—From The Love Songs of J., Serial Killer
Love claws your eyes out of their sockets
and you press them in backwards with your thumbs
to imprint the image of the lover’s face
that fills your head with so much blood
you say, This is what it must have been like to breathe
together in a cave, to feel all the blood in the body
rise above the neck without a thought or name
for love, not to feed like a poet, deep
on peerless eyes (never suffer
embarrassment of earnest praise)
but to eat them raw, taste what the lover
sees and suck the tears from the irises
like the last drops from the source of the Euphrates.
Albert Fletcher, Saginaw Michigan
—From The Big Book of Confessions and Apologies by Self-Aware
My father beat me like a too-tight snare
until the flutes in my lungs madrigaled,
“Please, stop, Sir.” Only respect made him
stop demanding respect. When I look
in the mirror, I don’t see a beaten child
but a disappointed man too tired
not to suck back a last Bacardi double,
too splattered against the wall of work
to stay dry beyond a year. To be drunk
for days perfectly sustains the illusion
that I am self-loved unconditionally.
I know, I’ve had enough and so have you
but if you stop my hand when I raise this glass,
I will sever yours at the wrist and drink
with almost sincere regret before
I tear off my sleeve to stanch the bleeding.
Stephen Brockwell runs the small business www.brockwellit.com. Fruitfly Geographic (ECW Press, 2004) was the winner of the Archibald Lampman award. Brockwell has been working on Excerpts from Impossible Books.