Formerly Badass Horrible Poetry

This isn't just a poetry blog. Let's be honest, a lot of what I post is poetry but there are more often than not also postings about short stories. I do try to keep this blog separate from my others and post strictly creative work here. Some of it will be better than others, and much of it is in first or second draft stage when posted. These are raw works, and there will be spelling and grammar troubles at times because I use this blog to gauge what works and what doesn't. I use it as a place to get feedback. That's the reason it is "horrible". Because it's not finished-- And why should it be? We all want feedback but most of us are too afraid to put ourselves out there.

Welcome to my word.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Echoes of Lightning

Echoes of Lightning
fourteenth summer in a millennia

Paper plates and limp napkins littered the flaky deck like used condoms; we all lay round the yard taking in the unsaturated blue of sky that the whole world fades into when a summer sun waves “goodbye see you tomorrow, 6am sharp, supposing you fair through the night”; the air rinsed us with such humidity and rung us out when the flag bandana girl whipped out the packet of stars; everyone took a few at first lit them to twirl above their heads creating their own halos; but tricky darkness falls wide and moves their palms in pantomime like druids, who swayed in circles, pounding the breast of the bonfire beast; we became witches; we became demons; and those halos sparked us to rebellion; we cursed the air with fire sticks; we burned anagrams into our eyelids so that we could only remember our names in the echoes of lightning; the sound would draw through the air and when we closed our eyes together we knew we saw the same spell cast at different angles; bandana girl and i lay in the grass dipping the fallen stardust in a water trough unaware of other echoes from other sparks that had already begun – but we felt them; the reverberation then – of lightning already forged in gunfire – of lightning that scarred the charred and dust crusted earth of the most recent strike – some 72 hours away from this Pennsylvania memorial – day light unwound now; six bodies six foot down now; cause one guy blew a cow now; cause he couldn’t get his cock mouthed; now those particles vibrate through us and the bright white pointed on our finger guns; but we ain’t got no gun problem; only the sparking fingers that beckon the target and “oops” snap the trigger; the only killing problem is a baby killing problem; the only women problem is a loudmouthed women problem; the only skin problem is a cancer skin problem; only justice is a religious kind of justice so to get anything done why not give away halos like oprah; here’s one for you; here’s one for you; here’s one for your company while your at it; maybe we can invite the foundation to next years picnic – god knows everyone else will already be wearing stripes; maybe it can bring the stars; maybe it will curse us for ornamenting our hair with fireworks and calling ourselves progressive; or warrior; or america; or free; maybe we won’t wear blue; maybe we wont wear white; maybe we will paint ourselves with the echoes of black hands and red coat hangers; maybe we will look up and wish to pluck out a few fifty stars so bandana girl and i can whisper them secrets and kiss them between us and maybe the white lightning will discharge into a beautiful black hole and leave this porch dappled with vapors of the aurora borealis; 

For Chen, Hong, Wang, For Cooper, Michaels-Martinez Weiss, For Brown, For Garner For the Future Infinite
©2014 Lex Vex

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Shadow of Thunder

The Shadow of Thunder
He takes it into
his body
the silence and the scream
He marches
 footpaths and trembles the shivering daffodils.
He comes to fill the
between the forking paths
both are steep
though one
winds down to
the guttural chasm which sucks sound from molecules so their
whispers at least may sooth each other
though one
winds up to
a Vulcan crag; he rumbles up the steepness
head lolling drunkenly across the path. He will collapse at zenith
what follows: his pawing for a hollow log to funnel his gasps.
when he retches down the cliff
 the whole
swept up
in vibration
He is not the smack
which crumbles the plaster walls of Jericho
nor the warm
murmurs of ocean caves
he is the void
when belief has yet to penetrate and nurse
stigma back
to health
He kisses the bullet-
-biters, and soldiers
leaving their tours half dissolved. His method
of love making
is slow and almost mistaken for
as he
plucks the arrows into quivering

©2014 Lex Vex

Sunday, November 30, 2014

that we'd become smoke

that we’d become smoke

I could burn the taper
of a flame
for every hour
we wasted
and the whole world
would be masked by
titanic waves
frozen and entrapping
millions in a turtleneck
of wax. Nobody,
he’s dead. and all the rest
entomb Nobody’s body
in the clearest crest
and when we gaze at
No One contorted across his tomb
I think of us
and your desert cracked lips
so I rub my fingers
along Nobody’s sepulcher
until the pads are moist
and slather my own thin mouth
because I cannot reach across
from where I am stuck, waist deep
in front of Nobody,
to slap it on your face.
Instead we should forget
that we were wicks
that we were still
that we were tall and slender
that we believed to burn
to be intoxicating enough
that we’d become smoke
that we’d float among constellations
and laugh when we looked up
Orion’s manly skirt.
But we melted with the wax
and are stuck
pretending to ignore the other
though each our flame shines

©2014 Lex Vex

Friday, November 28, 2014

what the rope on that tree saw

what the rope on that tree saw

gravity lulled the swing back
the swing of greying board
the fraying rope on the
right, discolored and cold

was no twin to the twine
of the left
hand side
she dangled
limp and gaunt
left to haunt the hanging tree

the day the broker moved
into the tree’s backyard
he laced his hands
in burlap and
tossed a line into deep fog

in surprise the line grew
taught and the rope
wound like witches fingers smelling
of ivy and gingersnaps
she beckoned and her wolfhound sang

so he took the line
and he took the swing
and snipped the seat
in the wind the rope’s hair
unfurled and when broker’s happy feet
blended over each
other he tripped up vertical

his toes dangling and
the careless twine
cleaved against her weight
to hold another lover
aloft with molted wings

when it was done
and another broker
moved into the backyard
the splayed fingers of rope
were forced to prayer
and she bore another child. 

©2014 Lex Vex

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Schrodinger's Voicemail

Schrodinger's Voice-mail

the girl next door tap tap
taps on her screen
judgement pours through me
when my own
buzzes on my thigh

my blood turns
the light of stars through each vein and artery
diffuses the nector
of the spider leaving me

how am i supposed to know
if the static electric
of my phone
is joy buzzer
or taser?

it's like you know
when you phone
and their voice
cascades through your palms
which really are sieves tactile and misplaced

It's only when the voicemail litters your mailbox,
and you wait, poisoned by
the serpent of caller I
D that i realize
i wait with Schrodinger's voicemail

at the bottom of the stairs
when bell's voice has died
an art department atrocity
stares vacantly in sloppy voyeurism
as my finger fails to linger on the delete key

If I never press the play
I will feel
your veins are still
the flavor of fresh gasoline

©2014 Lex Vex

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sweet Nothings

 Sweet Nothings

{insert your penis-dick into my hump hole}
I said that to you
and you laughed not
at me
but at the hazy sky
shot through by flood lights
city flood lights
we'd spread the blanket out
to gossip about stars
but this is allentown
so we see nothing
looking up
so I looked down
{by your crotch}
and said
{insert your penis-dick into my hump hole}
and we settled on your tongue
and the laughter catapulted us
into the sky
to perch on a low hanging satellite
to better look down
at the fire-net-work
a firework in all stages of explosion
flared out
a nervous system
that pulses or twinkles
and maybe you were laughing at me
but it filled me with methane
and lifted me
or drifted me
and it's because you laughed
with woven crow's feet
and banged your head on a passing plane
and lifted me up just enough
for us to fall
from the same height
that I meant 
what was said

©2014 Lex Vex


I Would Not Think to Touch the Sky

For we, daring in our youth, among mortals,
lay down our limbs to gain the harbor.
Waiting, in dripping pain, to fight for
what country seduces our wits.

Our eyes
on the Black Sleep of night,
alone I lie, moon has set, the hour goes by-
I can tell tales of the unexpected, yes, of many beautiful things.

Lady Dawn, flesh by now old age,
takes up the Lyre, sings to us, trembling,
"Me you have forgotten.
Dream of black, and I will go,

with arms of roses, to the ends of the earth:
for I swear, I did not want to give you pain."

fragments used found in poems (chronologically as found in poem): 52, 24a, 24c, 23, 46, 20, 19, 37, 60, 57, 151, 157, 22, 24d, 94, 95, 113, 120, 168b, 4, 18, 16, 21, 63, 70, 58, 67, 3.

©2014 Lex Vex

Sunday, October 19, 2014



how embarrassing                for you            your soul is
poking out                  I have a good
tailor:              she has a mannequin
like you a tattooed                harlequin inside.
it doesn't look that bad        your soul        kind of like an otter
its slippery in the river                     and playful
especially when wet             it drips off you
with humid passion and pools  and ices over like lace and         even though
you dress       like a frumpy prep-school
girl rebelling from dress code         but this is about your soul remember
your eyes really are that otter
your soul                    a vixen huntress       or a falconer    maybe
they share a few in-laws                  and I wanted you
to know          cause thinking about your
soul     untucked or maybe              dangling in open air                         is making me
            really hot right now  is it ok if I touch it?

©2014 Lex Vex

alchemy in confection

alchemy in confection

I only eat de
constructed milk
chocolate ice
cream sweet
cream dark
they touch
on a border
and I suppose
their sweeping
clouds mist
cocoa, dampening
each cows moo-spot
with a mud-slide
they touch
but only the brave curdles defy me
to dance into
milk chocolate
I suppose it doesn't really matter
I eat them both
and lick sweet cordial
from my plastic

©2014 Lex Vex

Monday, October 13, 2014

This could have all been Avoided if he had Slapped a Flag on the Top - an absurdist story

This could have all been Avoided if he had Slapped a Flag on the Top
“No no Sport – you’ve made them lopsided” Cohen said.
Cissy paused where she was. Cissy slumped the flaccid bLock against another. Cohen chewed on his lip, a sure sign that he was either disapproving or about to excuse himself for creative buildup {sharting till he clogged the unisex park restroom}
            Either way, Cissy took her hands off of her hips and panted {efforts of block hauling} with perfect posture. Cohen brought his fingers up to square off his creation {being neither painter, photographer, nor filmer, this did little but make him seem more artistic}
            “I’m telling you, Sport, you’ve upset the whole thing.” He said, megaphone raised.
            “Its perfectly even—we’ve counted the number: 874,600,042 gassed, 874,600,042 exploded.” She said.
            “Then how come the right side is so much shorter?” he said.
            Cissy’s focus snapped to her feet, where her new Vidorci pumps sank into the bLock. She adjusted to the balls of her feet to keep the bLock from being punctured and spurting up her ankles. She could not afford new designer leggings if she already had to by new Vidorcis.
            “You did account for limbs, right?” she said.
            “You did account for limbs, right?” he said.
            “I mean it, sir.” She said.
            “With the state of things, the limbs would make a net loss of about six inches.” He said. He had forgotten to bark at her through the megaphone and stood, his arms crossed and squinting past the lumpy forms of the bLocks raised in two towers.
            “We don’t have to make it taller, sir” she said.
            “Flibber flapjacks.” He said.
Cissy exhaled through her nose. The scent of stale barbeque and mustard made her swoon a little from where she stood, 554.5 feet in the air.
            “We could extend it out, make it like a wall” {like with the Vietnam} she said.
            “No one cares about a monument’s length! They only want to know about its height! How tall can man erect a memorial, so they can remember! It pokes the sky – poking is a stimulus, it triggers memory. Walls don’t remember – walls make people wonder, and wonder leads to thinking. Walls are barriers and barriers are failures” {like with the Vietnam} he said.
            Cissy only half listened to the rest, as he described the beauty in erecting monuments, their completion, the parties, and the tourism it developed and had always developed and eventually how, in Cohen’s early childhood, he had gone through his biggest life developments in front of proud pinnacles of accomplishment in marble. His stint in the army began there, he’d smoked his first bowl there, he’d first fingered a girl {behind Lincoln’s very back} for gosh’s sake.
            “So go and get some!” Cohen finished.
            “Some what?” Cissy started.
            “Some limbs, you ninny!” he said.
            “Oh. We don’t have them.” She said.
            “Why not?!” he said.
            “Vaporized.” She said.
            He frowned {this made her smile} She pretended to itch her nose with the mid-finger on her left hand and then chewed on the nail of her thumb {she got some red on her nose}
            “We told them it would be taller than the Washington monument.” His voiced crackled through the megaphone.
            Cissy looked between the right cylinder and the left {six inches castrated} —how they spiraled up in a staircase of preserved bLocks.
            “Who is going to check, sir?” she said.
            “The people! When they wish to remember the war and our triumph! And read on her steps, and play and climb {and finger girls} and gaze across the street wishing they were {fingering each other} at the inferior but taller Washington!”
            Cissy scuffed her shoe on {the lapel of} the block beneath her. He had a point.
            “Where should I get the limbs?” she said.
Cohen waved his hands around, fluidly, as if performing a spell upon all the earth like a {hair thinned, jewel toned} wizard.
            Cissy hated getting donors. Her pump was still sinking dangerously into the fleshy bLock. She sat down to swing her snakeskin-clad legs off the side of the column. Her feet were tired.
            “You know, sir, if we dug a trench an’ simply lowered the pillar of gassed bLocks into the ground, people could walk down into it – we could line the walls with the bodies—“ Cissy was fast to correct herself {but not fast enough for the narrowed eyes and puckered lips of Cohen} “—bLocks.”
            “And what might that accomplish?” he said.
            “Well, sir, it would humanize the struggle” she said.
            “Humanize the Enemy?” he said. She could hear him capitalize on the word enemy.
            Cissy’s legs wandered in figure eights in the air below her {her butt was falling asleep} On a back swing, one of her heels stuck on a bLock and when she plucked the stiletto out, she had a morsel skewered to it. The morsel started at her with a dilated cloud of pupil. She scraped it off on some blonde hair below her and brought her feet to her knees {her stomach grumbled}
            “I thought it could be interactive, like Vietnam” {Cohen psh’d}
            “You want the people to interact? Then find me some donors.” He said.

            Cissy sat next to the man, who was neither old {nor young}, handsome {nor ugly}, dark haired {nor fair}. He smelled a bit and had days old stubble, but his smile was bright and his lips only slightly chapped when she sat down {just a little too} close to him. He did not seem surprised at her solicitation, and offered both his left arm and his right leg, citing that he would like his dominant sides for racket-ball practice this afternoon. The sawing process Cissy found clean and simple and when she left he smiled and waved {with his right hand} They were bulky, in her arms, the arm and the leg, but most park goers she passed held only mild curiosity; everyone knew about the new monument. A few volunteered to give what they could, even if she did not ask first. Some felt obligated, and some wanted to be able to point out to their friends where they were a part of the new installation. In the end, Cissy, with a few of the park patrons {too stingy to give anything but their time} carried the bundle to where Cohen stood, tapping his foot, holding his megaphone and rubbing the war medal on his lapel {erotically}
            As Cissy lay out the haul:
            “Patrons, this is artiste and drone division colonel Cohen.” She said.
            Some of the veterans in the group shook his hand. The bolder ones compared hit counts on their own badge’s LCD screen. Cohen {between pleasant teeth bearing and trading slaps on the rear} barked at Cissy through the megaphone.
            “Count the new load,” he said.
            Cissy counted the new load. Four arms, mostly left. Three legs. A teenager had given a portion of her mid-finger, and her curly haired friend {rolling her eyes} had given her entire big toe. {It could be enough} Cissy thought. She told Cohen the number, reaching for a glass of champagne {Cohen swatted her hand with sharp force} When she went to place the new bLocks atop the crown of the explosion pillar, Cohen {popping the champagne for the unveiling a week early} megaphoned that she should intersperse them artistically {and not like a prude}  
            “What about the height issue?” she said.
            “I planned something perfect while you were out, sport.” he said.
Cohen raised a glass to her and when she turned around tossed it, crystal glass and all, into the rhododendrons. The crystal cried in an infinite loop as it tinkled glitter.

Cissy was not dressed at all for the weather but at least she’d had her pumps prepared. Honestly, she thought they looked a little silly paired with the Colossus Jersey she slept in, but when she approached Cohen pacing around the dewy grass, he smiled appreciatively at their little pointed toes.
“You called me, sir?”
“Yes, yes, of course. Yes.”
“Which one of us is talking? I cannot tell.”
Cissy tried again.
“You called me, sir?” She said, making sure to say she said.
“It’s not tall enough.” He said. His hand was pointed heavenwards at the top of the cylinder. Cissy was a bit surprised he had donated it. His other hand lay on the ground, next to the bundles of clothes, which had been worn, earlier, by the patrons and veterans drinking champagne. She was less surprised to see the patrons gracing the top of the explosion column, underneath Cohen’s hand.
“Don’t you think people will notice that those bLocks are not POWs?” she said.
“No one looks that closely at those represented in memorials.” He said.
“They do at the Vietnam.” She said. {Cohen’s lip quivered} Cissy sighed and picked up his left arm.
“Where did you want this?” she said, rubbing her thumb soothingly over his palm. He blushed {he had an itch on the back of his head he could not reach}
“The top of the gassed tower. It’s short by six inches.” He said through his megaphone. Cissy stooped to pick up Cohen’s arm. At the base of the tower she turned to catch Cohen’s eyes. They shined like lucid crystal and the line of his mouth softened at he gazed up at his creation. Balancing her feet in her shoes, Cissy settled on the first step.
The sooner Cissy finished erecting the monument, the sooner she could go home, take out her brain, and go back to sleep.

©2014 Lex Vex

Monday, October 6, 2014

Form Poem: the Found Triptych: Three Animals of Book

This is a found form poem with a new twist: the Found Triptych. each line must be taken from a single page of text in a different book or work. No found books may be by the same author and different styles of writing will be encouraged, although it is ideal to find all these books picked randomly from the shelf, and with the line used chosen on a randomly selected page.  The poem must be made up of at least 10 lines per stanza, and each stanza, three in total, must have the same books used, in the same order, from the same pages. You may change character names and the pronouns to fit with a particular triptych, but meaning is only a fraction of what the work is about. This form tries to excise the poetic out of the prosaic narrative. At least one work must be non-fiction, one work must be children's literature, and two must be books you have not read and know nothing about.

Three Animals of Book

Lion, leader of the underground, had hesitated.
This work was strictly voluntary
because when you cut yourself or someone else with it, there's always a bloody show.
Lion tried to sell the baby clothes in the rain
meanwhile, there's rent coming due and so forth.
Enormous hordes of naked souls she saw
and barricaded herself inside her home, rather than
pointing at the sliced and ripped bear head.
and she reached up and freed the sheet and pulled it from the first canvas
"They only stole paper records which was stupid everything's backed up digitally now a days"
Lion stopped looking at herself in the stream. 

Bear hesitated only as long as it took to pull the trigger;
the windmill presented unexpected difficulties
but even its pretensions can't hide the fact that its an extremely sexual
fallen marble pillar.
Bear is a pussy hound;
the jagged thunderbolt he pierced her with
revealed that around two o'clock in the morning
a knife or razor had sliced open the cushions of a maroon loveseat
so he made long passionate love on the painter's velvet couch.
he was tangled up in the sheets and slept peacefully;
it was really quite a nice taste, when you get used to it.

Dog didn't hesitate at all, and that was why she fell;
all that year the animals worked like slaves
it must have been at least ninety degrees up there.
bear must be wondering how that blood splattered floor and his roses are affecting dog.
a cadillac of a certain length, whose arrangement of dings seem familiar
sailed from the last gate of the dead
to make a fingertip search of the city:
an assortment of throw pillows rested on the carpet like little gutted animals.
with a look on her face lion would later describe as dream ecstasy
dog sat completely engrossed in her book.
there's a notice about knocking and ringing outside her door.

©2014 Lex Vex

Books used, in order by lines:
1. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
2. Animal Farm by George Orwell
3. The Body by Stephen King
4.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
5. Inherent Vice by Thomas Aynchon
6. The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
7. A Dark History: The Popes by Brenda Ralph Lewis
8. The Morning Show Murders by Al Roker and Dick Lochte
9. The Little Book by Selden Edwards
10. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
11.  Winnie - the - Pooh by A. A. Milne

attempted murder at the rollar rink

Obstruction #2 - prompt:
Do strenuous athletic activity (your heartbeat is up) for at least 20 minutes. And then, without a break, as soon as you are done, wherever you are, take out a notebook and write a poem.

attempted murder at the roller rink

don't shove your body in
the direct path
of that child (!)
I can't move my feet
(where they go) (or control their speed)
but I can fruitlessly wiggle
my middle three toes
we will collide
as prophesied by the signs
posted (the rink is not liable for injury)
and here I am
(about to murder a child)
with my monolith body
3: 2: 1
watching my
f    e    e    t
p  l  u  m  m  e  t
u s e l e s s   f o r w a r d 
(now where is that crash (?) )
I look up, she looks
forward and we
(smiling mischief)
miss each other.

©2014 Lex Vex

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ode to Deep South Paranormal

**This assignment was an "obstruction" where I worked with a non-writer to create a poem, line by line. We had to evenly cut out each other's words. What follows is the result**

Ode to Deep South Paranormal
By Lex and Bridget

Your beards wore long and the only spirits that
we saw inside your bodies.
Possessed you
made you scream, run,
beards will-o-whisp trailing,
bells (three times) ringing in your
ears. A haunting song: long fingers plucking at guitar tendons
You took off your clothes and challenged ghosts
juju staff thrust high in air.
Jars filled with the breath of frogs heaving in your pockets
breathing non words and eat-licking alligator tongues
You fried the unfriable, ate the unedible
men first and men second and still men who ran from every whisper.
I'm not sure you actually hunted ghosts.

©2014 Lex Vex and Bridget

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

As He Looked Down

                  The crested hedge blocked the view of the campsite, but Elliot could smell the charring of apple wood. The bush was beautiful in its wildness and Elliot bashed it aside without a second thought to gaze down at the little fire, indented into the earth. The logs wore weak. They had aged, greying and textured with dried out wrinkles. Falling ash powdered his head to disguise him as one of them. The lapping vixens wound their way between the martyred trees. With each twirl, their heat brought the wood to life – in orange—and then, like gorgons, their embossed  innards transformed into dust. Elliot’s eyes joined them: he felt himself carried on the current of flames and he whirled the dervishes with them, broke into languid waltzes with them, was dipped into tango with them. Soon he forgot about the logs under his pounding feet. The vixens caressed his cheek. They wound around him now, up his legs, to tease his lips with warmth. When they nibbled his ears he felt himself evaporating into the sky and his legs become cramped with arthritis and his muscles atrophy, his skin grown taught. The thunder broke his trance.  When he glanced below again, it was the pyre that was puttering out. 

©2014 Lex Vex 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Roll 34

**Author's note: So... warning, I guess? This one involves the 1940s porn industry. It doesn't exactly get steamy or anything but I should probably put some kind of warning here just in case**
Roll 34

The delicate string glistened in the unmoving air of the attic. For how lace-like the sheer thread was spun, Autumn almost mistook it for a spider’s web. When the string slid across the nape of her neck, Autumn jumped, simultaneously bashing the crown of her head on the humidity sodden rafter and dumping the trunk with a crash. A timeline littered the floor, concentrated near the lid, its skull bashed in, and fanning out all the way to the corner where the bones of a mouse rested in a tuft of fur.
            “Fuckin’ A.” Autumn said, covering her faux lace skirt over her knees so that they would not touch the grimy floor as she knelt. She gathered as many of the Polaroid’s and photo-negatives as she could and plopped them back into the trunk. Swirls of floorboard residue came up with each stack. Most of it fell into the box with the photographs but what did not splayed into the atmosphere. Autumn could feel the inside of her nose becoming caked with the stuff; it would take more than a tissue and a few huffing puffs to get it all out.
            Amid the swath of pictures were strewn other things: spoons coated with dark oxidization, the Western Union telegram that congratulated Nanny Roselie on the birth of her first son, and the shards of a perfume bottle that had exploded and scented everything with pungent Hollywood glamour. Placing in the last of the items, Autumn absently rubbed the top of her head where the skin, under her coppery hair follicles, swelled. Her free hand picked up a small cylinder of white and orange plastic. The orange outer shell had a crack along one edge; in smeared sharpie it was labeled #34. She did not remember seeing it on the ground when she first clambered up the attic stair, though it could have easily hidden under the rubble of old newspapers and other junk. She also did not remember seeing it in the trunk when she had peaked inside.
             She had been expecting to find a secret trove of family wealth – deeds to old properties, stacked and loose-leaf bills that would float through the air when she piled them like leaves and jumped in headfirst, or even sparkling gemstones from some secret marriage. Alternatively, Autumn also hoped that she would find something dark and sinister – the bones of a lost child who had been killed playing with his father’s shotgun – she had seen something like that on television once. Instead, when she finally undid the neatly secured latches, all she saw were neatly tied bundles of bills, some old cutlery, other odds and ends and more photographs than one could know what to do with.
She had perused through them. Mostly they were the extra photographs on the roll, the ones with mis-aimed shots of half a persons face, or were otherwise too over exposed to hang on a mantle or tape into a book. A few were doubles of pictures hanging in Nanny Roselie’s living room. Then there was the small orange cylinder in her hands. When she pried it open she was dismayed to find nothing but more film, tightly wound around a center spigot. Unlike the other film, this was smaller and more delicate, absent of color and appeared to be a positive. It was a movie, she realized. She pocketed it, and hoisted the trunk down the stairs to where her mother waited with the rest of Nanny Rosalie’s belongings, tied and set to go to Goodwill.

“How come you get to sit in the armchair Laur?” Autumn’s butt enveloped Lauri’s spindly legs. She hoisted herself on meaty arms into the crevice between the chair and Lauri’s body. “How are you coming with the projector, Mia?”
Lauri craned her neck around to peer at Mia, who leaned on a table, her legs spread and her butt high as she inspected the inner mechanism of the projector with irritability. Mia’s chipped fingernail had been clicking itself against the tabletop like a metronome for several minutes as she tried to turn the projector light on.
“Maybe the bulb’s dead?” Lauri suggested. Her leg was going numb but she did not want to say anything to Autumn.
“No, the bulb itself looks fine – I just can’t get the damn thing to turn on.”
“Did you try hitting it?” Autumn asked.
“That only works with movies.”
“That is a movie.” Mia glared down at Autumn. She could not raise one eyebrow by itself, so both of Mia’s eyebrows arched in surprise. She hit the projector once, without force. The light bulb sprang to life. Autumn exclaimed, “Let there be light!” and Mia sighed, pinching her eyebrows together with her forefinger and thumb. She put her finger on the trigger.
“Wait!” Lauri squealed. “We should turn out the lights!” Both Autumn and Mia asked why. “You can see better and besides,” Lauri curled her arms around her legs as Autumn flipped the switch. “It’s a more intimate experience.”
The first beams of light showed nothing but a cellophane wall, crackling with blips of pure white. Sometimes shadowy artificial lines scarred the neat and vibrating rectangle of light upon the wall. The blankness stayed and the cellophane continually reshaped itself, as if someone was snapping it taught and loose over and over again. But the light remained blank. Mia said they should have checked to see if the frames had anything in them first. Inside, Lauri frowned at the thought of ruining the surprise.
“Maybe it got over exposed?”
            In one corner of the screen a dot blipped and something appeared for, at most, 4 seconds. A single action. The woman, devoid of color and set in grey-scale, wound her body around the frame. Her knees paired down towards the left bottom corner and she was twisted so that her face took up the largest portion of the frame. Her arm was raised behind her head so that her right breast, as it fell down the length of the screen, seemed perfectly round. Hair, that each girl imagined the color of their own, covered almost all of her other breast. The film, still shining with exposure, made the woman’s perfect, naked body glow off-white; each breast had only the hint of a shadow exposing the pointed nexus, and where her legs met it seemed as if a shadow had grown tendrils of fine vines. The motion was brief and dreamlike. The woman, who’s curved body revealed a small pouch of skin below the belly button and a lean waist, was what Autumn realistically felt she could someday grow into, although she never did.  It was the motion on the screen that transfixed the girls. It was not the pulsating figure of the man behind her, nor the arm on her shoulder as he held her in place. It was the rigidness with which she tightened her sweating body, the nonchalance as she pushed the man’s hand off. It was the smile biting her lip as she dug her nails into the dry dirt closest to the camera lens. It was the moment her hand blocked out her shining, white body until only her face could be seen, contorted and trembling with ecstasy.
            The projector clicked as the roll finished, but none of the girls got up to turn it off. Instead they stared at the blank frame each with her own inner fire burning, tinged with pink. Autumn counted the tiles on the floor as she thought it, Mia turned to listen to the mechanicals of the projector as she thought it, Lauri stared transfixed to the screen as she thought it. Woman was beautiful.

The operating house was on third street, past the liquor store that documents said had been newly opened 7 years earlier, although the owners had held the property and welcomed the drunkards, sloshing and lilting, for ten years before then. Rosé draped herself carefully in her plainest work dress. It had wrap-around cloth work but its dull granite color made it blend in with the surrounding city. The broach of colored glass kept her from feeling absorbed. Rosé walked brusquely, letting the backs of her oxford pumps rub through her hose; she knew that by the time she reached the studio it would be ruined, but thought, really what do I need it for anyway?
Jimmy who worked the front desk sat with his feet up on a stool, reading the paper. Rosé saw him look her up, look her down. He chewed on something in his mouth and Rosé could not tell if it was tobacco or his own cud. Her robe hung on a hook by the door. She grabbed it and began taking the pins out of her hair. She was supposed to look unrefined today.

She sat in the lobby, holding an unlit cigarette in her teeth. She did not really want it and so had not pulled out her lighter. Her partner was pouring himself a glass of water by the food table and to everyone’s annoyance he had not bothered to close his robe. Their annoyance amused her, the way their serious faces scrunched up. She loosened her own robe to feel the air from the open door.
Richard, flustering and bobbling, ran after Martin who spent most days drinking something very bitter out of a hip flask. Richard waved something above their heads. He was shouting about the ruined roll.
“I developed it like I always did Martin! Whole roll is a bust. Nothin’ on it but the puss on this broad at the end and even that is over exposed to shit.”
“We go to print on that one tomorrow, Rich.”
“None of it’s usable, I’m telling you.”
Rosé fanned herself with the sides of her robe knowing neither Richard nor Martin would pay her any mind. She was already sore today.
“Are we going to reshoot it?” Rosé would need to reapply the lipstick they said, and she would have to be rubbed down with oil and the men on lights would blow a gasket if they had to reset that design again, which had been too strong anyway, so no. Besides, they said, no one wants to see the faces. Best to edit around it, and just get a shot of him ejaculating on the camera for the climax instead. When the men had gone and left Jimmy sitting in his off kilter chair behind a newspaper, when there was no one around to see, Rosé reached into the wastebasket and tucked the small film roll, still wet with developer fluids, into her purse. 

©2014 Lex Vex (ps, the title was intentional) 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

the paramours you leave burning

burning never
thanked me when she gorged on the less
of all my being. In the 
smoke swirled souls of paperbacks, midst
the aroma of my melting playstation. of 
all bedraggled sacrifices
the 300 count zebra bedsheets that were offered
my childhood, I left to be squeezed in a grip
of devouring hands               
the rafters, timbers and carpet fought as honor-
-able martyrs -- struggling in 
formation to liberate me from the pursuants of
burning's self-immolating army. A decree
of destruction, coming from the fuzz: burn the                
christmas lights and mr. swaggypaws, the jaws VHS, and the wifi modem!                
even the sun suffered
as her daughter lit a fatal
cocktail in the minibar. Corpses of splintered casualties eclipsed
burning's body, longitudonal and 
inflated. light beams engulfed                 
every desklamp, compact, even wardrobe and her foster dresses: every glowing artificial star.
Which of my paramours, that burning could
not cannibalize, survived this pheonix'd death is yet to be seen. 

©2014 Lex Vex

Portions of the poem based around Cassius Dios book 62: 
"Nevertheless, in the midst of sacrifices that were offered in Agrippa's honor in pursuance of a decree, the sun suffered a fatal eclipse and the stars could be seen"

the death of aggrippa

pageboy cap in pocket, ashen-father joins the strike
even as the dilly whistles, so all the valley can hear
the stallion machines exhale an'
start mid-thunder clap. The cicadas-
-hum cushions clatter as the cogwheels strike
twisted horseshoes, here
in the forgotten factory, a boarding house for
a dragoon ghost: the one who's bayonet choked on this
chewed up arm-band and bore
the mind of jackson pollock near
it's pooling, blooming rose.

©2014 Lex Vex

based on a sentence in Cassius Dio's Book 62:
"strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero"
Nero and Aggrippa had a ... tense... relationship.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A 17-month-old girl survives on potato chips and toilet water for weeks in a house where her parents and sister died should be able to lead a normal life, doctor says.

-The Free Lance-Star – Nov 30th 1987

The whirring blades did not blow coolness through the room, only pushed the musty odor of rot, once every forty-five seconds, into the bathroom, where they huddled—the child, Liddy, sinking her head into a pit bull’s brown fur coat. She was quiet. The pit-bull, Warbux, perked its ears with each rise of the girl’s chest. Curled upon a haunch, she lay face to face with the dog’s curled body. The dry stink of her breath blew in and out by its nose. Past the tiled floor, in the living room, a harsh yellowing desk lamp illuminated the stains drying on the carpet and the nearby fan-head, on its 321st oscillation, clicked, motor sputtering, and died, leaving stillness and silence. Warbux barked, his eyes still closed. They opened slowly, one following behind the other, so that his view was cross-eyed. Scanning the doorframe, the dog waited. Nothing moved in either room.  After three or four minutes Warbux settled, resting its head on its paws, now licked clean of sticky iron, and watched the reflection of moonbeams dance across ceramic tile.
The night was warm and despite the humidity, or maybe because of it, Warbux’s tongue lolled, swollen, outside of its mouth where it was unguarded to the taste of spoiled meat. The coughs and panting of the dog resonated in the bathroom, amplified in the toilet basin, yet Liddy did not stir. Warbux smacked its lips. Without warning, he unwound his neck from the girl and sat at attention, listening as if he had heard some noise at the far end of the house. Warbux stopped panting. The sound came again. A sound like a croak or the widowed motorcycle in the garage grinded, muffled by the maze of hallways, listlessly in Warbux’s head.
Lifting its head, Warbux turned to where Liddy lay, nursing on the pit bull’s ankle. For a brief moment, as she shifted away from the contracting leg muscles of the dog, an eyelash fluttered; she twisted aside and grabbed ahold of a small dirty washcloth, which the pit-bull had pulled from the closet, and formed it in front of her like a teddy bear. She breathed deeper than before, only once, and slept.
Standing, the pit-bull smelled her hair, taking a few long pulls on it. Liddy was an earthy smell – of grass and oil and piss, a subtle reminder of life penetrating the suffocating smells of fermenting innards from the next room. Before leaving, Warbux leaned his head in the toilet bowl, as he had shown Liddy two days before, and refreshed himself with a cool drink.
The wood floor creaked under Warbux’s feet when he left the bathroom, as he skirted the shag carpet embellishing the center of the room.  It was as though the whole woven rug had been seeped with the poison that lay upon it. The dog did not look upon the man or how he had fallen upon the woman. His arms cleaved behind her, rigid and grasping as if they were half cooked spaghetti bathed in a sour sauce. His eyes did not follow Warbux, nor did the dog make eye contact with him. The pit-bull only looked towards the bits of jelly cascading, dry, rusty and thick, to the floor, or sniffed at the shattered bone ash. The woman on the floor watched him with opaque blindness.
Her head was tilted back, and she was in the middle of pushing the man away with her forearms. Her hands were clean of his filth but the delicate pattern of blood cloaked her splotchy arms to the elbow.
Warbux started towards her. It stopped just short of the maroon inkblot and the man’s lightening toy. Her eyes hadn’t followed the dog; they only stared through the bathroom door to the little girl in Dora pajamas, sucking her thumb. Three suns earlier, when the man and the woman had hurled thunder back and forth, when they both had gone down, her eyes had been the ocean – dark, sandy green and reflecting the desk lamp. Now they were clogged with the detritus of plastic bags and seagull skeletons. Warbux wrinkled its nose and sneezed six times, layering a mist of snot upon the dead on the floor. A sputtering cry came from down the hallway, near the other end of the house. The paw prints Warbux left on the floor alternated between half articulated red patches and nothing as he loped towards the noise.
Erin’s feet were still strung though the holes on the bottom of the baby bouncer and a different stain soiled the carpet of the nursery. Warbux’s nose sniffed at Erin’s forehead, but the impossibly small child batted away the wet and cold bauble with little fists. Erin made a hacking sound that lasted for almost thirty seconds. Warbux’s ears dropped and it backed away from the sound before circumnavigating the room and coming upon the baby’s other side. The next time the dog approached Erin, she let it come. Her head lolled from side to side and her eyes were half open. She reached for Warbux’s ears, and the dog felt the pinch as she tugged on it. Warbux did not move, but waited. The moonlight had not entered this room but light began to creep in from the east, bringing with it a new rolling current of moisture, and inferno. It was the sunlight warming Warbux’s face that woke him, not the gentle release of Erin’s hand. Warbux had not noticed when the girl had released him, only that now she had. It nudged the baby seat but no sounds came and when it licked her elbow nothing in the house stirred. The dog walked away.
Before returning to where Liddy slept, curled in the towels she had pulled from the linen closet deep in the night, Warbux trotted to the kitchen and pulled a bag of greasy chips from the shelf he had only been able to reach because he had long since learned how navigate the chair, kitchen table and countertop like a cat in his puppy years. The bag was almost as big as he was—one of those supersized numbers. He dragged it, a hunter and his venison, through the hallway, passed the door with the slumped baby bounce, passed the laundry room where a green light blinked on the dryer, passed the set of the murder suicide and the broken fan and the yellowing spotlight and into the bathroom. Two weeks later, when a relative came to check up on her sister, Liddy was given a new family, and the dog taken away by animal control. 

©2014 Lex Vex

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taking Root

She dangled between slots. Two shaven
birches among 24 that supported and striped a porch.
She pretended the sinewy grasses
that tickled her ankles and dissolved down the delta
were a stirring flow tide from the river at the bottom of the 
hill. Stomach and thighs clamped against the wooden timber and for
a moment a curl glistened with pinioned copper
highlighting the sunlight in her raincloud eyes. The 
moment ossified and a haze crossed the sun. The mountains were
shadowed like cows. The sliver of weathered grain puckered her
upper leg, swelling the surrounding flesh. She glowed
but glowed a sickly amber. She should pull it out before 
it experienced photosynthesis. She could already feel the roots
worming their way inside of her and ten years later, a 
forest had swallowed this porch. 

©2014 Lex Vex