Carcinogenic Poetry Recap No. 5

Stumblebum Dawn

To some, dusk is a stumblebum dawn tripped on the stairs.
A grand entrance was planned, the staircase fabulous,
the dazzling sunlight behind the window atop the stairs
half blinding all the upturned eyes awed by the sight
of that top-floor prodigy prepared, preordained to gracefully descend.
But reckless feet tangled in the folds of the poorly laid red carpet.
The sharp edges of each step made for a bruising fall.
Of course the banister was grabbed many times,
but the sheer momentum of the tumble
yanked the arms like an inquisitor’s rack.
The torso turned over and over until it hit bottom,
its potential and kinetic energy spent.
Finally the falling body was at rest
on the cold naked floor beyond the reach of the chintzy red carpet.
Inertia forbade any attempt to rise and try again,
and pain deterred even the thought of it.
There can be only one descent from beginning to end.
And now Stumblebum’s eyes are closing but can still see up the stairs
all the way to the top window no longer filled with sunlight,
but dim and growing dimmer, the grand entrance reduced to pratfall

 

 

The Same Chemistry of Tears

Dad let me stay up late medicating with eyedroppers full of milk, a hopeless remedy.
Next morning I cried when dad and I in solemn procession carried the garbage bag coffin.
There by the front-lawn bush was the funeral.
Dad offered a parody of prayer.
But I, a six year old who nursed then lost his pet, really cried.
Years later I said prayers for my father and cried the same chemistry of tears,
for all tears of grief are for washing out not motes from the eyes, but sorrow from the soul.
Grief-laden tears, all tears of emotion, share the same concentrations of proteins and salts.
Of course for dad I still cry, sometimes.
Now I’m here again, and once more there’s a congregation of two.
I am the father now; my son is bored.
He proclaims that all old bones are dust; and so they are.
He scolds that there’s nothing to find here,
and claims I’m being silly, no worse—sappy.
He wants us to get back into the car and move on.
But I recall exactly where the ancient grave is,
there to the right of the door under that tree that was once a bush.
Father and son—I recall. Father and son—now. Father and son—someday
How selfish of me, ridiculous, cruel even.
Decades from now, I will want him to remember this futile visit
and cry the same chemistry while boring his son to tears.

 

 

Richard Fein was finalist in The 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He has an upcoming chapbook to be published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Richard has been published in many web and print journals, such as Southern ReviewMorpo ReviewPerigee, SkylineOregon East, Southern Humanities Review, TouchstoneWindsor ReviewMaverickParnassus Literary ReviewSmall PondKansas QuarterlyBlue UnicornExquisite CorpseTerrain Aroostook Review and many others. Richard also has an interest in digital photography and has published many photos.

Originally published on December 12, 2009 at Carcinogenic Poetry.

Carcinogenic Poetry Recap No. 4

Exhaled

blank vault
to an abyss reduced

my shadow my shadow
cast upon bare white walls

brail of death
of an insurmountable blindness

filth of corrupt night endless
storm of the unflexed hand that quivers
beneath the weight of the dark

churning the pale pulse laughter of where
the ripe blood has flown

stripped bare the sunken flesh
the nakedness of the wind

talon of existence the wings of the vulture
to engulf breath

death rattles the grieving air cannot
be exhaled

absence of sound
an absence of tears

falsetto of shattered flesh

 

 

Trace

hollow laughter

infinity of black

silence

an opiated kiss

inverted sky

scarlet sands

nothingness

the finite light adrift

trace of an absence unknowable

 

 

Michael McAloran was Belfast born, his family moved to the south of Ireland due to ‘The Troubles’. He has been writing for almost a decade, but has only recently begun to submit. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in the following: Poetry Monthly International, The Delinquent, The Recusant, Lines Written w/a Razor, Counterexample Poetics, Full Of Crow, Gloom Cupboard, Writing Raw, Eviscerator Heaven, Clockwise Cat, The Plebian Rag, Why Vandalism?, and BlazeVOX.

Originally published at Carcinogenic Poetry on December 8, 2009. 

 

 

Carcinogenic Poetry Recap No. 3

Just Like Edgar Allen Poe’s Blues

I found my heart wandering
the streets of Baltimore,

penniless,
raving unintelligibly,

dressed in someone else’s clothes.
It was coming from a funeral,

or going to one,
and when I failed to ask whose,

it was gone.

But, all these years later,
mere acquaintances

continue to receive letters
begging for $10 for the fare home.

 

All That Was Lost Is Returned

The TV was broken,
but my father kept turning the dial.

There was something he wanted
to watch that night.

At the kitchen table my mother
was drawing in her eyebrows.

Children I knew from school
lurched down the road

in the front of our house
with suitcases held together by rope.

It wasn’t dark, and then it was,
and the flames swayed

despite the lack of wind.
The poet gestured to me to follow him

over the high railing of the bridge.
I looked around for help.

A woman stood on the corner
with her hip thrust out.

Six years passed in a minute.
Such things are true if you believe them

 

 

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 11 previous poetry chapbooks, including Still Life with Firearms (2009, Right Hand Pointing), Visiting the Dead (2009, Flutter Press) and My Heart Draws a Rough Map (2009, The Blue Hour Press). He has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and four times for the Best of the Net anthology. His first full-length book of poetry, Lovesick, was released in 2009 by Press Americana.

Originally published in Carcinogenic Poetry on December 5, 2009.