cat to stay balanced in fantasy.

Years are our distances travelled in circles, looking back,

we can’t quite see how we danced, or what our loves were,

find what was waiting beneath our tongues.


This Is the Story

Amber Decker

in which i never wed

in which i spend my life in a tower

smoothing my hair into braids

in which i am really a boy

who has a sister

who doesn't speak

in which my sister curls herself

against me at night in bed like a cursive 'C'

in which my sister covers

her pretty face with her hands

in which i am really a killer

in a gingerbread house

in which even my death

at the hands of the hero

is delicious

in which i am really a sorceress

able to disarm whatever lock

skin can fashion itself into

in which i am fallow

and beautiful

and wasp-waisted

and sweet

and starving

in which I prick my finger

just so I can finally get some sleep

in which i am wine

in a silver goblet,

the poisoned apple

in the witch's basket


in which i am the secret princess

whose throat shivers

under the blade of the huntsman's knife

as she begs for her life

in which i am the queen

devouring the throat of the man

who offered me a pig's heart

in place of what i asked for

in which i am the pig

in which i am the heart

plunged into the iron pot


Campfire Chat

Daniel Edward Moore

You said knowledge is a raincoat

on a burning beach.

I held our umbrella in flames.

Everywhere hands were swaying

like Palm trees, against the sky’s

cancerous clouds threatening

to kill feelings like fish,

we’d much rather save

than less beautiful things.

Like men chained to letters

at the end of their names,

ignorant of the master’s

shack out back, where

a mattress of straw, a jaundiced heart,

had nothing to warm its veins.

I said wisdom is a black arm band

for the pale asystole tribe.

Kindness offered to meet us half way.

What better place to watch

judgement die than the streets

of a ghost town mind.

What better way to try

to escape than with roses

of teeth filled with fur.


Canali

JC Reilly

In Venice, the canals skulk through the city like green-cloaked men. Oh, not

the Grand Canal, which imposes and processes like a king in robes of deepest

hunter, studded with jewel-like boats. But the smaller ones, the rios. They are

furtive, like pickpockets and grifters, and scuttle along alleys and through

clandestine neighborhoods, hugging walls, keeping to the shadows. For all

their crooked green ubiquity bordering the campi and piazze, you try not to

notice them, lest they think you troppo curiosa, or an easy mark. Still, each

time you encounter them, you assess their shifty surfaces, the way they

consider you through uneven glances. You worry that your gaze will somehow

offend, that they’ll catch you catching them at their most shady—easy enough

to do when la luce is low, late in the day. But canals are quick to hurry on their

way, focused as they are on their next assignation with taxi or gondola. And

after all, perhaps you are the one who skulks, today meeting the Rio de San

Anzolo at different points, always by accident. The third time, on the Ponte dei

Frati, which doubles as the steps to the entrance of the Agenzia delle Entrate

over the Rio, you want to sneer at the discovery of a revenue office on the

“friars’” bridge (Church and taxes as Renaissance as anything in this place),

but something about the canal stops you. Maybe it’s the austere, unmoving

figure in her own green cloak who stares back at you in rebuke. She looks as if

she knows you are up to no good and scheming.


That Summer

Angi Holden

Exams over, papers closed, we sauntered

through lemonade afternoons, read

dog-eared copies of The Mersey Beats,

fingers sticky with fresh-squeezed oranges.

We listened to Ummagumma and Dark Side

on his father’s Bang & Olufsen, abandoned

our virginity between polycotton sheets,

mouths stained with raspberries.

Waited for results.


Ode to Gay Men

Jacob Butlett

after Valzhyna Mort

They show up like a hookup scribbled on a schedule

they keep stopping by every other week

they who’ve fallen to the nadir

of the tallest wine bottles

emperors of the office and playhouses

and like glitter from a confetti cannon

shivering I spread apart at their caress

their laughter breaks down walls

battleships comply to their orders

and bonfires paw near their feet like faithful bears

and sprints after taxicabs and wanders

they strip me as if disrobing themselves

and strum me between their legs like an acoustic guitar

and yes this song these eternal crescendos

like sweat from their foreheads

those guitar cords too loud for my mortal mind

those guitar cords too soft for God

they who tell schoolchildren to exist with tolerance

they who tell rainclouds to piss off

they who kiss other men on river walks

they who’ve danced with the virus of death itself

they who’ve always listened to my concerns, sensual encounters

which restrain me to my bed

Reader their lips find me

like insatiable missiles

they’re hard restless

and when this nightclub collapses

they stop to rip out one of my chest hairs

Reader it’s not just me

it’s anyone’s Reader

don’t go

save me leave me

in this temple of fabulous missiles


Explosion in the Puzzle Factory

Howie Good

What I’d like to do if I could is grab a policeman and walk him on a leash down

the avenue. Instead, a guy leaps out at me. “What’d you say?” he demands.

The more I stare at his face, the more it resembles a carnival mask, green,

violet, and pink. Clocks can be heard to howl. I guess we have to learn to love

the dark. We’re all up to our necks in it. E. Dickinson, in a ultra-black pinafore,

approaches on a sleepwalk with the alphabet prowling around her. It just

happens. No one planned it. And then? And then the deer are fat and ready for

eating.


Garden

Jonathan Butcher

The entrance remained blocked to those who

refused to untie their hands, whose pockets

reach down mile long legs. No entrance granted

to those faces that express everything other

than the words they omit and that bounce off

each crumbling, towering wall.

Each path of this garden leads inwards, lined

with Mandrakes and blackened berries,

the pollen from Angels Trumpets’ dust over

any throats that dares to bare protest, silencing

them into sickness like a disobedient, airborne

infection.

No doubts from anyone entering that those

the cobble stone paths are uneven by design,

a faulty ruse to twist both ankles and tongues.

They are then drenched by the water fountains

laced with soil, that quenches only the shallowest

thirst.

And on their retreat, they wipe their eyes clean

of this filth, their veins now transfused and again

flowing steadily. Their presence increases once

outside of those walls, their voices now clearer,

and they now repeat on command every word

those flowers and walls recited.


Making Small Adjustments

Jean Atkin

Under a strip light in a garden shed

her bicycle is upended. She turns a pedal

with her left hand, ear bent to catch

the click of the gear change.

In her right she holds a small screwdriver

and the skill to make the quarter turn

that lays the calibration like a feather on a wire.

Out in the half-dark, in the whirr of the freewheel

the neighbour’s cat plays with a boy, exchanging

the wait and rush of crouch and pounce.

The boy mistimes his touch and a claw

knifes a red trail across his skin.

And every day the woman takes to the roads again

spinning through the suburbs in a white trail of spray

anticipating the dash of cats, the surprise of boys.


Junk Mail

Bridget Clawson

My existential update came today

notifying me that my truths and beliefs thus far

are false, including you.

I don’t trust this truth completely either –

essentially I am unchanged.

The remains of my day have unfolded as usual:

emptying the wire-on-wood birdfeeder;

Mr. Cleaning it to remove earwigs and sprouts;

filling it with black oil sunflower seeds.

I ran an experiment recently and discovered that

I attract more White-breasted Nuthatches

with black oil sunflower seeds

than I do with suet.

The proof is in the bird count.


The Tenant Before Us

Gareth Culshaw

The woman before us

fattened up turkeys to sell.

Then cut the top off a traffic cone

and dropped the turkey inside

before slicing off their heads.

The woman before us

didn’t use the black bin.

Instead made rings of fire

sending up her shit to the sky

leaving behind burnt glass, ceramics.

The woman before us

kitted out the house with second

hand furniture, carpets

so we smelt death all around us

when we walked, slept.


Trump as a Fire Without Light #259

Darren C. Demaree

How much rum and history will it take to forget this man? Good lord, nobody

kill him, we need him to be consumed by time and his own hatred for the

human race. Let him be a whiff of the cautionary tale, and then let the

atmosphere have him as an emission, an error, someone we used to regrease

the wheels of our progression.


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