Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Peter Marra - Three Poems

Death Valley Confidential

sexy sadie and leslie mourned:
another mansion of old Hollywood
was torn down the previous evening

the dune buggy attack battalion
left them on the street:
a peyote wrestle
two women

they dreamt
that they laughed
that they told each other secrets
that they would lay in wait for
fever smiles of
death valley

unable to
cry in private
unable to
share grief
a static

embarrassed and silent
they longed for a
television –
a peek -
to watch themselves
on the evening news
(mom and dad are blind)

dreams of carving avenging
words in blood
as they pirouetted at night
on the silver screen

70 x 7 times the
fingernails scratched the air
a cyclone destroyed
the roller coaster of the madchens

70 x 7 not forgiven
“true desert,” she said as the
dune buggy attack battalion drove up
and slammed through America’s heartland

watching crucified cartoons for
Saturday morning
finishing dreams
they knocked down the doors
watched tv and left
the red pools dried and
no one knew

blank air
black sound
they marveled
at her dreams

hurdy-gurdy reversal
a Theremin aflame
the women lay down
in the sand and
kissed the gasoline
from each other’s eyes

eyes connected
out of gas
balmy air far
from time’s reach

sexy sadie and leslie
held each other :
they were afraid of sleep
so they stared blankly.

at home the
chronically ill priests
ate the remains of the
so bloody and bare
and watched the churches burn


A collision with a conscience
While walking slowly through the halls
Into the dusty theatre.

The stage is old
And the patrons dozing;
An audience ignored

Dust clouds rising.
He watched.
He waited for her to arrive.

The clock’s arms spun backwards
As the ceiling melted a reddish black.
He was waiting to see her convulsive torso.

He imagined the line of sweat that would be above her lip
The click clack noises annoyed him
Reminding him of where he was.

In slashed burnt scenery
She appears as
A long afternoon shadow.

This is when the fear level is highest:
Her nightgown clings to her wet frame
Outlining shadows and reminding him

Of the newly green trees passing by the widows
In their opiated splendor
Hiding from him.

He moved towards her.
She was silently glaring.
By touching her he knew it was

A wrong kiss.
An incorrect movement.
Creatures both male and female rolled in the surf.

He sold pain as burlesque.
She bought pain as a birthright.
Decayed delinquent memories always flash wildly.


i refused the maidens that i saw
nailed to the crosses

while the fission dog
glared at their faces

resenting every tug of the leash
i try to push through and out

the lamps behind the windows explode
as we wander in the moist alleys

we smell the hot breath as we ascend the stairs
our faces healed by the warm breeze

they show disapproval and
admire the activity below

i hear the tap-tapping of
the boots on cement

the leash has dropped

she’s after me now waiting at the end
of the grinning hallway

gently the snow becomes a bed
as we lie down for a sleep

narcotic. wired. plug us in.
take us now.

frozen chalk-lines
hardly stirring slightly moving

Peter Marra is in Williamsburg Brooklyn. His goal is to become an adjective and find new methods of description. He has either been published in or has work forthcoming in Caper Literary Journal,, Yes Poetry, Maintenant 4 & 5, Beatnik, Crash, Danse Macabre, Clutching At Straws O Sweet Flowery Roses, Breadcrumb Scabs,Carcinogenic and Calliope Nerve. He is currently constructing his first collection of poems.

1 comment:

  1. Death Valley Confidential

    This is one to read over and over. You present such dark deepness
    with something like tenderness. Our typical responses to depravity, blood, pain, drugs (being drugged)…the eerie concept of Theremin as a manipulation no doubt are not with this piece (well except for “dune buggy attack battalion drove up
    and slammed through America’s heartland.” – a more literal response to the nightmare. For me you present the overlooked – the lost and wounded, the sexy sadie’s and leslie’s that find comfort in, at least, burning together. The possibilities for why such tragedies take place in the hearts of the lost.


    I generally don’t use a title of a piece as a starting point (odd perhaps)….Sometimes I go back for reference. Here I began with the title and it gave me a pre-concept to spring from, but how tricky this poem becomes by the 4th stanza last 2 lines. What is reflected is now returned in reflection (for me). What begins so simply is like a red carpet for the complexity you spin. Reflection to, imagery to memory returning to reflections at all of these points, comingling. This is where this piece takes me…expectation to realization and all the while a deception observed and I am brought back to a beginning, a present.


    I love this piece. Your textures in writing , sensuality, darkness, sadness, pain, exploration, women……here I feel the “I” alone and with the “I” – that “fission dog”
    something of a shadow or simply part of the self. Traipsing through, up, into memory then awakened into seeing what is below, behind. This poem has me walking beside the “I”, a voyeur, feeling the way too.

    All three of these pieces are very much what I recognize about your “style”, “way” of expressing in verse – these three, though, feel like a slight departure from the previous works I have read as they are not as steeped in a kind of skin tingling sensuousness….it’s more silent here, still weaving in and out just a bit more hazily.