Wednesday 18 May 2022

Five Poems by Alan Britt

 


BEAUTIFUL BOY

 

(For 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]



CHANGE

 

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.

 

Change.



LAST CHANCE

 

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

Rimbaud’s hell.

 

[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

and stroll

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.

 

 

 

 

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