BUT IS IT POETRY? // lethal bloom

a lunger on a hospital sheet
embraces the last spring
bursts into blossom with scarlet poppies
with every coughing fit

1265542358_ornament

TONY: Hm. I wonder…

TATI: Good luck with such a tedious task. I’m going to the sex shop before it closes. Do you need anything?

TONY: Yes, I do. While you’re there, would you purchase me an answer that will scrub away the question mark that lingers above your poem ‘lethal bloom’?

TATI: I appreciate your sense of humour, Tony. Will you die from curiosity during the next hour?

TONY: I’m not a cat, so… no.

TATI: Then I’ll be back soon. You’ll have a chance to prepare some genuinely interesting questions. Not like the last time.

TONY: How long must a poem be to be considered a legitimate poem?

TATI: You men are too preoccupied with sizes. How long must a penis be to be considered a legitimate penis?

TONY: Says the woman who’s going to a sex shop.

TATI: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s shortest poem is one letter long. It’s by Aram Saroyan, and comprises a four-legged version of the letter ‘m’.

TONY: Damn. They’ll accept anything these days, won’t they?

TATI: Yes. You’re unbelievably quick-witted today. What happened?

TONY: What can I say? I’ve had my cornflakes. Anyway, back to your poem…

TATI: Back to my poem.

TONY: Yes. Were you worried that it might be considered a little on the short side?

TATI: No!

TONY: Okay then. I must say I do admire how you’ve managed to pack so much meaning into so few lines of poetry. That takes real skill.

TATI: Thank you. Again, do you need anything from the sex shop? There’s a big clearance sale on. Buy two, get one free. You can have the free one.

TONY: As long as it’s not a dildo then I don’t mind. You know, we haven’t even discussed the poem’s themes yet. I’m beginning to get the feeling you don’t want to talk about it.

TATI: What? You said you’re not a cat, and I can’t wait forever! And by the way, I will choose whatever I want for you, so beggars can’t be choosers!

TONY: This won’t take too long. I promise. All I want to know is what your poem’s about.

TATI: Life. Death. Spring.

TONY: Wow. You really unveiled the mystery there.

TATI: Tony, I’m late. I need to buy stockings and an eye patch!

TONY: I can’t imagine you in stockings. But you with an eye patch… now that would be way cool!

TATI: So, I may go after all?

TONY: Sigh. Fine. Go. Far be it from me to delay you on your all important quest!

Tati rushes out the door, slamming it behind her. She rushes back in mere moments later.

TONY: Did you forget something?

TATI: Yes, you idiot! I forgot to check my watch! The sex shop is closed already, so there is no point me going now!

TONY: Hey, that only happened because you wasted time not answering a simple question!

TATI: Sigh. Ask your questions. Anyway, there’s no fun at a hospital without stockings and an eye patch.

TONY: At a hosp—OH! I get it! You wanna indulge in a little Tarantino cosplay, yes?

TATI: No cosplays, silly Tony! Just some volunteering in the tuberculosis department.

TONY: Erm. Okay. It’s probably best if you don’t tell me about your perverted extracurricular activities.

TATI: Germane to the matter, I believe you had dozens of questions about my poem.

TONY: Oh, no no no! I’m done with that. I have no more questions. Besides, I’m tired. I think I’ll just rest here for a bit.

Tati finally seems to be lost for words. Tony plonks himself down on the sofa, his arms folded behind his head. Tati shrugs to herself, lights a cigarette, and plonks herself beside him.

TONY: Those will kill you, you know.

TATI: I know.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

GUEST POST // An Invite by KT

I am single
I have a female roommate
she’s 20, almost 21
yup, half my age
oh my!
but, it’s not like that
she’s an amazing Hispanic woman
a great human
and sometimes I give her a kiss on the cheek
cause she’s cool
and, sometimes, I forget to eat
because I’m a little passionate
and she’s an amazing chef
and I am grateful for that
because I suck at it

I am retired from dating and sex
(although, I have references that will tell you I am very good at it)
but, love is bigger than you and your partner and family and tribe
and, it’s even bigger than your sex drive
wait… what?
it’s true
so, no, I won’t date you
because sex is an expectation that impedes love
(I know, right? I mean, when has sex caused a fight?
never, right?)
life is very light when sex isn’t your drive
so, if I flirt with you
or, write a poem about you
(because I derive inspiration from humans, imagine that?)
it is to put a smile on your face
I know, no expectations…
holy fuck! that’s not real…
it’s misleading
well, go tell your mother and father and your god
that I made you smile
(what an ass I am, I know)
and when you’re done
tell them I said hi because I don’t mind
making them smile too
I make a better friend than a boyfriend
(and that’s just me being real honest with me)

but, do come over
I’ll make you pancakes with peanut butter
and maple syrup on top
and we can talk

I don’t give a fuck about your past
your religion
your sexual orientation
your binary finary winary things
your skin color
I don’t care if you’re fat or maimed
I don’t care about your honey boo boo nada nada
I can deal with anything
except a lie
that I despise
and that will get you
no pancakes!
(scary, huh? these threats I make…)

come
on over
let’s chat
have a pancake and smile
I’ll even sing to you because
I’m crazy like that

I can’t do it all
I’ve left a map
and it’s free
when’s the last time your preacher offered that?
no collection plate
just you and your heartbeat
and I’ll still write
because I’m compelled to
but, you have some reading to do
(imagine that, me ask you to learn?)
start at the beginning
finding your heartbeat takes a little time
it took me over a year
but, it’s amazing once you find it
it’s worth the investment (in you, no less)
I promise
and you can pray all the same
just spend some time
feeling your heartbeat as well

and,
if you wish to question my philosophy
well, please do
I’m not sacred
are you?
and if I’m wrong
I’ll admit it because
I’m not committed to being right, like you
I’m committed to learning
in order
to better the human race

pancakes, anyone?

 

by KT
© All rights reserved 2019

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Iambus & Idiocy (Recital in I flat minor)

The Mosquito had been writing poems for as long as it could remember. Yes, that’s right, a very long time. Literally aeons. Three whole days in fact!

Of course, the Mosquito would accept only heroic verse. To wit, iambic pentameter. Trochee? Anapaest? These were for brain dead losers. Only real men wrote in iambic. Shakespeare, for example. Pushkin too. And now the Mosquito.

He was also a Debonaire-Vervain. The Debonaire-Vervains were titans of the corporate world. Blue bloods. Old stock. The family line went back generations. Weeks and weeks at least. Investment portfolios. Start-ups. Feelers in every pie. The Mosquito had studied at the finest schools and universities. He even lived on a posh arm all his own. Nothing but prime real estate all the way!

Anyway, the following is a poem that the Mosquito wrote for his ravishing wife on the eve of their ruby wedding anniversary. It had been two long, glorious days since their meeting! Where had the time gone? Of course, he was not yet master of his craft, and his style had yet to mature. But none could deny that he was full of ardour and passion, and it showed in his words.

Buzz me not to the buzzing of buzzed minds
Admit imbuzziments. Buzzing is not abuzz.
Which alters when it buzzeration finds,
Or bends with the buzzer to rebuzz.
O no! It is an ever-fixed buzz
That looks on buzzpests and is never buzzen;
It is the star to every wand’ring buzz,
Whose worth’s unbuzzed, although his buzz be taken.
Buzz’s not Time’s fool, though buzzy lips and cheeks
Within his bending buzzle’s compass buzz;
Buzz alters not with his brief hours and buzzes,
But bears it out even to the buzz of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never buzzed, nor no mosquito ever lov’d. *

Naturally, Madam Mosquito was impressed, and instantly gave birth to another fifty bloodsuckers. Oh, these modern women! They don’t waste time, do they? Of course, they’ll say they want a man who’s arty and edgy. But what they really crave is a domesticated homebody who embodies the traditional family values.

But the Mosquito was an ambitious sort. Yes, he’d won the heart of Madame Mosquito and gained her feeler in holy matrimony, but it wasn’t enough. He also wanted everyone on earth to hear his poems. That’s why, after being informed of a top secret mission (Code Name: Star-spangled Mooning) from a fly on the wall in the Soviet Government, he put on his best suit and tie, grabbed his latest manuscript, and caught a taxi to Baikonur. He’d decided that a rocket antenna would be the best stage from which to orate his flowery writings.

Fortunately for him, he was not at all late. The Soviet vessel was still being readied for its maiden moon shot. The Mosquito landed right on the front glass, got himself cosy, then quenched his thirst with a droplet of cherry rum. After this he pulled out his manuscript, thinking for a moment about which poem he’d be proudest to grace the airwaves with first…

And now for the main event! The final countdown!

Ten… nine… five… two… one…

FIRE!

Nine kilometres per second and history was about to be ma—

Because I could not buzz for Death
It kindly buzzed for me
The vessel held but just
Ourselves —And Immortality.*

*Thanks to Shakespeare and Dickinson for the buzzspiration.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #75 [15/03/2110] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of some grass that was rather illiberal. It took its own sweet time to grow, and it grew anywhere and anyhow. Yup, it was an uncultured mess. Even the city’s pavements were unable to tame it.

The grass wasn’t the same green as all the other grass. Its green was less radiant, less prone to reflecting the sun’s rays in a manner that pleased the eye. It was bushy and undisciplined. Sometimes it waved provocatively in the breeze, but usually it just sat there, stiff and foreboding. It was large of blade, and shameless and unapologetic.

This meant that people were afraid to leave their homes. Children would wail upon seeing it, and hide beneath their nannies’ hems. Elders refused to play cricket in the city park. Even the rain stopped falling there. It’s painful for gentle drops to plash against such proudly rigid grass.

One day, the grass grew out of a punk rocker’s left ear. She didn’t notice this because her mohawk was the same colour, and she hardly ever looked at herself in the bathroom mirror anyway. She wasn’t vain like all those prissy little daddy’s girls that used to tease her at school.

Still, she’d always wanted to be a flame-haired pony, which is why she couldn’t pass up an offer of Barclay’s Miracle Hair Crème when she was at the subway. A shady looking specimen was there doing the selling, and she totally fell for it. He whispered something in conspiratorial tones about this being a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive offer and how she was in luck.

Apparently, this miracle crème had been specifically produced for the ponies at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. He’d been shipped the last remaining bottle from a secret factory somewhere in Pakistan. It was a miracle that he was even able to get a sample as it was never intended for public sale.

So, the punk rocker paid $1.50 for this two litre bottle of especial regal goodness, and hurried home. She couldn’t wait to use this miracle crème, to finally feel like one of those majestic ponies at the royal stables. She was going to whicker up a storm. To stamp her hoof something fierce. She would flick her flamey mane with glorious abandon.

The miracle crème smelled like heaven, like fresh unicorn farts on a dewy autumn morning—but with a hint of ambrosia and oats. By god, the punk rocker couldn’t stop. She wouldn’t! She soaped and lathered and rubbed herself, and then washed the foam away. Then again. And again. And again. At some point she laughed in her happy delirium, and that laugh sounded rather like a neigh.

But the punk rocker was oblivious to all of this. She just wanted to get lost in being a pony, so continued to bathe. Then, after ten minutes of this madness, she began to feel a ravenous hunger. But why? She sniffed the air. Oh! Was that enticing smell… grass? And then just like that she began to chew the grass growing out of her left ear.

If grass could scream, then this grass would have done it. The pain was excruciating! It was being eaten alive, and there was noting it could do about that. If only it had grown out of Lady Gaga’s brassiere instead. Then it would have been famous, and idolised by millions across the globe.

But, no. It got eaten. The end.

Oh, hold on. Not the end because then she ate all the grass that has ever existed everywhere ever. And that’s how the entire earth became a barren wasteland.

Okay, now it’s the end.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

100 WORD SKITTLE // No Place for Pink on Komodo

The setting sun’s an angry red ball, though the beach is charmingly pink. A trick of the light? She cannot say.

Still, that isn’t her most pressing concern right now. Reptilians are all around, flaring nostrils and licking the hot air with their viciously forked tongues. They can sense her presence. It’s driving them crazy with lust.

She’s the Blood Queen. She gorges on the blood of men, and sometimes even wears their entrails for fun. Naturally, she’s going to attract attention from the local population.

Never mind. The odds are good. She’s the prize for whomever gets her first.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019