the Gingerbread Boy)
Beautiful gingerbread boy cracking
Oh, snap! causing the girls to rise
& sway as though dancing, only
not dancing but sociologically
invading my Kuiper Belt of flesh
that senses everything time has
to offer, time involving a stainless
steel oven & two sons on the run.
Don’t let me down—not this time
or forever—don’t let me down.
[first published in GloMag (India) 2019]
Kisses bruise the eyelid of a cataract moon.
Mango light blazes from the second-story
window of a whitewashed clapboard house.
Court jester in drawstrings croons
the cruelest month with his sideburns
gleaming like perfectly buffed
cherry 1967 Camaro fenders.
It could be a dog—yes, it is a dog,
hand-clapped & called by name,
a hound, terrier or herding mix
who curls beside us for comfort
in the dead of winter—if one were
to dissect its barks, one might discover
layer upon layer hickory, oak, maple,
& a touch of dogwood thrown in
for good measure.
Too often we observe a phenomenon
& call it magical, but it’s not;
sometimes it’s just what it is.
Last chance to dream a wireless cactus
guarding the border between hope & despair.
Razor wire cactus.
Last chance to believe one is impervious
to common decency—it’s the static that
gets me—but conglomerate algorithmic
crude not so much.
I’ve withstood floods, shifting states of mind,
& expectations pinned like butterflies
against the lapels of Nobel Laureates.
I ate dinner with an extinct diminutive short
pronged mammal for millennia, along
with my Neanderthal cousins.
I soiled the onionskin pages of early,
modern & contemporary Christianity
& lived to talk about it.
But, today, I’m too exhausted to commence
with existence like a wasp in my doughboy
helmet, wasp that stung me with a garden
shed & kitchen drawer full of green trading
stamps that amounted to pretty much what
no one expected them to amount to.
Still, that’s not what I meant earlier; what
I meant earlier is that I’ve just spotted a
category five, & if I know what’s good for
me tonight, I’ll orbit the moonlit thermals
like crushed roach tablets sheltering our military
graveyards until someone flips me upside
down like an hourglass & dumps me
into William Blake’s heaven or Arthur
[first published in Big Windows Review 2019]
ODE TO AN INCENSE TILE
The incense tile is blind
as she scooches beside me
during my dream.
I don’t know whether to fall
in love or to grow scales,
seeing as how it’s all
a fairytale, anyway.
It’s 2002, the season
for religious abuse,
so, I check my illusions at the altar
the hollowed-out paradigms
of one thousand generations,
past lichen-covered philosophies
in search of a sober existence.
And just about then a wooden match
flickering its ladybug wings
sizzles the tip of one patchouli stick
that flashes like a lighthouse
before coughing up a lazy lotus
of blue smoke.
[earlier version first published in New Gravity 2015]
THIS IS HOW TUESDAYS WERE MEANT TO BE
(Or enjoying the *Savoy Truffle)
I think I’m in estrous or something—
ice cubes slithering my shoulder blades and down my back
leaving a trail of leopard slugs to fend for themselves.
Warren Haynes’ Gibson Les Paul like heat lighting
flashing the palmettoes.
Meanwhile, the Savoy Truffle, white herons or heroin clinking false teeth
into the bathroom sink like a forgotten icon with skull encased in amber.
Well, the Savoy Truffle, years later a dentist
or psychiatrist lounging beneath the armpits
of banana palms lining the intimate cocktail
square of civilization left
after certain unmentionables
have fleeced the environment
with their pitch-black toxic plumes
of smoke rising from refinery stacks,
refinery stacks like Tinkertoys lining the horizon, or, heaven
forbid, that insidious battery balanced upon Robert Conrad’s shoulder
in one of those primitive, archetypal, Duracell commercials:
Go ahead, knock that fucker off!
[Thank you, *George Harrison]
Alan Britt poems have appeared in Agni Review, American Poetry Review, The Bitter Oleander, Cottonwood, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Osiris, and Stand (UK). His latest book is Emergency Room, 2022, from Pony One Dog Press. He has published 21 books of poetry and served as Art Agent for Andy Warhol Superstar, the late great Ultra Violet, while often reading poetry at her Chelsea, New York studio. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.