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Cindy King

The Acme Speed-Queen

She paves her ways with a steam roller,
flattens everything
like a one-sided record
that she plays when she wants to remember.
She thinks it sounds as smooth as it looks,
but when I listen, I can't hear any music
over the crackle of hot tar and gravel.

She blends a cocktail
to prove that she knows the difference
between mixed-up and confused,
and before pouring,
murmurs her name into my glass.

I feel it in the back of my throat,
both soft and scratchy like fiberglass
soaked in a whiskey sour.

She takes the shape of whatever lies on top of her,
becomes a backward impression.
A mattress fits her better than any body.
Like all of these people she meets,
I come with my jackhammer,
tear up the one-way street.




Star Spangled

Fireworks have been outlawed,
We shower the air with bullets.

Enter the king,
strobed in smoke and flash cubes.
Instead of a powdered wig,
hair piece and spray.

On out-stretched arms,
he balances a ring-tailed lemur
whose face appears on the dollar bill.
The king does his own stunts.

The queen follows
like a trolling lure.
She's wrapped,
rock-candy, cinnamon
redhot.

The sun is skeptical,
clouds, suspicious.
Words like uncertain are
reserved for the weather.

An arrest, charges,
a man who watched too many cartoons.
The bomb on the buffet
a kitchen staff conspiracy
uncovered when a woman bit down
on a tiny explosion,
diamonds in the mashed potatoes.

Please stand for the car alarm anthem,
The flag wags like the tongue of an idiot.




Sharing a Mantel with Trophies

Patio Daddy-O cruises the strip,
his rubber-band memory pulled back
Forgets sometimes the further the stretch,
the harder he'll feel the snap.

He watches his past
in the rear-view mirror:
choice bits, hula-skirt hips
sway checkered flags,
Go-go girls blowing kisses.
His wife soaking feet
with the breakfast dishes.

Lead-colored waves,
snow-peppered sand,
static between lite-rock stations.
Santo and Johnny
cut with Air Supply
thaw a place in his chest.

He stops at Moby's SouvenirLand,
picks through sea shells,
lives replaced with sand.
Finds for his wife, a starfish,
one that is dried with promise.

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