bechdel test – kim vodicka

marilyn

B e c h d e l T e s t

Why does it matter who holds the mirror,
if what you see is truth?

What happens when you police your pants?

Like famous mass murderesses,
we’re intense pieces of ass,
in Sodomy and Gonorrhea.

We’ll be the sluts of your life,
if only you promise
to read our cunts for filth
and blow loads in our dishonor.

Raise your hand if you secretly admire us,
if your giver-upper is a keeper.

If you believe in nothing
and see everything.

If you’re prepared
to sop up the fuss
with that hole in your belly.

Your famous blue jacket doesn’t bother with promises,
doesn’t touch us at all,
doesn’t touch us all night,
doesn’t even condescend to give us its handkerchief
when we cry.

Why don’t you ever tell us you love us
when we cry?

Why, when we could cry
for the entire world,
do we cry
for you?

At the moment of twinkling.

Wistful thinking.

When us bitches cry for the world,
we cry
for you.

And your small mind.

We bet your mother
didn’t even have an orgasm
when you were conceived.

But we bet she cried.

It’s so easy to be a groupie in this town,
so hard to be a wife.

That’s why you’ll never see our meat dancing.

Only the zombies receive it.

You may bring a goddess to her knees.

If you’re prepared
to be bitch-slapped
by her vestigial wings.

We’re not dancing.

We’re just rubbing out the kinks.

Don’t bother us.

The surest way to the rib of our hearts
is by not bothering us.

Would it be possible for someone who ate hearts,
like Jeffrey Dahmer,
to practice the art of radical self-love?

We bet he kissed his mother with that mouth.

The surest way to the rib of our hearts
is by eating our hearts
and then kissing us.

We were seeing it through our eyes,
and we were seeing it through our eyes,
but all that matters are The One’s eyes.

Because The One creates Kodak moments.

Because rarely do us bitches make his story.

It’s so hard to be easy in this town,
even harder to be a wife,
even if you don’t want to be.
.

We’ve been tired queens.

We’ve been desperate groupies.

But if we don’t live,
you pay nothing.

And we want you to pay.

From the Chateau Marmont to the Romantic Inn,
we have tried,
in our way,
to be fabulous.

We have tried,
in our way,
to transcend.

Every load blown in our dishonor
is revelation.

But one way or another,
the ground will force us to relate to it.

We tried to prove
we weren’t intimidated
by Charlie Manson,
but then he bit us,
and we became him.

Time to step back into our queen shoes,
until we allow the next The One
to knock them up again.

Until we allow each other
to peasant each other’s eyes out
over The One,
yet again.

This man is your man.

This man is my man.

This man was made for you.

But, like, mostly just me.


IMG_2437 2

Kim Vodicka is the spokesbitch of a degeneration and heart-reactionary at the rearguard of the rose arts. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections— Aesthesia Balderdash (Trembling Pillow Press, 2012), Psychic Privates (White Stag Publishing, 2018), and The Elvis Machine (CLASH Books, 2020). She is also the creator of a poetic comic book series, a chapbook of sound poems on vinyl, and an illustrated book of poetry. Her poems, art, and essays have been featured in Tenderloin, Spork, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Makeout Creek, Luna Luna Magazine, Paper Darts, Best American Experimental Writing, Nasty! and many others. For the past decade, she has toured the country performing spoken word with musical accompaniment in bookstores, dive bars, art galleries, cafes, diners, festivals, pinup clubs, vintage clothing shops, rooftops, backyards, and places of worship. Originally from south Louisiana, she currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her beloved cat, Lula. Cruise her at kimvodicka.com.

appendix – pablo damián

AdrianHMolina-150x150

Appendix

We forgot to turn off the gas in the kitchen again,

and I’m not sure if what I saw was a ghost

or a spiritual residue of our old cleaning lady.

Back then, my days were like stretch marks on the skin of time,

I spent most afternoons thinking about a litany

for dust and glass and light,

or about how water is the opposite of blackmail

but ultimately failing at a single original thought.

From behind the drapes, the hollow voice spoke up:

“All microwaves have some kind of terrible hex on them”

I just nodded.

It’s uncourteous to speak with your mouth full.

SBGS December


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Pablo Damián is a poet and translator currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Art: Brendon Thompson

three poems – jessica rigney

AdrianHMolina-150x150

All These Open Fields

He sits legs under

a curl of the known

up against

the unknown.

She is wandering

away again

as she speaks

as she finds

the strand

which allows itself

to tangle between

his toes. And he is

bouncing his foot

to her story because

he imagines her

in the story

as she tells it

tries to come

to terms. What

terms he does not

know. And she can tell

it makes him

uncomfortable—

all these open fields

where she is running

but still. She flexes

her wings as though

they had been folded

too long in the cold.

But now that the heat

is upon them both his leg

moves rapidly and her

shoulder blades hold

the beat and she is still

speaking and he refuses

to speak. And the unknown

sits up between them and

relaxes itself as a lazy cat

would across a table

in the heat of the sun

middle of winter when

there is no chance

of kicking him off

simply to set down

a fresh cup of coffee

put your feet up and

enjoy a goddamn

cigarette.

SBGS December

Fall Through

If you were to let your eyes fall

upon black panes of a night window—

to stay—resting there where air swells

soundless. You would be lost.

.

And so she turns from the window

makes her face open to me now—

Says—I no longer hope for this ache

to end.

I turned my body to him

without expectation. Spoke as though

I’d come from the woods—

A single afternoon.

Long between the banks of a river

whose name I’ve never known.

He rose to greet me without rush—no never

a rush in the world for his breath at my neck.

Solid hands each side of my face. She says.

She tells me about the day she lay her body

across his lap and let herself be held close.

Close-pulled-in by a mouth by arms a body

to bring her into herself.

She looks up to my eyes resting openly

upon her mouth mouthing the words—

I have no idea how to have mercy for my own life.

.

How the fathomless black

remains flat against the glass

is of no consequence

save for our wonder of it.

I gave myself—inexplicably to him.

That winter and all those to follow never mind the risk.

Though I would not set fire to the home I’d built

no matter the torments. Would you? She asks.

Her sweetly softened eyes widen as the deer’s.

Head lifted ears cocked in observance.

A gentle shift of hooves in the undergrowth.

The decades have made her careful—

clever—so very beautiful.

If you were handed your life

loosed of its bridle suddenly

and without remorse?

.

How long before you could.

Name it.

SBGS December

Green Leaves Dropped

Out the window from a small
Room where we are all breathing

Willows sway but do not want
More than a willingness to sway.

In the space of a gathered wish we are
All wishing not to suffer. Yet if we knew

What it would mean to move through
We would. We would ask for a firefly’s

Last light. We would ask the growing world
To make its chance for meaning. We would ask

For agony. We would ask for endurance.
You walk the street of your childhood

And say the trees have not greened
As they should. And those that did dropped

Their leaves ‘neath an early frost and did not
Have a chance. And is this what we have now

To look forward to? Is this what is meant
You ask, by changing weather?

There is a world we do not know yet.
There is a world without and we have not

Yet known it. There is a world with everything
And that too we have not known.


Rigney_Jessica Author Pic
Jessica Rigney is a poet, artist, and filmmaker. She is twice a a quarter-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2016 & 18.) Find her letterpress broadsides at Wolverine Farm Publishing. Consume more of her work at Salomé and Cider Press Review. She is poetjess on Instagram.

clutching our wrists – jacob butlett

image 4

We have at least one, a procession
of balloons, whose bony strings
clutch our wrists like lost children.
They appear, those balloons, whenever

we remember them, their eager pull
to a time when everything seemed fine:
when sunny water shimmered
even on cloudy afternoons,

when moonlit clouds opened
our bedroom windows to let the breeze
breathe in beside us as we slept.
They’re with us on our saddest nights:

their strings squeeze our wrists like
tiny tourniquets, our blood seeming
to drain out of us like cool pools of sweat.
Sometimes when we look at the rubbery

heads of the balloons, we see instead
their detached heads, our loved ones’ heads,
their eyes focused on the tears rolling
down our cheeks like stones.

They say nothing, the dead.
They let us sob, they let us laugh.
They must float for our sakes,
to make us feel that we’re not alone,

to lift us up like gales so that we may
dare to live while we’re still alive.
Some of us can cut their strings
with the dull scissors of time. Regardless,

our loved ones appear whenever
we remember them, their strings swinging
up from our stiff wrists like the stems
of roses that cling with love and rot.

SBGS December


jacobbutlett

Jacob Butlett is an award-winning gay author with an A.A. in General Studies and a B.A. in Creative Writing. In 2017 he won the Bauerly-Roseliep Scholarship for literary excellence, and in 2018 he received a Pushcart Prize nomination for his poetry. Some of his work has been published in The MacGuffin, Panoply, Rat’s Ass Review, COUNTERCLOCK, Cacti Fur, Gone Lawn, Rabid Oak, Ghost City Review, Lunch Ticket, Fterota Logia, Into the Void, and plain china. He was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards residency competition. Learn more about Jacob at https://jacobbutlettacademicreflection.weebly.com/.

featured image: Liana Mikah

and you would call me bluebeard – a. martine

image 4

You would be wrong
Thinking I have fled you
Thinking you have fled me
It is the unpressed nucleus
The unuttered understanding
The auguries that spell perditions
And deliverances.
You would be wrong
When my present is multitudes
Knotting with your pasts

You would be wrong
And that is not all.
I’ve lived in small spaces all my life
Lifetimes and avenues
Walked with you
My existence splintered where it meets yours
We have lived the grandest of lives
Been people, and then been others
Had others
We have gone and come again
Existences poked and prodded through the Needles
Of time
Dying when the other pulls through
Living together, sometimes apart
Sometimes never meeting.
Nine lives to match the cats
We always wished we could be.
In one lifetime,
My heart is sixteen years old
And yours is ancient, callous, cold
I give you everything
And you don’t trust me
This is the story of how I write books to make you forgive
And you, you look for lines so you can read between them.
There is another one, where I am graceless
But you are unconcerned about it
We bond over music and green tea
And exchange fervent recommendations
That border on the aggressive
So that it makes me smile
That passion of yours suffusing every title
And the rich tartness in the tea
And you cannot wait, and I can’t contain it
And sometimes, I even think I may
I may
I might
Love you.
That is not all, that is not it.
In another, I break your heart so many times you
Come to expect it, like the end of a calamitous song
We see each other this way and that

Cocking our expectations
Slanting our heads
Angling our gazes
Clinging onto the airless center like it’s a ball of light
Which we will never figure out
And it is probably for the best.
Here I peer another tangent
Ever so slight, ever so parallel
But it makes all the difference
Because where you once loved me
Now it is the other way around
And I am unmoved by it.
I feel old.
That is not all, that is not all.
I spy another
But this one is dim, dull, bleak
We are grieving for bygones, lovers lost
Superimposing their souls onto each other
Disappointed when the likeness does not assuage
The shattered heart
And what could have been never is
Which does not matter because I am but a drop of ink in your water
And you are a thumb of graphite, streaked on the side of my page
I do not, cannot care
And it soothes me when you likewise don’t.
This one should have been left alone.
Here a version, where
Nothing is funny, and everything’s a joke
My sense of humor sours and you take to appraising
and assassinating
My character with hilarious, devastating takedowns
I will drive off with the last word,
Dashing away at your fragile ego
With a witty, well placed observation on your tragic upbringing
And it will make you smile even as you excoriate
My name.
And that is not all, not all.
Life number sixteen:
You leave me
But I keep your books

And every now and then
I smell them to remind me of
You.
When you ask for them, the lie skates smoothly down my tongue
I tell you I’ve already given them
Away, sold them
Palming coins to illustrate my point.
My favorite cycle is also my worst
Kindling my masochism because it’s the only thing I cherish more than you
In it, you struggle with some secret pain
But you leave me out of it
And so I begin to do the same.
But years later you will say that I was the one, pushed you out
The way I pushed out snow, caked up on the sills of our apartment window.
There will be another time,
When Chance, munificent Chance will
Chance a glance on us again.
Your mother will try to hate me, but I am a paragon
Your careless father will pretend he doesn’t care, but I am Beguilement Itself
Your brother will wish that I had chosen him instead.
I end up bowed over you
And we make deathbed promises
Sated with the fruits of our rapture.
But that is not it.
It’s not yet the one I think of
Not the one I’ll think of years later
When I cross paths with you, a stranger one summer morning
Caught between two errands
You will stun me
Then and there
And I will not know your name
But I will never forget you
Forget the children I imagine for me and you
Forget the tangles we could make together
Forget the potential that fades as soon as you exit my periphery
Taking the clarity with me
You will break my heart, you whose name I will never learn (though I will certainly speculate)
But you will also save my life
Because I will look to the future as the softest place to fall
As long as it holds the promise that another summer morning may come
Where you and I will meet again.

In some separate continuance, your insecurities bend with my callowness
You, a seasoned cynic
I: have never been kissed
This is what you know: that I would endure it all for anyone
This is what I don’t: that your kindness, dangled under your contempt, will break me.
(And I don’t think some of you boys understand
The power that you have
How you can undo a girl with a barbed wire of a word
Dragged gently across her heart
It is casual
And all the more punishing for it
Casual and clever
In a clueless, guileless way
A guileless sort of way
— but I was saying. That is not yet the point.)
In the semantics of our lives, one sliver of me
Will meet your wholeness
And you will try to complement me
And I go mad thinking you will save me
When I should know better by now
Being a liver of life
And an inveterate reader of ghastly fairy tales
Whose morbid true versions
Hold nothing to their shiny counterparts
A lie
I’m eager to believe in, because
You do.
Here, a pitiful glimpse
You are the white noise I let whisper in the background
The simmering television screen I leave on for comfort
The tuneless music I dial up for company
The brouhaha that steels my loneliness
And why do I keep thinking we’re Saturday?
And why am I watching this again?
There, a sweeter one
Take a breath, I’ll take one too
I’ll make you like bowling again, might even tolerate mini golf
Peel off those tepid, tarnished memories you have of pointless sports

And we’ll sate ourselves on promises
We don’t dare yet speak aloud
For fear of what, of what.
And that is not all, not yet.
This one stream runs completely separate
And ever more troubling for it
We end up together
Accidentally
Sit on bar tables in crowded restaurants
Footnotes in each other’s lives
Scattered for the sake of others
If we both looked up, we could read eternity in each other
But you don’t like eye contact, and besides
I only wear shades.
Another one finds me the victim
Of your rancor, long fingers reaching from past experiences
Caressing warnings for you, that
Only you can sense.
They echo: she is dangerous
And you will treat me as such
Realizations, barred and nettled
Tightrope dancing
Over imagined foreboding.
In one story, you get comfortable too quickly
You call me “baby”, which chafes, but also somehow doesn’t
You speak low over the music, so that I have to get closer to hear you
And it works.
You would be wrong
Thinking I have fled you as you are
When we are fleeing everything we could be
And that is not all:
Like clockwork, our treads hammering the face
Our needles chase after one another
Chiming about regrets, about lifetimes and avenues
Of treachery and reverence
I dance away your mangled heart with glee
Because I can
And you will hate me (there are too many versions where you hate me)
Even as you double back
Six times you will lose, in order:

Your essence
Your poise
Your hopefulness
Your idealism
Your will, that vital urgency to live
Your — I might stop there.
And you will call me Bluebeard
A thief and murderer after your own lapidated heart
And of all there is, that might be all.


Pic

A. Martine is a trilingual writer, musician and artist who goes where the waves take her. She might have been a kraken in a past life. She’s an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and a Managing Editor of The Nasiona. In addition to her own website, some of her fiction, nonfiction and poetry can be found or is forthcoming in: Berfrois, The Rumpus, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Metaphorosis, Medium, RIC Journal, Lamplight, the Score! anthology, TERSE. Journal, Gone Lawn, Truancy Mag, Confessionalist Zine, Ghost City Review. Follow her @Maelllstrom/www.maelllstrom.com. 

SBGS December

chinatown syndrome – kevin ridgeway

image 3

I got so drunk
I thought the
the manager
of the Chinese
takeout was
my psychiatrist
and I told him my
recent symptoms
and he increased
the dosage of my
fortune cookies,
but I was not
compliant and
barely even gave
General Tsao
a chance to kick
in and my bags
of unused ancient
medicine left an
oil stain on that
that nicotine yellow
hotel carpet with
my other unopened
prescriptions for
sushi and many
other potions from
far reaches of the
world colliding
several stories
beneath us on
the metropolitan
island streets
that breathe dirty
steam we are too
weak to breathe
in as we overdose
on over the counter
bullet proof glass
medicine with very
unpredictable side
effects that make
us hide here in
search of the
healing energy of
an uncharted sky.


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Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly, Gasconade Review, The American Journal of Poetry and So it Goes:  The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, among others.  A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, he lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.

Top Photo: Khachik Simonian

SBGS December

two poems + a video – hayden dansky

image 3

Grave Nap

 
On the nights
with no degrees left
I tremble when
I think of you
cold and alone lying
on the dark earth where
her bones lay to rest
beside the bones of
her first son
I know you went there
as soon as you were
old enough to drive,
16 and your license was your
ticket to the graveyard.
Finally free
to be alone
in your obsession
Finally free
to grieve
Dear child, and you were
a child.
When your brother
was this age
he was your parent,
died a child.
You can fall
asleep with your family
every night
if you want to
think of them
before you dream
You do not have
to remember where
their flesh was buried

so long as you
let yourself melt
into their ghostly embrace
You can fall
asleep alone
if you want to
give yourself rest
from the memories
squeezing themselves
into your head
You can carry
yourself as you
wake in this world
if you want to
regulate yourself
help yourself
hold yourself
But you will never be
held by your mother again.
Your truth is in death
where your mind
will never go.
Let that be true for
just tonight.
Dream softly of
all that is left
on this earth
waiting
to decay

 

Funeral

 

At my funeral
there will be
only cut lilies
as decoration
so that everyone
will spend their time wondering
almost entirely
about the cut lilies.
How something so beautiful
could smell so bad;
how something
still living, can be dying,
or how something already dead
can still be living.
How long the liminal space
will last for them as humans,
how long it must feel for a lilly,
and if their perspective of
time even matters if
the process of death
is eternal
for every living one.
If we are all just living things dying
or dying things still living
sped up by life
sped up by work
sped up by stress
sped up by fear
and fear
and fear
and fear.
Their hands will touch
my face and they will
swallow the idea of me
Soak in the void
between the present

and imaginary daydreams
that could have happened
between us
if I had only
stayed alive
Trapped in the space
between reality
and dreams
And they will wonder
if it matters
or if it’s all about their perspective
afterall.
If it’s all about what they desire.
And they will wonder
why they ever fed
anything but desire
and pleasure
and love
and hope
Why they did anything
but move towards justice,
demand another world,
smell flowers
uncut,
and pray.

Kiss my forehead
and leave again
and begin again.

 


Head shot 2018Hayden Dansky is a transgender nonbinary rural queer kid trying their best to not to be smothered by capitalism. Their poetry is a process of letting their flesh breathe, of finding oneself and sharing a body that is always in process. Their writing explores the depths of shame, darkness, queerness, addiction and grief. They create and collaborate with local experimental musicians and dancers to create performances that encompass multiple disciplines. They are also a food justice organizer and work to create more participatory and accessible food systems in Boulder, CO.

Photo: Zane Lee

three poems – brian matta

image 3

Trash Bags
Piled on the curb
bloated with
semi used
tennis shoes,
unwashed socks,
And flannel shirts
with buttons missing.
Slouched against the sky
in the afternoon heat.
Becoming a new world sun dial
tolling to the neighbors
a new marking of time-
John is dead

SBGS December

Nostalgia
I wish I could bring you back to life
just to watch you kill yourself again
instead of being around
your loitering ghost
as stacks of unworn clothes
and bric-a-brac for me to trip over
because if you were alive
we’d just practice twisting the knife
in each others back and not pick up
the phone when it rang
like normal families
but we can’t
so there’s no point reminiscing
I guess I’ll start cleaning up
your mess
as you just lay around

SBGS December

Impotent
My brother kill himself today
blew his head off
well not off but close
and when I found him
his body reminded me
of a vase I tipped and let
shatter to the ground
and no matter how much
I screamed he just looked
at me with that same vacant stare
I buried my brother today
and the fresh mound of dirt
reminded me of a beach on Cape Cod
me and my brother building a sand
castle and our father told us
we had built it to close to the shore
we knew he was right
but fuck him

SBGS December


image 3

Brian Matta writes poetry and plays. He is published in Newtown Literary Review, No, Dear Magazine, and Brine Literary. 

a hawk cries katsu – john haworth

art

I tried to write this poem on a typewriter.
The typewriter must be broken.
A blank page eats my fingertips.
I keep hammering space,
the only key still barely functioning,
until more and more blank pages
stare me in the face,
contemplating
the taste of my tongue.
I would throw it all out the window
if it weren’t for pigeons
bearing psalms of peace and vanity.
Over my shoulder
Robert Bly sits at a council fire
jacking off the ghost
of his younger self
while screaming something
about grief.
He is joined by the ghosts of
Abraham Lincoln and Hamlet’s father,
who chastise him with
banshee like battle hymns
and marching orders.
I can hardly hear them all
above the noise
of falling bombs,
bombs failing to hit the mark,
exploding in the periphery.
Ink splatters the blank
pages and my lips.
It tastes of blood.
Without story,
how can we
speak of god?
The long line of my forebears
steals letters from my head

with red hands
that tattoo sin into my skin.
I have sent many characters in
pursuit of an all-father
only to watch them fall
into the belly of the beast
becoming trapped behind
cage-like typewriter keys
when the sword of Hamlet proves
stronger than my pen.
Lincoln can no longer spell tragedy
with that hole in his skull.
Overhead a circling hawk cries Katsu!
Its sharp talons reflect the sun
as it lets fall another bomb.
Impact. Detonation.
That which is whole explodes into chaos,
chaos becomes equation,
equation becomes form, and as the pieces
of the body fall back to earth
I see the words that have yet to be written:
The council fire is embers.
Robert Bly is still muttering under his breath,
but Lincoln has run out of lines to read
and the ghost of Hamlet’s father
rests avenged.
The pigeons peck them all to pieces and
carry away some blank pages.
In the silence I notice
a pencil behind my ear.
It is short with no eraser,
badly bitten.
I stole the pencil from a young
fisherman by the name of Manolin,
who in search of the Old Man
hauled the pencil in from amid

the wreckage of the Pequod,
where it had come to rest
upon the deck within the claws
of a murdered Albatross.
The pencil has changed many hands.
The typewriter is still broken,
but it no longer matters.
With this pencil I shall carve
words into the blank page before me.
Overhead a hawk cries, Katsu!

cropped-eye-of-providence


John Haworth is a poet and writer in pursuit of a modern mythology. His work has appeared in Under the Devil’s Thumb, The Boulder Weekly, Spit Poet, and Braided Way. John is a self-educated bibliophile peering under every rock and twig for the answers to questions he can’t remember asking. He lives in Nederland Colorado and is not haunted by waters.

Photo: Ian Battaglia

unnamable – richard anderson

art

I slip from troubled dreams
into that half-asleep state
where nostalgia often visits.
A magical time of comfort,
suggestion, even whimsy,
where old realities intertwine
with imaginary tomorrows
and wistful impossibilities
becoming welcomed moments
a felicitous reprieve.
Too soon, always too soon,
the icy fingers of an emerging day
reach inside my reverie
gripping me like an insect
ensnared in the spider’s silk.
With desperate reluctance
I grudgingly submit,
the illusion dissipating
as mist to a warming wind.
Walking to another empty day,
I begin, with weary resolve,
to search a thousand yesterdays
for that dusty relic stashed
behind sparkling neon ornaments
of halcyon days and nights,
imperfect mementos of passersby,
even within the chain-draped sarcophagi
of those things best left untouched.
Maybe there will be something,
a recollection hidden or misplaced,
worthy yet of remembrance,
to make this day matter
enough to let me matter still.
But for every glint of light
there is a shadow clinging,
every joy countered by doubt,
each laugh a fresh tear,
any kindness an atrocity.
My search ends as treasure hunts do,

with frustration, angry distraction
and a deflating sense of futility.
Memories, it appears, only matter
to the rememberer in the end
and remembering anything alone
is so damn lonely.
As vivid dawn absorbs me
into encroaching radiance
the unnamable lust rises again.
I recognize it at once,
felt its dark caress before:
when the rocks far below
beckoned with enticing relief;
in the oncoming headlights
of another night traveler
or when this current chapter began
and I pursued it with such zeal.
But I was naïve and tentative
like a teenaged boy the first time.
I know much more now.
The prospect of a long life
filled with this kind of tomorrow
is much more terrifying to me
than an eternity with the dead,
kindred spirits always near
who lie upon me heavily
like a comfortable old sweater
on a chilly fall afternoon.
My thoughts turn to them.
I want to know what they know,
see what they’ve seen when
their forever moment drew them
into its unsympathetic embrace;
when, like frost under of rising sun,
fear and hatred fell away,
pain and worry ended.
I want to know what I’ll see.
Will they all be waiting?
Everyone I loved, wanted to love?
Will I, at last, be home?
I can’t really know
until I join them.

cropped-eye-of-providence


Rick Anderson is incarcerated in Sterling Correctional Facility, Sterling Colorado, where he works in the library,. Writing poetry helps Rick endure the hardships of life in prison, and often returns him to his beloved nature.