Caught in the wet gale torn between the hill’s teeth like a final breath,
Corduroy cold against sky and skin,
And the ashes of a fire you thought would always
Burn, left now in the damp and no stars
No anything but the vague sense of something
Running after you like a dog you want to leave behind;
But forgetting always the loss
The light fading on stone
The eyes you no longer remember and the voice you no longer hear
Except as an echo of your own
Caught in the coral cave of dreams that come after
Too much drink and worry and work and too many
Walking through dust wet with frost, cars slicing by,
And this is all there is, this fading.
Long ago, perhaps even before birth,
a hack writer installed his Juan Corona
in my middle ear. The typewriter’s clacking keys fill
gaps in my knowledge and crowd out understanding.
He casts me as a romantic lead. The dirty blonde
sitting across my breakfast table wears an expression
sour as grapefruit juice. Her plaid robe’s careless fold opens
to a roadmap of varicose veins on lumpy thighs.
I stare out the window through gaps
in the fence’s white wooden slats
and hope to glimpse the woman meant for me –
the right one, the nude sunbather whose breasts float
like Nuryev’s grand jeté.
During my drive to work, Congressman
Lavrenti Beria squawks on the radio news.
I recognize coded orders from his cabal
of crypto fascists to their brainwashed zombie hoards.
A villain in a tan Ford Bronco reveals himself
by lumbering into my lane. I become an action hero.
The script calls for a fight in a parking lot.
After escalating insults and provocations
I’m supposed to bury his head in the asphalt
with a slick Steven Segal iriminage.
But I’m too late for work. I sneak in the back door
as my boss’ shaved head and high-collared cape
recede around the corner. If he’d caught me, the Evil Sargon
would have banished me to planet Telcom’s underground mines,
where I’d scrape plutonium from rock walls with bleeding fingers
while choking on thorium dust. Until the revolution
I can only further Sargon’s maniacal plans for world domination.
I limit the damage by leaving before 5:00.
The hack has entertained me for so long that I mistake his voice
for my own. Desperate to end my oppression
I see force as the only option.
Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published nearly a hundred short stories. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website.
Scraping cobwebs away.
it would be easy
to feel the pulse
if they were not playing
the drums so loud.
But I give into rhythm
reach around vodka
and cling to the stupid step
that I still take.
The impala sitting in the handicapped
parking space at Walmart wouldn’t
usually catch your eye,
that is until you spot the old couple
pointing at it’s wheels,
“That should be illegal,”
the old man says, while
the old woman clucks and shakes her head,
I nod in agreement but only to be polite,
as I think those caps are the coolest shit
I’ve ever seen, and I can’t help but wonder
who parks in handicapped parking with
a car that looks like a Mad Max wet dream?
I walk to my van and load the groceries,
bored with my wheels & ready for
a long Summer nap.
The delivery guy
drives these streets in a convertible Trans Am
painted red, white, and blue
replete with stars to compliment the wooden crucifix
tethered to the trunk with bungy cords,
reminding all of us that HE died
for our sins.
And this could very well be true, perhaps HE did die
for our sins—
But, hey, there’s a time and place for everything
and I can’s speak for you,
wouldn’t even try
but I don’t want to be reminded of such weighty issues when drunk
and in dire need of substantial sustenance
to soak up the alcohol
so that I can sober up
and jerk off
before I go to bed.
writing me letters
full of songs, poetry.
I imagine him in his cell,
face illuminated by light-sliver,
the memory of the songs we used to sing— Why do I keep fuckin’ uuup? and Bluuue, why don’t you stay behind?
coiling, like smoke, thick,
choking the cold bars.
We have no comfort for each other,
like two crucified thieves with no Jesus
between. I see his letters, words
scattered in a black ocean,
ink running, briefly suspended,
then, sinking. Lost forever
in dark water.
Will he even be home if he comes home?
Will any of us, old friends?
Sorry I’m late
And I’m sorry I didn’t say “good morning”
Snuck into my bedroom while I slept
And super glued my lips and eyes together
I barely made it here
Fortunately my car has autopilot
Not perfected but adequate
But still I almost ran over four school kids
And collided into a mobile wheel chair
I didn’t have to scrape frost off the windshield
Or try to squint though a frosty windshield
I ended up parking halfway on the sidewalk outside
With the backend sticking out into the street
Speaking of “backend sticking out”
The receptionist was kind enough to walk me up here
I did brew two pots of coffee
You’re welcome by the way
I brewed them strong enough to give a moose an ulcer
I poured on my head while it still smoldered
It loosened the glue
Finally I was able to see and speak
Free at last
This also helps explain my pants and shirt
Or lack there of
They’re in the microwave drying off
I have to wait for the beep
Then I’ll turn them over
It’s 11 am and I haven’t done any work yet
I was getting to that point
Could you log me into my computer
I forgot my password
Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer. His writings have been published in various literary magazines such as Uppagus, The Gambler, StreetCake Magazine, Eye Contact, Syzygy, and others. He was interviewed for Pankhearst’s Fresh Featured of December 2015 and The Dailey Poet Site of February 2016. Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat, Megatron.