Sunday, November 15, 2009

4 poems by Nick Leland


Barbecue's back in the yard again, it's not taking orders,
I don't even know what he sees in her.
The meat is still meat, everyone is praying on food.

El means The for Him and
Crawdad crabs fighting black ants.
Fourth of fucked backwards is still a terrible thing to say to a young lady.

See the marbles? They're mason made aces.
Building a Williams and Sonoma saucepan out of bones isn't comforting.

Chills ain't too bad if you can get under someone else,
but they still leave a foul taste in your mind.
Save it till we're done littering.

Those roses aren't what I think they smell like,
ugly aureoles on a girl you were never interested in.
Gnash and devour them.

Caked on like it's already out of style,
Only one way she's viral: botulism sighted sir
we're making for land.

There's a lack of stone here that indicates
a lack of person.

Fat Foreign Family Seeks Fitness

Screech, soiled meat child, bolt
harried towards caloric revelation

exterminate the choclatier, flamethrowers
or inkwells, ardent hairless
for them
no eyebrows to spare

it's peace in the falafel chopping block
bragging on the pounds like the
british in the 90's, she strides

instinct driven daughters of revolutionary
leaders lack the lack and walk the walk.
Bring cheese, it's time.

Aged aereolas rhyme fruitlessly
hairs trickle down the sweat stained
He will have no strokes, old man.

Given up the hideous chase, creased ignominy
wastes so much time with scales and fish
the mackeral is still quite fatty.

Cleave to the beefs, the beets. Cut low
out of useless legerdemaine the choice
prime USDAssholes.

The Old Mundance

This was my home a few years ago.
The wet irritants of small town Missouri are fields of clay.
here is the building I slept in, loud and drab and old
Thomas Jefferson. Three north north.
and here is the fuckstained couch where she ended my first relationship
it smelled of vomit and beer and whimpering fear, quite the bouquet.

This was my home a few months ago.
The garish gray streets of New Orleans, a bright distilled hell.
this was my quiet apartment, with the gunshot commas
uptown is three lies, you were always walking uphill into a shitriver.
this is where I entranced
fairlocation friends with half lies

This was my home many years ago.
The burning stereophonic streets of Dallas
the house that shrank smaller around me, holes in walls and doors
I was angrier.
This is the room where I ended my second relationship.
the overhead fan is always running, there is one working lightbulb.
it's green.

and here, this is my home now.
It's filthy, with perverse warmth stifling the idiot cold of Chicago.
this chair, black leather, is comfort.
In this chair we will end my third relationship.
grand score to a mundane event.

Gesture south, and my arm stretches to three coasts.
This will be my new home soon, everywhereville
I will be subject of all I survey, the traveling saline man.
I'll dissolve smiling into the roads.
Steal every scrap of paper and cigarette butt and condom wrapper
and make a pretty little house out of it.

For the Dishonored Dead

Helen died four years ago.
The funeral was what we all expected,
family and a few friends clustered around a rainy hole.

Passing from this world was her greatest gift to it.
With a quiet end, she gave us all something
The brutal dowager,
Equal packets mourn her loss.

In candy green November Helen told my mom that her boys weren't family.
She was worried we would try to claim her inheritance
and she had the good sense to know that we weren't hers.

Tulsa, Oklahoma is always yellow.

Great depression sunflower summer and she told me
never to trust black people or Jews.
And then stole the aircraft
from my grandfather, Rowan.

He flew in parcel piecemeal planes, Frankensteins of the sky.
When his heart stuttered once, she told him he could never fly again.
And on the ground my grandfather stayed,
building planes he wouldn't fly.

They were very pretty, the planes.

I moved her from house to house twice, each time dutifully assisting Helen
in relocating all of her possessions, and my grandfather's as well.
She referred to me and my brother as “the dropouts.”

Helen bore plagues, carried them around with her
in a purse, so she could take them out and everyone could see.
Diabetes, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer.
She required a bag of Snickers bars and an audience just to make it through the day,
and her lungs were always in excellent condition when she had things to buy at the mall.

She liked shoes.

And then she died.
Helen had left no compensation for Rowan in her will, gifting her fortune instead to her Real children and grandchildren instead.
Rowan was given three months to vacate the house where he cared for her in her last days.

My grandfather Rowan needed new knees after her funeral.
His steps carried her weight still. He stumbled a little up the three steps into our house. Hobbled to the kitchen bar where the orange glass of tequila my brother had poured for him waited.
The old mechanic cried.

My brother and I bore the pall for her funeral at Rowan's behest.
We dressed somberly, we acted soberly.
I shaved.

It took quite some time.

We carried Helen to her rest with funereal dignity.
I stared at Rowan as he sniffed and coughed
and the pastor said nice things about my grandmother.

We smoked cigarettes outside the chapel after he was done.
The ride home was punctuated with little
declarations of joy from my family.
I stared out the window and thought of what I would trade flying for.