David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016), and elsewhere. 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.
The asphalt seduces me
like a yellow-rosed pillow
from a gifted schmuck: a sexual child
deflecting from self-help prayers, plastique kisses,
and bloated-belly fathers with inept beards,
I leer at the maelstrom, love gunpoint
demonstrations in silk-suit department stores.
I flourish in the streets, an affluent
clone in a white uniform nagging
photographers backstage. I relish
declined interviews, screen opportunities
with a valet’s fingernails. I collect trophies
in my breast pocket, pay the penalty
for the preservation of decline.
Clutch the smog like a quilt
and suffer the penalty of justice,
warning the world of the hallmark I am,
a conspiracy of angels quarreling above.
When my cousin stood on the scaffold
for treason—which he discovered was
against our law—he wore a silk shirt
covered with gunpowder. He neither
vilified nor apologized to the government,
not embarrassing himself. True, he
was a tyrant who hounded his subjects
he called bees, who could be muzzled,
he thought, because they were bees.
Trouble was, he kept a log in his shagreen
notebook of cash he extorted from bees
he conquered. Killing, a sport to this loser,
he quarreled with everyone for a thrill
and forgot that bees have memories,
they are riddles. The spruce gallows
assured us he wouldn’t steal our souls
again, but moments before the executioner
released the trap door, he yelled his last words
with venom: I am witness, you wenches,
I assure you. Chimes will prove all of you stink
of the featherbeds where you make your honey.
And with that, some of us coughed, some
giggled, but with dread in our puzzled eyes.
MY LOVER THE HIT WOMAN
A sharpshooter I love aims her weapon,
at the target’s forehead. With silencer
at the end of the muzzle, Chase
sometimes kills the subject—
infant, postal clerk, fireman—from 500
yards. She flirts with failure,
choosing to strike in museums, on busy
beaches, over dinner. Every assassination
is a puzzle, she smirks at me. Many
of my marks were giving speeches, were
under arrest, or attending conventions.
Some of her hits for vengeance,
others from disdain. Chase is a cipher
who seizes upon the element of surprise.
Nobody knows her but me, and I’m
the ally who never betrays her,
despite beatings, floggings, fifty punches
to the gut. I declare supreme loyalty
to my lover the hit woman, I’ll never sell
her out, will lock out suggestions
of satire, libel, anything to expose
or suggest her vulnerability. I’ll fight
for her to stay as remote as a tamarisk
until she accepts an assignment.
Nothing will prevent her success.