Tuesday 23 January 2024

Five Poems by Fabrice Poussin


As if Merlin


Recluse in the dark forest

hidden behind the thickest centenary oaks

he has little but a few candles.


His eyes may soon fail him

as his fortunes have vanished

in the hopeless hours of his golden years.


No vials surround him

nor cauldrons filled with poisonous herbs

tongues of bats or blood of dragons.


The floor or rotten boards littered with old quills

velum thrown about in anger

a testimony to the failures of his magic.


As the grey settled upon deeper wrinkles

he laboured with the words he knew

his attempt to create the final potion.


Alone as he may approach his demise

staring at the portrait etched in his mind

at least he can embrace her with the might of his soul.


His eyes clenched like a fist he can no longer cry

still, he prays with his remaining strength that at last

she will hear his plea, set her fears aside, knock upon his door.



Breakfast of Champions


6 AM on a brisk Tuesday they drive

a quick shower makeup session at the wheel

almost missing the entrance to their daily

mecca, cornucopia of greasy delights. 


I slow to a crawl on the corner of Broadway 

and second again before the Walgreens

not to speak of another, grits and bacon, 

joint a short while to Lowe’s. 


The same ritual each day, week after

tiresome week hurried by unspoken

clocks meetings and frozen schedules 

soon forgotten in a two-line memo to no one. 


They go by the thousands to these strange 

Drive-throughs to speak to a muffled microphone

answered by a voice from beyond it appears

invisible to their unknown life savers 


Armed with questionable answers to their prayers

dripping with days-old dressings 

wilted Romaine soggy gators trapped

between two slices of tepid bread. 


I might scream if they could hear and beg

Them, beautiful boys and girls in their prime

before it is too late for the grave 

for them to bypass the arterial nightmare.


Pack an apple, orange juice, milk, and cereal 

just like mom used to do; just a minute or two

to sit at home and take a deep breath before

the gentle aroma of better Java. 


But like a snake a million miles they go

into the hellish den that will consume their bodies

with the stress of a moment lost 

the fear of an angry boss three times their size. 


Done with you


In a haze of fire and brimstone, the monster rose

perched on feet clawed of razor-sharp horns

boasting the large abdomen of an insatiable maggot

it wanted to kill the meek to fill putrescent entrails.


Done with you, it screamed through a gigantic hole

dripping with a venomous bile manufactured in hades

as it continued to gesticulate its puny tyrannosaurus arms

claiming a land belonging only to the eternal.


Its snout red with throbbing blueish veins

the skin sweated with rivers of rottenness

birthing warts and pustules boiling near explosion

the thing was relentless in its desperation.


It claimed superiority on all counts

demanded apologies from those it trampled

doubted the sincerity of the blood it shed from their terror

never satisfied even as it annihilated their just hopes.


This incubus has come in our realm

to devour the souls of those who still dream

of leading the simple lives of lonely beggars

spectators of the atrocity of this decadence.


Done with you, it vociferated again

as they walked away ignoring this devil’s threats

it is hard for the cruel heart to know that

its power does not exist against the gentle soul.



Joy of the Knife


It was too late in a never-ending emptiness

when he seized a wondrous blade

to plunge deep into the hated entrails.


What choice did he have but to destroy

a thing not a soul seemed to believe worthy

of a glance or perhaps even a moment’s praise.


He might see the life slowly flow to a torrent

weaving its jolly way to an unlikely future

reddish as rust in the century old dust.


When it became too hard to smile

answering the same question with a pretence

all is well in an abode where all is pain.


Everything near and far oppressing his hope

why might he continue on the terrifying path

where everything points to a well-known abyss.


Sleep comes slowly in the frigid home

hollow as it echoes of eternal absence

when dawn comes all will be forgotten

for he already never was.


Love pathetic


He might be sixteen in his

cargo shorts, wrinkly T and a

worn-out paint-stained pair of Nikes.


Crowds watch him at dinner parties

playing the fool to entertain all but

they know he has eyes only for her.


He may not be sixteen for a few scars

reveal battles with self and circumstances

the heart does not mind that the body screams.


They smirk as they call him pathetic

the grown-up little boy who still hopes

that what they inherited he will one day earn.


Who can judge the one seeking affection

when he would give wealth, limb, and life

to capture a gleam in the eyes of the muse.


Call him pathetic as he trots in her wake

yet ponder what the universe sees in

this man empowered with the love it meant to be.

Fabrice Poussin is a professor of French and World Literature. His work in poetry and photography has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and hundreds of other publications worldwide. Most recently, his collections In Absentia, and If I Had a Gun, Half Past Life were published in 2021, 2022, and 2023 by Silver Bow Publishing. 



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