Some purple pile of angels,
stone, by base of worn stairs, watch
eagles adorned with your teacups,
and Shakespeare is mistaken
for Jesus going sideways down
the metro escalator.
I’m warmer for your shaking.
My pills hurt swallowing
—the king assumes his photographer
wields rifles and vermin
red spinning tops—horses too tall
for stars to hold
any meaning beyond
lost beanies and orange wine.
(Somewhere it’s Thanksgiving, so I’ve left
Maybe an old woman veins out
to each of her teeth chatting
on the morning train
offering to bag me,
and I take the first my fingers find.
Another lady, bald,
offers me four licorice cough drops.
Though one falls from my hand.
Mouth beating black three
—I cross over
the ocean seat. My scarf doubling
for wrist splints—the fog
spreading out over the window,
old blood on a warm bandage.
I take back-to-back photos of you
scalpelled behind yesterday’s closed eyes.
Hamlet’s cream puff pulls espresso
with broken glass pain and
our future light, the
my napkins parade away towards
You stable that Christmas
rat in your arms—
for one you stand sleeping,
the other your stare
bungees under shadow
of labyrinthine brows,
in the casemates
by Holger Danske, the bats, God,
and that penis
gunned down in stone.
You took a bite of my cheese
sandwich at the station—right before
I tossed the timeline ruler.
For a moment I could’ve swore
I’d taken you for a swan
or beached Ophelia,
but I recalled then
this country’s hole is a castle—
—please remember we are in a church.
I vain thanks for a moment
to remind myself
of where the metal ball should be—
then board a top car backwards,
returning home to you…
Liam Max Kelley is a Chilean-American playwright, poet, and teacher. He is a board member and open mic host at Stain’d Arts, an arts non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, and the co-founder of RuddyDuck Theatre Company, a local absurdist theatre group. He writes poetry to avoid making an argument, to highlight life’s horrid ambiguities, and to turn the heads of those he holds dear.
I wake to sleep and take my waking slow. I feel my fate by what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. -Theodore Roethke
Sleep is like food for my father. It is simply fuel for old Mexican Men. Always stirring in the early am hours –for prayer, for stamps, or for chess. No beauty in closed eyes. My sleep now is as food for my father has been.
Ironic now, how my father and The Middle East have made amends. The 2am World Cup Futbol games that the continent of Qatar sends. Sleep is like food for my father. It is simply fuel for old Mexican Men.
The last few months in Los Angeles, I worked the graveyard shift 10pm to 10am. Six months later I put in my two weeks and moved home at my parents request. No beauty in closed eyes. My sleep now is as food for my father has been.
Now home drinking coffee and wine. I call it Roethke’s Wake to Sleep Blend 2am I walk to the bathroom, occupied by him. Later the kitchen again in his possess. Sleep is like food for my father. It is simply fuel for old Mexican Men.
As ghosts we haunt these halls each night, of my old home to no end. Conversing with our demons and angels , some damned and some blessed. No beauty in closed eyes. My sleep now is as food for my father has been.
Old blood never sleeps well– doesn’t now, didn’t then. Much unforgiven in our chests, walking hearts without rest. Sleep is like food for my father. It is simply fuel for old Mexican Men. No beauty in closed eyes. My sleep now is as food for my father has been.
Cid Galicia is a Mexican American poet who taught in New Orleans for over the past decade. He is in the final year of his MFA, through The University of Nebraska Omaha. He is a poetry editor for The Good Life Review, a reader for The Kitchen Table Quarterly, and this year’s FIRECRACKER Poetry Manuscript Awards. He was the recipient of the Richard Duggin Fellowship—granted for demonstrated excellence in writing, runner-up for the Academy of American Poets Helen W. Kenefick Poetry Prize, and most recently nominated for the Helen Hansen Outstanding Graduate Student Award. He is currently living in Los Angeles as an Intern to The Editor for The Red Hen Press. His work has appeared in The Watershed Review, the National Poetry Month Issue of The Elevation Review, Trestle Ties Issue 5, and the upcoming spring issue of Trampoline.