Issue 2 / Poetry

Two poems by Alexa Doran

Pretty Young Thing by Michael Jackson, a Translation

I watch Maxine’s pink pigs dot the horizon.

I watch her teacup, bald and gray.

Behind the starfish fodder of her hair she starts to say

I love you like I love my mantelpiece. Something you

rest an elbow on, that cool slab that curbs the heat. Maxine,

I say, what was that dream again, the one where you end


up dead? Poor Maxine loves the end

of bananas, she digs her tongue into that yellow horizon,

that yellow curd of string. And she begs Maggie,

my maraschino yolk, my lover collared gray,

do you want me to tuck my tongue inside you

this way? Do you? And as her lost little cherry I say


I’m so frazzled darling I don’t know what to say

and in her usual huff Maxine puts an end

to the foreplay. Oh we’ve been to this bayou

before. Let the marsh muck our horizon,

Maxine half-lit, eyes on a dinghy half-gray.

Yet never to set sail on the S.S. Maggie.


There is a mathematics behind Maxine.

Like a cursive equation, she swoops across the page. I say

Let x unhook her overalls. Let y douse her in Earl Grey.

And I try to forget that after thirteen years this is the end

of her brushing back my bangs, the end of her eyes on

the worn out trail of my face. I want you


all verbiage, all passé. Now, Maxine peels bark from the yew

tree, uses it to feed that god awful mantelpiece. Oh Maxine

admit that those grody cantaloupe lips are but a cyst on the horizon

compared to the rip of rouge they used to be. You say

old is natural, honey to the honey bee. That there is no end

to love’s elasticity. Then kiss the gray


fuzz on your lover’s chin, celebrate the gray

wash of my tongue on your clit, shame on you

if you won’t upgrade to a wrinkle from a zit. End

your rhapsodizing, your constant theses You are old Maggie

So is the divinity. So is Aphrodite. Say

what you please. I ebb out like a horizon

laced in pumice gray sheaves. Yes I’m porous Maxine

and I know what you want to say to me,

This is the end. Horizon or canyon. Age is the sud we can’t clean.


Just to rush against you

I would forget the first time I fucked

god in the shower I was thirteen

when mom hung jesus

in the bathroom she said

its easier to love what we can

touch his face was a blue affair

it had the harmony of shade

a night energy below his tongue ma

ma the aftermath of his eyes was a virtue

and one sunday unshackled

of everything I summoned him in the water

color hush and Dial haze

every tile reflecting my unmasking

of jesus as the only reachable toll

sometimes we do things for nothing

the spigot brushed my collarbone

jesus vanished

in a shiver of steam

this is how I want to sing

against you a god

ripped from the plaster

just to touch you as you gasp

am I prayer or prey
dingbatsmaller Alexa Doran is a poet in the UNCW MFA Poetry program. She has recently been featured or is forthcoming in Ekphrasis, Petrichor Review, So to Speak, Thin Air, Educe, Cactus Heart, and CALYX literary magazines. Her poems were finalists in the 2014 Third Coast Poetry Contest, the 2014 Puerto Del Sol Contest, and the 2014 Fairy Tale Review Contest. These poems were selected by Maisha Z. Johnson.

I would like to see more authors using literature as a means to illustrate the negative impact of living in a gender-centric society. Until we address the destructive emphasis society places on gender, using that most powerful medium of words and page, we will not be able to articulate this issue well enough to defend against it.

Image ©Brett and Sue Coulstock via Creative Commons