Go back

                                                                                                Jeffrey Calhoun



The bus driver had been drinking

It's October; you dress like a ghost.
At the party, there are vampires,
princesses with blond wigs,
and ninja turtles drinking punch
and playing Twister in socks.
One kid wears a homespun Spongebob costume
and sits alone under a basement pool table.

I dress like Donnie Darko; you become a ghost
lost under wheels
like a candy wrapper tossed by a hungry toddler.



Death wishes reinterpreted into death sentences

A void exists when guns spread like cancer

I walk gray streets a chambered bullet
in the fog. An alley's screams choke
on chloroform soaked rags
held over mouths:
NRA agents love dirty hands
and the smoke that rises
after long nights pleasuring gun barrels.

Gang members ambushed my family:
two bullets struck three targets.
Some hospital doctor told me I was lucky
to have survived unscathed.

Wounds like mine aren't cured by a shrink.
My psychotherapy: defeating mother's voice
when it entices from Dad's knife.
At first shadow, I'm the blind ghoul of justice:

cold asphalt taught me that a gunman
is naught but cheap ammunition.



Planning, or lack thereof, for a searing

I. Prologue

A droplet of fire falls;
comets race to nothing, but this opal
twirls in space like a brain surgeon's hand crank,
claws toward Earth like a hobo who spies suspenders.

Once the globule lands, it shall engulf a world,
but for now it drips through an empty void.
Upset, lunatic seers scream random dates,
raving astronomers apply mathematic formulas.

II. Epilogue

The opal travels only in half-step intervals.
It never strikes, merely pauses near Earth's crust
where it is designated the newest Wonder.



On Survival and Desire

Father Time is lounging on his back.
Mother Earth's at his side with a cigarette.
She's grown tired of the minute hand of a minute man.
Her mind wanders,
ponders a world of arrows and bullets:
flechettes and shrapnel teem magma red.
As one who moves mountains, she considers redeeming fools:
she could intercept Death who's lately taken to a projectile's flight.
But humans never learn.
She's begun to think of them as golems,
machines repeating like the record player
performing the same romantic song to their lovemaking.

Time accepts her embarrassing departure.
He needs a reprieve from the pressure of loving her:
it's stress enough for a man who sees the world inch along
worms caressing headstones.

In a thousand years he lies
in the same graveyard dreaming of her return.
She lies in a different bed,
languid on a quilt of suns,
grasping a bedpost of pure light.
She dreams of him hanging from a tree.



Alba Butterfly

An Alba butterfly has twelve hours to mate
and lay her eggs.

Next summer, the caterpillars grow wings;
Darwin filters the progeny with interlocked fingers.

An Alba poet writes about a sister,
her yellow wings, her sunward dance,
her slowing wings, their final halt.

An Alba poet won't pass on any genes.



                                                                                                © Jeffrey Calhoun

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 — Vol. I, No. 2
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