Poetry Section: Pabulous Poetry

Winter is finally here, but don’t let the cold make you blue! Cozy up with these vesuviating verses—Stout’s gritty glimpses of the everyday, Florence’s beautiful imagery, and Crate’s surreal snapshots should keep you warm.

Best,
Siobhan Watson
Managing & Poetry Editor

Brett Stout
Brett Stout is a 32 year-old artist and writer living in Myrtle Beach, SC. He is a high school dropout and former construction worker turned college graduate and paramedic. He writes while mainly hung-over on white lined paper in a small cramped apartment in Myrtle Beach, SC. He published his first novel of prose and poetry entitled “Lab Rat Manifesto” in 2007.

“A Porcelain God, My Dentist”

I don’t know
2:48 a.m. and I still don’t know,

Chattering teeth and cement
Decreases over time
Fire safety control
Doesn’t burn down trailers
Just my trachea
Sell me discount cigarettes without talking to me
My couch is rotting
With food that I stole from Bi-Lo
I starred into the cameras and waved
I stole a buggy and hit your car with it
I wasn’t really sorry
Because I was drunk
He slept in my car
My battery died and
I hated homeless people for a decade,

I don’t know
2:49 a.m. and I still don’t know,

I made a mix tape
And put it in a drawer
My gums are bleeding
I poked them
With a stick
There are two blackheads in my ear
No one will squeeze them
For me
I cleaned my toilet
Instead of socializing with strangers
Everyone is a stranger
That is not me,

I don’t know
2:50 a.m. and I still don’t know.

 “Post-It Note Dissection: Present and Future”

Don’t forget,

The directions to nowhere
White paper sits still in the corner
Black ink still in the printer
Phone set on dildo
Cigarettes
Lottery tickets that never won
If four men build a wall in an hour
How long
Does it take five men to build a wall in an hour?
0.31
7/16,

Don’t forget,

Genius
And
Retardation
Walk hand and hand on the endless concrete
That
Strapping young lads
Eat
Loads of botched
Snakes and acid rain induced cows
Swans are sex fiends
And
The heroin in my bathtub
Is a growing joke and the death
Of filthy janitors
Scratch 366 into the painted signs,

Don’t forget,

40 days
Go from half divided by 33 and 25
The discourse before the exile
Winter rituals
Alienation
Kleptomania
And
Verbal discharge
Uploading
Tits and cervical vertebrae,

Don’t forget,

Credit cards
Toilet seats
Fake dog shit
Yellow circles and blue squares
Primary numbers written
Never
Dialed
You don’t understand Peggy
You’re right
I don’t
Does life consider me paid in full?

 “Dirt, I Miss You Dearly” 

Stop on,

The cautious dare of cadmium yellow
An angry sun
A father’s deceptive words
On worker’s comp
Bring forth rust tinged
Staples and nails
Reverse osmosis shoulder the rocks
Of despair and divorces
Dirty coolers
And
Dirtier gloves
Stained discount motel room sheets
Rented by
The week not the day

Stop on,

Gas stations fuel stomachs and rage
You can make it out of here
I lie to myself
Lysol bodies
Kill
99.9% of germs
But not herpes
Hammers continuously lie and cheat
Alone
While
Red southern dirt crumbles
Beneath black tires of exploitation
And hands weathered South Carolina hands
Hardened steel crawl slowly towards
Me
A dark afternoon sky
Paint a flag
Take a fucking picture
You tourist

Stop on,

Take a break
Tie a classical noose
Hang the helmet
From Nam’ to this
Burn a tree in effigy
Take a piss forgotten in the forest
Stake the ground
The others
Soon enough.

Sandra Florence

Sandra Florence received her Masters in Creative Writing/Poetry from San Francisco State University. She moved to Tucson, Arizona where she has been teaching and writing for over 30 years. She taught at the University of Arizona for eighteen years, and a number of venues throughout the community working with refugees, the homeless, adolescent-parents, women in recovery, youth at risk. She has particular interests in writing and healing, community literacy, and writing as a tool for public dialogue. She currently teaches writing and literature at Pima Community College, Desert Vista Campus.

Water is the World’s Consolation

the back stroke at night looking up into the sky
a dark net of shattered glass
water laps a warm breeze drifts across your nose,
almost indescribable,
as if smelling,
breathing in
the stars, the sky, the underwater lights,
and the breeze
that has passed through the limbs
of mesquite trees
creosote bushes
an intense gold-green scent that sweeps everything
clean,
water is memory of drinking down the world,
full immersion into the dark stream,
for a moment your grandmother’s dress billows
in water,
your mother wipes away tears and the sticky
residue of leaves,
confrontation of water and flesh
discrete moments of solitude,
your chest aches and thumps,
the damp hair under your cap is electric and tingly
as you drift until you reach the other side
your hand touches the concrete wall
a deep dense odor of wet pavement
playing in the streets after a summer rain,
the hot asphalt steams under your tennis shoes
as you cross the street to find your friend.

Dress of Blue Leaves

My boundaries are fixed like
pins in the border of a half-made dress,
a dress of blue leaves and summer afternoons.
My mother is at the sewing machine stitching the dress,
closing the apertures of cloth and color against space,
sealing the sleeves, running the white thread
across the borders of the dress. The dress is whole and finished.
Now she is ironing the dress. A starched and ironed dress that falls
across my legs creating a shade in the heat of the afternoon,
the long silence of heat that fills the valley,
moisture diffusing sunlight and a door opening
somewhere down the street. There’s a smell of clean cloth
and warmth rising from the ironing board.
Hemline, trim, border, edge.
My mother goes over the edges, the borders, again and again
to make sure she hasn’t missed anything.
She is careful to press the edges down,
to know where one things stops and another begins.
Sometimes she lifts the iron across the dress
and it touches both sides at once,
the part of the world that is only the dress
with its dotted-swiss trim, and blue leaves,
the long sash that will wrap around me once I am in it,
and the part of the world that is not the dress,
where the border dissolves away
where there is only remembrance and longing.

Ars Poetica

I write because I cannot sing
and yes I can play the piano but the keys do not
respond to my touch as they once did,
witnesses to my streetcar song,
and one day I road it all the way to the top of the hill
and passengers were pressed to the giant wind shield
of the bus as it plunged down the hill on
Sacramento street, and I waited,
a girl in a trolley suit
as the police cars circled the block
thinking they had spotted Patty Hearst,
but they were wrong
generally speaking.
There was white space, white noise and anger,
little tear drops of it falling onto paper
like money which some said was a dog
of devotion, one I did not worship.
I write because my friends have fallen
in different directions in the grass
like empty cans or old lawn toys,
or balls of twine from a drawer
in my childhood home,
I want to keep it because of the smell,
and the texture which tightens and stretches
across space into a laugh.
I write because of the trouble I’ve seen,
lightening splitting the tree in half,
a little girl dragging gunny sacks too big for her,
her brother hanging in the woodshed,
an old lady curved into a rainbow of pain
praying to Jesus, electrified and troubled,
I write for my brother’s sadness.
I write because of the clouds tugging at the ground
in the boy’s poem (he was from Chile and wore
worn out boots and paint-stained pants, and his hair
was black with curls) and he loved Neruda
worshipped him, and now so do I,
maybe because of clouds or because of the braceros
in ten-gallon hats chewing the fat outside Bing’s Diner
or
because of the shadows smashed on
the beach and the sand was big,
rocklike pieces broke in my hands
green stars, cutting, wounding everything.
I write because sometimes the day stops just as I enter the air
and even the tree looks vagrant,
and Anne’s kitten of butter
sits on the window sill of the elevator
going up and going into the storm with
a bag of buttons, different sizes and colors
but something for everyone.
I write because
salt is a necessity, a currency, a life force
that cannot be stopped, can only be spilled
into an ecstasy between us.

Linda M. Crate

more deadly than a venus flytrap

your rosebud mouth lured me in,
naively I believed you when you
said you wouldn’t prick me with
your spindle, believed the lies
you told me encrusted with rubies —
butterflies lined your face, painted
tissue paper wings beating the
circumference of my heart, your
eyes gazed into mine and I felt
my step falter; a rouge crimson
fluttering of roses in my chest;
but you left me here in a mess
of cobwebs, bones, and broken
seashells laying in gossamer
strands of broken dreams silver
as moonbeams falling upon the
grass, and I close my eyes and
wonder why anyone chooses to
be trusting of people with there
are swarthy villains like you out
there; wolves in clothing of sheep;
greedy to tear the throat of any
that choose to enfold them in love.

sole survivor

you were a song I carried in
my heart, yours was a name
that resounded so prettily to
the ear; you made my heart
pirouette like a ballet dancer —
took the soul of a clumsy
girl and made her look queen;
but then you were stolen from
me by the hands of time, that
pulled you back into the sea,
a raging storm neither of us
predicted encircled us I was
the sole survivor; but I oft
wish that I wasn’t, I hear
your voice in the void of
night, a starless winter night
with no stars; and you’re
calling me like a prayer —
I see your ghostly face in
the fog before your memory
rescinds like a phantasm my
hands slipping through your
misty ruin, and it hurts all
over again like losing you
again and again but in a
different way since you’ve
been buried in the earth;
I often wonder why I was
spared, why I could not
follow my eurydice into the
underworld, but I am no
orpheus and I suppose the
universe was aware of that,
and I know life isn’t fair;
but if I could undo the hands
of time, I’d make it so that
you were here; holding me in
this dark shroud that stifles
me in his pungent death arms.

chasing the dark away

she dances in the gold
of day, a rush of crimson

feathers against charcoal
smoke; a river of sapphire

against the brown hickory;
an autumn leaf aimlessly

flying through the air, a
pirouette that lasts a life

time of an immortal moment —
caught by her mother in the

lens of a camera, but no
one can know the fathoms

of the girl’s mind, only see
her tilted face; her smile,

caught forever in mid spin,
as if the world were her

merry-go-round and she had
no worries in or of the world;

she is no longer that dancer
in autumn, she is the lone

wolf, starving for warmth
looking for love in all the

wrong places; a potential
for such greatness ruined

and shattered by broken
hearts and scalped dreams,

but her mother forgets this
wishing to forever cleave to

the idea that her little girl
will one day dance autumn

in her peculiar fond lilting,
chasing the nightmare of

what has come away into
the opaque darkness of night.

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