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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trouble on the Way

Trouble on the Way

There is a sizzle of mustard light that wafts through the bar. This sleazy haze drips slowly from the cigarettes, balanced on chewing lips and falls in clumps to line the last remaining ashtrays found in the wild. The smoking section signs are extinct. Most places they have been ripped from the walls and replaced with no smoking signs, but here the only signs emblazon clever pictures with beer brands and light up notice-me-neon.
            The bell tinkled when he tossed open the door, letting out the humid AC and letting in a wave of wind, heated by asphalt and left over from daytime. We did not notice much of him, only a white wife-beater and cargo shorts. His most noticeable feature were the off white socks he wore under his black reebok sandals. Sunday nights are not busy in the off-season. Summer grinds down the business at the bar, and the college is closed. There are us, the stragglers who live on campus, but Sundays are quiet, and most everyone keeps to themselves. When he walked in with his friends, we noticed because they were the only ones near to our age, with full hair and softly tanned shoulders. We noticed enough to share a glance with them, then looked at each other. Food arrived and we forgot him in the beds of hamburger buns and buffalo bites.
            He approached us just after we wandered to the jukebox. On quiet nights the musical lineup could be altered. On quiet nights, no one cared if we played the oldies and sang along in made up harmonies, especially when we sang in the back by the billiards. Baba O’Riley. Billie Jean. Billy Joel. As we scrolled the list we felt a body, like a radiator behind us – stood closer than my boyfriend does in the bedroom. Bad Moon Rising. We scrolled past it, just to check if there was anything else to want.
            “You have really bad taste in music.”
            The heat from the bar stayed pleasant. Steve and Alex strode along the counter, rubbing it with a damp cloth. Brian, the bouncer stared at the far wall, arms crossed.
            “Seriously, you guys have shitty taste in music. You should put on Beyoncé.”
            We ignored him, stepping towards the grey plastic of the jukebox. We pointed down the list at songs we liked.
            “Come on, Beyoncé – you girls must love Beyoncé.”
            I turned, not meeting his eyes.
            “I’ve always preferred Rihanna myself. I’m not really into Beyoncé.”
A cursory retort, cold and fleeting and he might back off. We had a plan: pick a song, pay, and slug down a beer while singing unsolicited karaoke using indoor voices.
            “She’s shit compared to the queen. You guys have trash taste.”
            Suckling grease from crusty fingernails we scrolled back through the music options, and without more than a seconds thought Kim pressed hard on Bad Moon Rising. As we turned to walk back to the vinyl booth, a box popped up on the screen.

Choose your second Song

“Beyoncé! You have another for a better song.”
            We hesitated, feet turned away from the pair of thick sneakers behind us. We could find one more song.
            “How do you feel about Queen, Lex?” Kim asked, scrolling to the Qs, determined.
            “Yeah! Play the Queen!” The boy yelled, fist pumping and sloshing some of his beer down his shirt. The muscles in Kim’s upper lip twitched.
            “Bohemian Rhapsody?” Kim asked me, giving the boy her back.
            “I’ve never heard that song by her,” The boy said.
            “Sounds great to me.”
As we clicked the song, the boy let out a groan.
            “You know what? Here,” He said, digging around in his back pocket and glancing towards his friends who watched from the counter. He thrust a few dollars in our faces.
            “Here,” he said. “Some cash for you to put on some good music. Not this other crap.”
            I hadn’t spoken since my quip earlier but anger tumbled past my throat.
            “No. Keep your money, or put on Beyoncé yourself.” I grabbed Kim’s arm and pulled her towards the stairs just as our songs started.
            “Why are you bitches being so cold? Too good for me?”
            He may have spoken but our raised middle fingers got the last word.
            We sipped Lambic – Pêche – and our low chatter and harmonized songs, in time with the music we put on, faded beneath the rumble and clatter from the boy and his friends at the counter. Droplets of foam sloshed below them and splattered to the floor, but the bar was empty, so we paid them no mind. 
            It was not until we paid that we could smell them. The splinters of smoke mingling with the vapors of armpit hair. Although I opened no tab and paid up front, Kim had not. As we approached the cash register heads swiveled or stretched to gaze upon the only girls in the bar. I felt the tingling heat and the sweat stained musk curl behind me again but it was a voice to the left of us that spoke.
            “So what was that cold shoulder earlier?”
            “What?” I said.
            “You gave my friend here, the cold shoulder. You have boyfriends or something?”
            “No,” Kim said.
            “No,” I lied, staring down his well groomed hair and squared off glasses. His button down shirt was pressed, and muscles rippled beneath, but he gave off musk like mildewed wallpaper. Kim turned to pay and the new boy gazed down my shirt.  The old boy flit his eyes over her ass.
            “Do you go to the school?” The boys asked.
            “Do you think I could go to the school?” the first boy said.
            “There’s an adult program, yeah. I had an older guy in one of my summer classes. Nice guy. Probably in his 70s.” The corners of my mouth were up but my head was tilted down and my eyes slits.
            “Ew, you fuck old men?!” They laughed, patting the meat on each other’s biceps and gazing in mock disgust, first up my legs then across my chest again and again. Although I waited they never sought my eyes.
            “We go to the college.” They said, holding back appraised giggles.
            “You want to come home with me?” said the first of the boys. His smile gleamed like fresh bird droppings.
            “Sorry. I have plans.” I said, looking towards Alex, the barkeep, or Brian, the bouncer. Neither looked up from their phones, though Alex frowned as he handed Kim her change. The boy suckled on his beer eyebrow raised, waiting for an explanation. Kim fumbled with her wallet, zipper stuck. The boy’s wrist lashed out, catching her wallet for her. In a swift motion he pulled the caught zipper and forced it up, splitting the seam on the inside. We pushed past the boy and his friends, as the neon lights bounced colorful streams off of the polished wooden counter and onto their faces. They became dappled in blues and oranges and green. The laughter followed us to the door.
            “Have fun eating each other out,” they called.
Whistles and snorting laughter followed us out the door. A bell tinkled, echoed by the coins that fell, bounced and scattered to the ground from Kim’s broken wallet. 

©2015 Lex Vex 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

a new odysseus

a new odysseus

high in ithaca
a new odysseus lost
just look to the sky

they married in a barn over an alter of hay and lanterns
while his bride & her groom
cascaded their hips
to pink
there’s a waltz playin frozen in time
uncle dave  tugged me across the room
wheelchair darting
selling me off to a dance partner
a budding seventeen
his nurse
the cropped brown hair and prickly chin
back and forth - forth and back
to catch
the grippy plastic wheelchair handles
their eyes locked
& for dave the match was called
love/ love
said, what are you anchored to this old ship for
with a lady like that
waiting on the widows walk?
Dance he said
dave couldn’t remember my name
or that we were related
but that could not stop the romantic in him

a different beat hummed
ten strings thrummed
in a different party days away
a whole parish brightly lit & unadorned
crossed only by rows of chairs & skylights in the ceiling
the curator said
it could be a church for a day
following like grapes from the same vine between seasons
family got up
told their best hooting
best hollering

he was a fighter pilot with me in the war
he kept trying to set me up on dates
our first dance, I slapped him
he skipped the air force class where we learned to land solo
he went AWOL to bring me daffodils
he set me up with the 34 year old nurse
next class he went up by himself and circled four hours cause he couldn’t get down
we had a good marriage
he stole licks off my mint chocolate ice cream when I wasn’t looking
he lived to see his sons flourish
he lived to see their funerals
somehow he landed the damn thing near perfect in a corn field
a man

I explored the old rooms above where mimi & jane
once kenny
once robert
once dave
the rooms are decorated
& antique
& handcrafted
mimi lives alone now
up until 80 years
she too held the sky
& flew herself to vermont
one person in a two-seater
for teeth cleanings
here there are wings over doorways
no crosses in sight
a woman

©2015 Lex Vex

Friday, April 3, 2015

Yes, its all about bugs

Yes, it is all about bugs

sanded down snow
casts shadows
of trees like type
the willows murmur their own poetry
husks of the winged
burn the words
charcoal dark

impish mudness
seeks enemies
cannot count on the sun
& the snow
warped parchment
of gullies & graves
the censorship of the dead season

casks of ink
explode the snow banks
in spring
crawled on jeweled legs
she dips her ink
in termite bark
her script
twining between the trees
at the edges of
birch paper
creeping inside
the meat of a rotting tree

© 2015 - Lex Vex 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aquilegia pixels

Aquilegia pixels

i. Gameboy

the boys told me he
eats boogers
but I’ve only ever seen
his chubby fingers
clicking away
at the videogame
under his desk

saving for seven weeks
bills of $ones bound away
from my palm
for one used and looking,
if not tasting
of limes
a game is $twenty
& will take four more weeks

while i wait
my class gives each other
hearts with gluey veins
i take time to write what I want

i have loved many men
in my six years, so believe me
when i say i know
i love you

snot drips down his nose
his mother is called
holds his hand
ushered out the door
out of school
before the bell
i notice bit-music bleeping
& his gameboy under the desk
he forgot to save
the batteries rip out easy

recess is called
the barrette & butterfly bunch
say they have a new game
girls only

February 14th 1999
ii. 1800 miles from Colorado

the green plastic
hugged a greybrown screen
i tapped
even as the game
boy was tugged from my fingers

we are getting up earlier tomorrow
your father is driving you in (for safekeeping)

my sobs doubled
the crackling whitenoise
from the old cathode TV
between the static a man said some names
like the dylans and erics shooting spitballs in class
he swallowed those names
but they came up &
gargled around in his mouth
until he spat them up
 along with the whole state
of Colorado

mother glances at the game screen
& watches
a pixilated pokemon

why would you play this crap?

Dad eases the thick
green plastic
from her grip
tucks my covers
the light

set your alarm early for the drive &
don’t bring that game to class

as if a ride to school &
no more pikachu
would stop a school yard
April 20th  1999

iii. Every Game Includes a Witch-hunt

just a game
we played
all year

like tag
notes slipped
crinkled into backpacks

you are doomed

means you are it
& you puff clues
of your demise
like clouds
into the air

in spring Marly’s mom
was cleaning her bag
with a magnifying glass
to pick out
her missing
show & tell glitter
when she pulled the scrap
from the bilge of the bag

the scrap was slapped
on the acrylic desk
six of us girls
the barrette & butterfly bunch
brought in

haven’t you girls heard of the salem witch trials? we have Zero Tolerance for this behavior
(except this time)

We shrugged
& made zero connections
because the old principal makes no sense
she asked us to point fingers
we held hands

i don’t know

you are doomed
was placed in another bag
Marly sat alone
she wasn’t allowed to play                                                                                                                      
 May 2nd 1999

©2015 Lex Vex