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
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.
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.