I know that you are not alone because
an ill spirit blows through the house like some
ghost ship, transparent to the eye, bone felt
in the dust of ages where chi connects
perished and the living in networks of
tangled karma manifest in flesh, nerve,
an unseen whirlwind drawing you like a
black hole sucking you toward the event
horizon, point of no return. Then the
day will be lost. You cannot return to
me. Sail with the thing you embraced that has
only a body of flesh and bone, all
else inside, a wrecked ship eaten by rats—
so many holes no pitch can ever make sound.
Never Mate with Aliens
This is the new world order where those
are dumb to knowing their own kind.
They ferret out the soft skin of others
like buying a bar of soap. Forage for them
in shopping malls, late night bars, Match.com
or any other pixelated people market, even
The yellow brick road is lost along with white
picket fences. Not the death of god that is cause;
rather, death of self, thought’s extinction, Eliot’s
world nearly a century later.
So, they mate in their own wasteland: backseats
on lonely roads, bedrooms clothed in animal
blankets, wet earth, heaving and moaning on
the tomb of insects.
They do not know there is despair in these desperate
couplings—wet skin sounds sliding through
unrequited flesh, momentary appeasement through
genital hordevores, arrows all in the hunt, gone away
sweating, confused, lacerating collars put around
their own necks, for to mate with aliens, never
knowing one’s own kind, is to be on the muddy
sediment of the Marianas Trench—
dark dark without a glass, no ship in sight.
Mermaids in Snow
As I drove, all around this mountain road,
snow fell like salt shook from a giant's
shaker. I had asked for reconciliation
on the cell for what seemed a thousand
pleas—no more than rotted apples spit
like poor entertainment on a reality show.
You laughed, you said, at my insane antics
for the last time. Your medical mind dissected
the text messages you found late at night
while I slept—a mental scalpel slicing through
the barbaric cuneiform script of a lover's perishing
dreams, words that may as well have been
buried in sand.
A romantic idiot you called me, chasing my
petrified youth in the siren's call of bloody
lipstick, the skirt like a guillotine lopping
off my lost head because this was a revolution
I could not win. Don't call again, you said.
Forgot all those years. Your aims are mermaids
in snow—never finding them there—misplaced
pitiful, maimed creatures. The sea is the place,
you said, a river-ocean left long ago.
Bio: Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword and Poetry Repairs. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.
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