Marc Frazier ~ Three Poems

Journal of the Plague Years: Two

I pick words like fruit, feel­ing for those most preg­nant with meaning
but not already hav­ing meant.
A man is an island. How to guard on so many fronts?
I’ll drop by the poem store today, ask for a choice cut.
What mad king has torn out his eyes this time?
Will we love one anoth­er again?
The sud­den dip of gulls along the rocky shore.
Boats with names dock in Halifax Harbor.
The Bay of Fundy’s lone­ly sweep.
The whole sto­ry is not whole.
Antidepressants ruined art.
What great­ness is culled from the easy pill?
Adele Hugo col­laps­es on the sands of Barbados—when love becomes madness:
as unclear as sky ver­sus water on the horizon.
The more sex I have, the more I get even.
Perhaps the gulls will refuse to be painted.
You may be all I know of God.
I feel stuck in that time in which most acci­dents occur.
Put me to bed like a child who’s been disappointed.
They’ve linked hair chem­istry to vio­lence but have no idea, yet,
how two peo­ple love, or fail to.
This is what we can give one anoth­er: the silent pain of ancient sculptures
with­out hands.
Right now, make small talk. Please.


Women in Movies

Don’t know them­selves. The man mak­ing the movie has seen too many movies with such women: the femme fatale, the fall­en woman, the pros­ti­tute, the loud-mouth, bossy shrew (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), the woman’s lib­ber, the artist going her own way, the users of men who sleep with their pro­fes­sors, their cast­ing direc­tor, their Olympic train­er, any­one in author­i­ty. And there’s always the part in the plot where the woman we’ve been trust­ing turns on some­one, usu­al­ly a man who’s in love with her. You can count on her hav­ing her own secret agen­da. In French films women are more unique and unpre­dictable. They some­times com­plete­ly lose their sense of self over a pas­sion­ate obses­sion which isn’t real­ly love but they are past the point of rec­og­niz­ing this. They sur­prise with irra­tional some­times vio­lent actions and reac­tions say­ing words that don’t match how their lips move. This is why they get so many close-ups like Jean Seberg in her new-wave self. Why Huppert ini­ti­ates rough sex in a bath­room, and Deneuve stands state­ly on a funer­al boat in Indochina. Here in America, Lana Turner’s con­fi­dent hand signs her con­fes­sion with a bold X and Blanchett purrs like a feline under her red wool coat ready to pounce.


last rites

a wiz­ened hand picks cherries
as fish on the pier thrash in a net
a year has passed since the big dread
your lips with the poi­so­nous news
about to be spread like the pall on a coffin
the flutes of elder­ber­ry wine
your moth­er insist­ed on
the door to the base­ment locked
against intrud­ers look­ing to spy
dur­ing this memorial
look­ing for rooms to wander
to report back to ghoul­ish friends
the taps on the win­dow from a tree branch
I won­der how the water felt in the funer­al director’s
palms as he bathed you for the last time
how it feels to be life­less and clean
to be beyond won­der­ing why did we come here
no wor­ry about wreck­age left behind
the sound of bird cries echoing
O Lord of bas­tards, love us all


Marc Frazier is a Chicago area writer who has wide­ly pub­lished poet­ry in jour­nals includ­ing The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f®iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had mem­oir pub­lished in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre, Cobalt Magazine, et al. His fic­tion has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Autre, and Unlikely Stories. He is the recip­i­ent of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poet­ry, has been fea­tured on Verse Daily, and is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nom­i­nee. His three full-length poet­ry col­lec­tions are avail­able online. See Marc Frazier Author on Facebook, @marcfrazier45 on Twitter.