My poker face is no joke—
with this salt-and-pepper
banker’s trim and a Hollywood bicycle,
I enjoy the wreckage toxic drugs
heap upon the choir of my charisma.
I was almost an abortion,
but I bullied my genteel mother,
who carried a baton and skateboard
as a haunted teenager on the grounds
of her mortgaged mansion, nicknamed
Scandinavia because of its delicious red granite.
As a child I loved to manifest medieval
myths in the schoolyard. I ushered
crass kids like a blue waiter
serving shrimp and bagels to chilly citizens.
I played harp in the eleventh grade as though
the ozone were my own piece of shimmering
real estate, and began to tamper with the color of
pearls and lilies. The professors at college
accused me of embezzling $100,000 from
the boomtown down the road, but I remained
free. They hailed me a genius for lack of proof,
and now I’m a model citizen who scrubs
the red granite uptown, and preaches
to whomever will listen, anticipating
the next seizure from heaven.
A THREAT UNFULFILLED
I gulped the last of the espresso
after class when the rainstorm quashed
my appetite. Exasperated, I lingered
at the signing where an English
banister inscribed copies of his novel,
The Goldsmith on His Deathbed,
by Alfred Khaki. His plain companion,
Melinda Shoe, fawned on him, ate jelly
donuts, and agreed with every word he spoke
by nodding her head. Later I learned
Melinda was a nurse and lived with Khaki
in a pueblo outside Taos. Khaki pontificated,
Campaigns can prophesize. Treating Melinda
like a servant, he could order her to cartwheel
and she wouldn’t hesitate. His words terrified her,
but devotion was an invitation for more abuse.
Suddenly he demanded, Let me finish,
you stupid, ugly bitch or I’ll throw your fat ass
in the furnace when we return home. She lurched
forward, gouged his eyes, tore one out,
and cut his throat with an Exacto knife she
used to open boxes. Prophesize that,
you phony fuckwad, she shrieked
as three book lovers tackled her to the floor.
LAST USELESS SURVIVOR
I regret to inform you social media
is dead forever because the world
ended yesterday, and Earl the engineer
is a bully who wants sycophants sucking
in the bunker he constructed. Trouble is,
the three of us are monsters, too.
Missile, named for her shaved head
and lethal cage-fighting speed, mocks
Earl’s stammer, almost castrated him,
and smashed his orange-haired noggin
with a goblet. He conceded that battle,
but Mixie and I have no regrets about
concealing the fact we honor nobody:
bragged we could starve Earl with our
cunning, grab his throat, and somersault
him out on the pavement. It’s a fog
in Zone Zero, where nothing but anarchy
is everybody’s flavor of the hour.
This ain’t the movies, Mixie warns us.
The fiends aren’t armchair lunatics.
Nobody’s warming their coats for us.
Earl relates an anecdote about drinking
vodka with a hot dog in it, quipping,
If I ever get a grip around any of you
liver lipids, you’re English muffin toast.
Meanwhile, we know we’re hunted
by the minions outside, we’re sharpening
our daggers, waiting for telegrams
from each other, our eyes shining like
those of demented condors, inspired to survive
the drones, employing wits to avoid defeat,
warning each of the other three he or she
won’t be the last useless survivor standing.
David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, Jersey Devil Press, The American Poetry Review, New Verse News, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.