Tag Archives: Charles Harper Webb

Pictures We Hate
by Charles Harper Webb

Cash-strapped in China,
where they want
more white faces
on TV, Meg
stands in shorts
and chef’s hat, stirring
chicken in a wok.
“MSG! MSG!
Good for you! Good
for me,” she squeaks,
totally (viewers
can’t hear,
of course) off key.

Spread-eagled
on a pale blue floor
accessorized
with mirrors, posters,
and photos
of open windows
that make it seem
he’s spidering up
a wall, Steve’s
stomach looks
ready to explode
and splooch his guts
all over his black
Spandex body-suit.

Home
for Christmas, I’m 19,
coaxing out my first
goatee. A baubled fir
gleams in the room
I’m careering through,
just after hearing
on my bedroom phone
the up-till-then love-
of-my-life intone
her intention to date
“other men.” “Big
smile!” I’m sure
whoever took this

cheered.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

Charles Harper Webb’s latest book, Brain Camp, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015. A Million MFAs Are Not Enough, a book of essays on contemporary American poetry, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recipient of grants from the Whiting and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach.

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Visit Charles Harper Webb’s contributors page.

Dad, My Nipples Hurt
by Charles Harper Webb

Now the drawbridge lifts, boyhood left
diddling Legos on the other side. Now

Hun-like hormones start their thundering
ride. Studying puberty at school,

he thought he was immune, voice still
shrill as a girl’s. Now—soon!—sweaty

armpit-and-crotch-trolls will turn their cranks
and squeeze out hair. Soon seeds of life

will spurt at night. The signal-fires
girls burn on hills he laughed at last year

will enflame his brain. Soon every car
will hiss, “Drive me,” as foremen-cells yell,

“Stretch! Swell! Grow!” and pitch’s
paratroops plunge from his voice-box,

down. Stalled at the Chest / Breast crossroads,
mammary glands cry, “Which way?”

Soon my son will say, in a full baritone,
“Pass the pasta, please,” meaning, “Pass

your beaten-downness into my huge, hairy
hands.”

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

Charles Harper Webb’s latest book, Brain Camp, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015. A Million MFAs Are Not Enough, a book of essays on contemporary American poetry, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recipient of grants from the Whiting and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach.

See all items about Charles Harper Webb

Visit Charles Harper Webb’s contributors page.

Volume 18, Issue 1 is Now Online

CPR Volume 18, Issue 1Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1, is now online. Enjoy new poems by Maria Sanz (translated by Lola Hidalgo-Calle and Mark Putnam), Tim Cresswell, M.K. Foster, Colin Schmidt, Yehoshua November, LeRoy Sorensen, Yuko Taniguchi, Ben Debus, Mary Moore, Elijah Burrell, Charles Harper Webb, Amorak Huey, Allison Joseph, Cassandra Cleghorn, Jennifer Highland, Danielle Mitchell, Michael Hurley, Judy Kronenefeld, Amanda Doster, Laurie Klein, Daryl Jones, T.J. Sandella, Janet Hagelgans, Doug Ramspeck, Jennifer Bullis, Tina Richardson, Lynn Schmeidler. With reviews of Ada Limon and Kristina Marie Darling by Dave Seter and Donna Vorreyer.