Cider 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.
A brutal misshapen cold, and us unready. Whicker. Vessel-proof, failing. Dwarfed by things already shrunken. Wind making noise as it passes through our age, owls like deaf hands. The fire that, the child said, spread like peanut butter, and the men dressed as miners who came to wash it off and down the hill. A thing vital, saltlike. Bitten at the ends and welting brilliantly, seeming to breathe
like the new electric impulse to talk instead of grieve, or bread bags tied closed by wires wrapped in plastic. Some people rob their own graves. Little did you know their making faces out of you.
Like hawks say, we are machines removed from verse when the dying ends. Slipping wistfully into blackness. Outside the church for the deaf after service, gathered out front, hearing their faint hoots like brilliant owls. There were thirty-five brothels in Pompeii, the same as the number of bakeries. They say the women burned like bread.
You’re such a sensitive duck, you let things rotten. Big as bone. Like tomatoes on the sill. Wilting like it’s not a gerund. Or St. Paul, wilting. Some things stain when they don’t need to and we call those special things. Some things ask permission and some things are harpsichords. Some things have hammers and lids to pull them closed.
Ask me about a kind place for us and I will tell you about the ladder.
About being howled and stricken. Because, then, we took more care with wolves.
That’s how they found that dead man, the child said, looking for dead dogs. Like jewels or wood or the wicked owls that leave dead rats at the yard’s high edge. Burn them in piles of brown leaves and grass. All things either melt or burn. Bone can do both.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.
See all items about Michael Hurley
Roll me up and call me Weakness. Or furrow something tender.
Disappear into a hole hidden in the high grass, now say bask
now say tether now ask if it was as frightening as it looks on television.
Apply it in gobs to your skin,
smear it in circles with your palms. Now smell your fingertips
because you are curious and no one is watching
while you piss and rock backward on your heels.
Will you wash your hands if no one else is there?
Will you sing Happy Birthday?
I used to play a game where we lock fingers
and I twist your wrists and I push your fingers back until you say Mercy.
I push my fingernails into the spaces between your knuckles
because I want to hurt you more. Something I learned in school.
Now say Mercy. Now say pierce.
This is the pilot light, and in here you can see where the stem has broken off.
Is there something you’d like to chew? Is this strange for you?
Rock backward on your heels with someone in your hands.
Bite on something wooden now say bask say tether,
let your insides dangle like a long-case clock.
When I was young I played a game where I bit you with my teeth.
The longer I bit you the more I won the game.
When I was young I played a game where I paused the VCR
and drew on the screen with a marker. I always drew blood.
The more blood I drew, the more I won the game.
I’ve heard you can hit batteries with a hammer and eat what comes out.
I’ve heard it makes you eager. I’ve heard of men melting like film in the attic.
I’ve heard their hands against the glass.
I’ve heard of a game I can win if I hurt you with my hands.
Like: Scramble to gather at previous things. Pull them into your knees
and lean your torso over in case someone larger wants some.
Like: Think of someone you’d like to hurt.
Like: Think of someone else you’d like to hurt.
Like: I bet we could go on forever doing just this.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.
See all items about Michael Hurley