Dawn as an Act of Survival – Paul Ilechko

Slurred croak    cracked collarbone

head shaved tight to the pinking flesh

a pure invention of street life

synthesized and wired for direct current

breakfast juddering under ultraviolet

charred and caramelized   with a blast

of woodsmoke as coffee is guzzled   syllables

sputtering from misshapen tongue

the stink of syrup    of hot sauce and vinegar

silence hanging heavy between

the throb of another morning    and the stale

breath of the previous night

no recollection pervades his damaged mind

of how     besotted    the leather drool

of survival staggered him homeward

through greased and gut-churning detour

steel-pinned and bone-plated    with memory

of smoke and gasoline    he lights his flame

in competition with the rising sun

a crimson sky     his furnace. 


Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks “Bartok in Winter” (Flutter Press) and “Graph of Life” (Finishing Line Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Juxtaprose, As It Ought To Be, Cathexis Northwest Press, Inklette and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. FB: pilechko Insta: njscattista

her tongue – paul ilechko

Matt Clifford - Photo Credit Matt Diss ALOC Media

She pushes her tongue
into the hole of his castration
his vacancy the hollow
and her saliva mixing
with the memory of loss

                          a hawk shimmies into
                          the place within the sky
                          where the sun used to rise
                          before the blackness
                          became merely emptiness

along the border she finds
men nailed upon crosses …
suspended as a temporary
measure until their paperwork
might be verified

                          a desert is a field
                          that has lost a lottery
                          for which it never even
                          purchased a ticket and really
                          how cruel must that be?

she dreams of children …
and children might once have been
possible might even have been
welcome but not now
not here in this field of bones

                          he remembers being a man
                          in the time before they stripped
                          the tendons from within his
                          flesh and tied him to a post
                          beneath a dying sun

she thrusts her tongue
into the desert of his throat …
squeezing out moisture
that might just keep him alive
for one more day.


Barnes-BW

Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks “Bartok in Winter” (Flutter Press, 2018) and “Graph of Life” (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Manhattanville Review, West Trade Review, Yes Poetry, Otoliths and Indicia. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. INSTAGRAM| FACEBOOK

Cover Photo: Jared Verdi

death valley – paul ilechko

david-everett-strickler-632154-unsplash

Clubfoot bravado
in seventies cheesecloth

he curses as the freighter
pulls away         his heavy

stare reflects a hatred
for all things golden

he lives for concrete
he lives for the hot

black ribbon beneath
a desert sun       a locked-in

world of tinted windshields
and leather plumage

rejoicing in the dialogue
between metal and stone

a voice that oscillates
across the valley

till twilight falls
and the new-found stars

weep again for the madness
of his remembering.

 

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Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks “Bartok in Winter” (Flutter Press, 2018) and “Graph of Life” (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Manhattanville Review, formercactus, Sheila-Na-Gig, Marsh Hawk Review and Rockvale Review. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.

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Photo by David Everett Strickler