Other notable works by Annmarie Lockhart, Joe Milford and Chenelle Milford.
Charles Clifford Brooks III:
Running a hand over feral hair
waking is a drop kick-to-the-balls.
a grey suit.
The ceiling sags.
The room’s view:
an empty playground,
Smelling of tea roses
time is perpetually blurry.
Christmas is nothing
Three for the Going Again
The night took down
its azure complexion
as she swore me off.
I hear those who kissed me before
scoff all the Confederacy
My sweet Mason-Dixon
cinches her belt
with a Mother Mary buckle.
Be brave, tug together
your sacred, rarely-worn
Leave this gambler with
no good hand.
Why am I doing this?
Because I’m yours,
because the spectators
are telling scary stories,
because this January blizzard
has locked me away
She is Heloise
without a neutered Abelard
She gave up Petrarch
will lose nothing having
his love letters.
I cannot cry
within my liver,
my vacant iris.
I plague her.
I have pushed
my sad darling
to miss these hips
I am a worn out
recliner she kept
but never sat.
Skim your tear-wet paws
over the brail
of my wrists.
speak to me
She is the only witness.
With guts full of thirst
for a compassion fate
we are divided
by an asylum
in Washington State.
From the front door,
neighbors keep pounding
To let in those guests
is not release,
never a girl.
It’s been 39 days.
squeezed shut in the lungs
of some petty beast.
The air is hemmed with hyacinth.
In thick blue and pink petals,
I don’t know where she is.
Cliff Brooks is a Pushcart nominee who has a History degree from Shorter University. The Joe Milford Poetry Show and Vox Poetica will feature new work from his books Whirling Metaphysics and The Draw of Broken Eyes to be published by Gosslee in spring 2012. He currently haunts Athens, Georgia.
banshee wail rides
the rising wind
dark night blots
out the last light
this fairy wronged
and spited shrieks,
sounds a warning
and in response
trees wave their
valley holds its
breath, waiting for
her to yell herself
out, spin herself still,
spread thin, and slip
It All Revolves Around the Sun
Disorderly conduct, birthdays,
endurance, and every rat who
races: Some freeze to death
when the sun sits high
in the summer sky
and some live in whale fat
and snow huts, ice fishing
in the dark that is midnight
and noon and every hour
Three drops of water from
the slow-drip faucet and
nothing of thirst is slaked.
Yellow moon teases, taunts,
kisses a golden
cast of lonely on this bruised
and bordered body. At the
autumnal equinox ripening
and rot are equidistant
Not a Metaphor
Three red drops, fat and wet
on the veined marble floor: source
mysterious, but there is no fiction in
the splash, though it was a metaphor
when I wrote this yesterday.
On the Menu
Sometimes a steak
is really a mushroom
tasting of dirt instead of blood
and a tomato
is paper soaked in water
and salted erythrocytes
is the decadent
flesh of complicity
to eat but peanut butter
and raisins with chocolate
Step on a Crack
I walk through minefields
of forked tongues and
forks in the road, with
an intuition map,
listening as the quiet speaks,
telling of intimacies untold
and betrayals pre-sold,
calling out to you across
the tracks, stepping on cracks,
calling out to you
and the horse you rode in on
and the dog you’ll ride out.
Slipping through cracks, slinging
arrows, careless with precise words.
Annmarie Lockhart is the founding editor of vox poetica, an online literary salon dedicated to bringing poetry into the everyday, and the founder of unbound CONTENT, an independent press for a boundless age. She has been reading and writing poetry since she could read and write. A lifelong Bergen County NJ resident, she lives and writes 2 miles east of the hospital where she was born.
so that we come to know we all migrate into putrid and wanton gestation
so that we come to know the cruciform as only one notch in the old ancient always tree
so that we come to know that our constellation is made without our permission
so that we come to know that we must document those stars and how we orbit them
so that we come to know we are turds eating turds in carbon cyclic composition
so that we come to know our cave-vulva birthburn into flesh layered pupa
so that we come to know that great eels and worms crawl our DNA pulsating
so that we come to know that we are cleansed through fire not water through salt and sulphur
so that we come to know the brain is a jellyfish anthive spore-filled landfill of looms
so that we come to know that the afterlife’s roots taste like the hell’s tongues of dribbled whores
so that we come to know medusa ganglia writhe our sargassic morphic fields hunt of Artemis
so that we come to know that we host hosts of imposters and truths in our cellular structures
so that we come to know there is no afterlife there is only everlife its forms always violent animals
so that we come to know this grit spun about the collider will find godparticle or slag-colander
so that we come to know our journal is but flesh of word interrupted by crucifixions
so that we never forget that the grotesque is the stickman being cracked open to ooze its stories
so that we never forget our keys before descending into the belly of the thousand coiled ears
so that we never forget our gelatinous self before the bony made us forget how to translute
so that we never forget the garden of earthly delights as we ride the subway langlinguage
so that we never forget we appear to each other’s souls as something covered in Vaseline
so that we never forget chess is only how you stagger through the Mayan soccer deathgame
so that we never forget we make our larvae the soft crutches for ideas of acid and lye
so that we never forget minions talk us up as they suck as down into the arid vortex of fuck
so that we never forget that language was held in a skull like blood and was spilled at our birth
so that we never forget the mandolin heard when we left our bodies and the trombone entered
so that we never forget joist and jest lathe and lust fester and foist boil and brutal love and crystal
so that we never forget we ride the great steed and are the great steed simultaneously brethren
so that we never forget many wings touching the top of the cave while guano made museums
so that we never forget that the jaguar eats us while birthing us the blood on its canines is us
so that we never forget caliphate versus infidel tongue versus pussy with hungry ghosts hovering
a kaleidoscopic weave allowing me in smalltown GA to merge with Lascaux through spidermind
a kaleidoscopic weave allowing Vallejo to use Clayton-medium as homunculus-voice from abyss
a kaleidoscopic weave allowing American steaming fast-food bowels to be lacerated and emptied
a kaleidoscopic weave writhing up ancient totem phallus exchanging vegetable, animal, human
a kaleidoscopic weave of vegetable, animal, human, mineral, celestial, chthonic, astral intelligences
a kaleidoscopic weave of quetzal, jaguar, bison, swordfish, seahorse, all burning to bone nautilus
a kaleidoscopic weave in the core where Kali dances and the black goddess maze of vulva pulses
a kaleidoscopic weave of sutra and mandala all of us omen-makers our invisible Anubis-helmets
a kaleidoscopic weave through a Boschian landscape populated by bird-headed men harvesting
a kaleidoscopic weave where we pull the veil back drink from the wound in Ourobouros scales
a kaleidoscopic weave into which we spelunk infinitely reading the cave-walls of the spiral
a kaleidoscopic weave to escape UFO abduction fear which is only visitation of our past animals
a kaleidoscopic weave helping the reptile cortex fuck the mammal cortex to birth human pigment
a kaleidoscopic weave of fin antler hand scale feather leaf spine talon flipper wing tongue finger
a kaleidoscopic weave of your grindstone my anvil your decanter my alembic this apothecary
TATTERED SCROLLS AND POSTULATES
i built a circle of wolves around our lot and the house is transparent so our children learn.
do you know how blurred your lenses have become. that’s why pilot’s goggles are your fetish.
integers, increments, wreathes and cockles’ coils. staple walls for nothing. corrode comes greased.
satyrs run as far as they can and then the rain forests are burned down and men hunt them.
my DNA abacus spirals back to the mitochondria and waits for a mate to make me perfect.
i was his liver. vultures ate me everyday. he would carry me into the office. terrible display.
i was given a stone by a man and the man said a man was contained within the stone. I threw it.
coyote, with your jowls chaffed, we will feed you. come to the sliding glass door. Eat. Lick lips.
i saw all scarecrows dismount and lunge in a hurricane towards promisedland and neverland.
stop glimmering–the moths flock to you–i can’t penetrate their shifting webs of wings.
held up by the neck as a whelp in some terrible blinding light and checked for adequacy.
when the only two vehicles left at your disposal are the taxicab or squad car.
pockmarked with geysers stricken with bullet-holes viscous with ampules. you in the hallway.
i was tossed like a chewed bone. left not for dead but for life to find my marrow. suckle it.
millet grist powder silt resin for the words to imbue with lustre liquid and molten tongue-blood.
and though poetry was a planet of obsidian onyx we chipped sharp sherds from it to fling.
trolling deep in undercurrent, evil fish, a light hangs from its spine to let it see what it must eat.
the time i spent scraping at my bar-code my UPC i should have spent escaping commodity.
i scrawled your voodoo names and secret words onto wooden pine knots. they in the coffee can.
phase 1: specimen. phase 2: study of specimens. phase 3: hunt them. phase 4: free the specimens.
which instrument to play in the valley, on the cliff, by the ocean, underwater, in the coffin?
i was stoned out of my gourd through high school but that did not work vs. the 9-headed hydra.
would you believe me that the Gates to the Ardent World are can openers, Q-Tips, thumbtacks?
in the bucket, down the well, you pendulum, reciting the names of all the saints you know.
the prom queen is running from the angry swan the record-spinner is coked-up. summertime.
covered myself in roadkill and laid in the field watching them circle slowly closer and closer.
when you scream the moray eels jet out the killer bees swarm out the mustard gas permeates.
your gutturals call language up from earth and your trills call language down from the sky.
i wanted the woman inside my mom’s oil lamp–her trapped behind those beads on their wires.
all of writing is the robbing of graves. ancient owl stares you down the gun-barrel of oak branch.
after thousands of years of losing our teeth against the glass we finally cut through the aquarium.
too many candles in the trees too many christmas lights in the pond too many barren angels.
the deer keep leaping into the onslaught of metal misconstruing it as a river trying to dowse.
flurries came through the homestead and i took the scalpel and opened my chest to melt them.
i collected silver calamities and tried to keep them in swisher sweet boxes but they melted.
i was inside the whiskey bottle screaming and no one could hear and he threw it shattering me.
if we could have an orchard of orchids and fly through it like ghosts i’d sign that lease.
my mom thought it was a great idea us sunburned picking strawberries for stepfather.
in this flooded and dead Georgia, i wonder where the snakes have all gone. makes me nervous.
moon shining on the shovel and then i knew i should not be here. i am knee-deep in unsayable.
gliders flew over the graves and forests and landed on our lawns with letters of stone.
she is on the phone and i see her genuflect and know it is a man who may or may not pay.
a sharp shrapnel dancer spun about my cuts and made a beard for me of church-glass.
glimpses is all they are—water-striders speed across a cold Tennessee eyeball inlet in blue stones.
your pipe has not yet changed many colors. come here more often. back porch by woods.
that time on the phone i saw the squirrel killed by car while talking of the Marvin Bell poem.
inside the ancient dresser from the flea market i found a copy of Francis Bacon from old library.
everyone keeps asking about what i am using the shed for out back and i can’t really say.
young whelps skinning the last sheen off the hardwood floors with their birthday scamperings.
tight ivy wrapped most of our stories so they had to be loosened with a longlasting campfire.
i don’t have to be wiccan to know the solstice and the equinox i have the Farmer’s Almanac.
All I Know So Far
you made my bones sing today
I bounced to the hilltop
and kidnapped a star for you
the star rippled and buckled
and wriggled away while we
swam through construction sites
and piles of instruments
you fired your synapses and hit
my spinal cord—it curled up
in my gut and tried to kick
its way out while my veins
screamed for your adrenaline
our symbols cracked and faded into
the weeds that went on for miles
until there was no more research
to be done and you coveted
the look on my face when you said
something serious and the look on my
face when I couldn’t look at you
the look on my face when you took
me by the strings and flew me
like a kite on the beach
letting blood anthropomorphic
god like truth speaking machine
beam saw table saw no distinction
hot glue melting plasticizing skin
blistering wilting not a cloud in the sky
but no visibility in the inventory
industry and change your mind
leap faith prostrate clean break
fresh start beat the teeth clenched
string pulled all we need to know
in bed with us from the beginning
What is hand over face if not a heart-drug
Heart cannot beat off years of infidelity
So hand will beat off heart until sheer utility
Takes over and tools do the jobs of self-
Importance punches life in the womb where
There is no fetus there is no impetus there
No harbor to be held or hunted the hunter
Leads the pack down a path of constructive
Criticism contriving and controlling all that
Does not fit the selfish mold of men and poets
And historians and mathematicians who held
The keys for eternity but did not want to aid
Blood-let the wrong hands cannot pleasure
The right way when there is no lubrication
There is a communication breakdown when
Worlds don’t coincide or leave anymore room
What if I wanted to bible you
And you could scripture me
Would you take me on a picnic
And speak to me with that
Radio voice—you can deflect
Acceptable as long as you still
Read me my rights
By the time the towel hits
The throat, the left side lip
Is already frozen. Teethcuts
Inside the upperlip itch under
The mouthcunt you hate so.
Can’t stop cracking swollen joints.
You try but cannot explode
The ringfinger with the fakering.
The armdream hoop-earrings
Rip right out of their sockets
In footshaped chin-contusions.
A pale canvas and a nice palette.
So many different green shades,
They block out the sun.
Chenelle C. Milford, a native Californian, is the manager, web-designer, consultant, all-around aficionado, and archivist of the Joe Milford Poetry Show. She is the founder and editor of the literary journal, Scythe. Some of her work is displayed on journals such as New Aesthetic and Menacing Hedge. She now resides in rural Georgia with her husband and three daughters.