Lift Cap to Hand by Jeff Bagato

The hammer comes down in the hands
of a black queen walking
the steps of the bardo, lurching
like a bee stung circus
convoy in Mexican heat,
the elephants snorting prehensile
memories of stale peanuts in their trunks
and groping the thigh of this trusting lady
in her inordinate falsie, a tremendous red
wig slipping over her eyes like two monks
screaming “Jesus” in a crowded
elevator, “lift cap to load,”
the last thing you see before Rod
Cocking takes your hand and leads
you down this path of iniquity or
nature—we know the truth
in aloe gel smears, and who else
paints a windy city around this last
hotel, the final resting of a delighted
lady in debtor’s uglies, that banging
on the door like the shoofly percussion
of an old witchdoctor after a deep inhale,
the steam getting under her feather
boa and ungluing sequins on her store-
bought gown, so you can see how
the hammer never looked prettier,
reaching over the good
doctor’s smoking flame to hold
hands with a blue

Jeff Bagato 2
A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music, glitch video, sticker art, and pop surrealism paintings. Some of his poetry has appeared in Empty Mirror, The Five-Two, Rusty Truck, Futures Trading, Otoliths, and Your One Phone Call. His published books include Savage Magic (poetry), Cthulhu Limericks (poetry), The Toothpick Fairy (fiction), and Dishwasher on Mars (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at

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