Issue 6 / Poetry

Poetry by John Arias

Tres recuerdos en verso

 

I. 

The Legendary Children

 

we are all snakes

devouring and being

devoured by those who

remind us we are human

 

II.

Apsis

 

there is no perigee where we’re standing

but if there is such a thing as

witchcraft, use it now

before I leave without saying your name

 

III.

The Amiable Children

 

at our wakes speak to us

in Spanglish and try to remember

if we were smiling when we

last sipped our own names

 

dingbatsmaller

 

 

TV Tag

eenie, meenie, miney, mo

catch a tiger by its toe

 

we’d have screamed too

if not for our child games

that didn’t really require screaming

 

time had elapsed more slowly

like a summer’s day when the sun

marches groggily up to bed at 9

 

we ran like chickens with our

heads cut off

chasing after each other like foxes

bright red-orange, black, and brown faces

 

“Rocko’s Modern Life!”

“Saved By the Bell!”

“Hey Arnold!”

 

the projects in the setting sun’s light

towering over us like the Hanging Gardens

of Babylon

waiting for a deserved strike of lighting

 

but instead of gardens,

terraces with hanged tennis shoes and

makeshift grills for private cookouts

and games of Spades

 

we’d heard the cry from the corner

muffled, masculine, desperate not to show any pain at all

even though its source lay on the asphalt

the color of volcanic obsidian

 

the Guardian Angels came too late

distracted by a crackhead who’d played

“Wade in the Water” on his pipe like a flute

 

the setting sun coagulated the blood from the knife wound

like an egg fried on the sidewalk at midday

black asphalt, black skin, black blood

his pair of Jordans still crimson, though

 

we’d all been caught

when we’d least expected it

 

1, 2, 3

get off my father’s apple tree

 

but the ice cream truck was coming

playing our favorite song, enticing us

promising us cold lips and bubblegum eyes

 

“Spongebob Squarepants!”

“Powerpuff Girls!”

“Are You Afraid of the Dark!”

 

with our brains freezed and knees dirtied

we started again

 

just in time to miss the body

being hauled away like trash on Saturdays

 

if he hollers, let him go

eenie, meenie, miney, mo

 

dingbatsmaller

John Manuel Arias is a gay, Costa Rican / Uruguayan poet and crepe-maker raised in a DC ghetto when it was the murder capital. His poems have appeared in the Rogue Agent Journal, Rust + Moth, Red Paint Hill, the After Happy Hour Review and others. His debut collection of poetry, “¡I’D RATHER SINK–!” is forthcoming from Red Paint Hill Publishing in 2017. He currently lives in San José, Costa Rica with his grandmother and four ghosts. Selected by Dawn Lundy Martin.

Image © Spixey via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

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