Villainous Villanelle

Villainous Villanelle

Where javelinists nullify all the good
this park ever did
& rain turns from defeat into snow

& I read three books
& pulled some strings
            in fantoccini
while Fascist spiders
rounded up cockroaches
with their webs

insanity is merely an insert in the brain
a milliampere won’t get you very far
a poem is nucleate
            but I never could
            split its atom

I was never invited in
            by subversive types
a bit of a fool
            gliding down rapids in my mackinaw
three Maccabees equal one Macbeth
I belong to a guild of harnessed men

in the new land
            I discovered a squeeze bottle
& I was able to make it squeg
I booked a seat on the Underground railroad
I wrote a villainous villanelle


Amputee

In the dark, you go searching for your
other arm – it’s either lost
or upright from when you last bent it –

look through the w0000indow,
somewhere between winter and the Earth –
spy a shooting star,
a flaming stone breaking off
that fills your omissions,
gives weight to your outlines,
until it no longer matters
what parts of your body are missing.

For everything flows back to the heart,
and, if not your legs,
there’s a constellation,
that kneels with you,
a moon balanced on your shoulder,
and these sudden falls of phosphor –
the night has loosened up –
sent a phantasm your way.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review, and Qwerty, with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple, and Clade Song.

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