Friday, August 26, 2011

Chris Crittenden - Three Poems


the struggle
has turned his urges
into railroad tracks.
a wanderlust that pokes
holes in his penniless coat.
he scrounges for copper
among roadside gabble,
mingles with nameless folk
hot with sin in torrential cold.

lustful ribs
trap them all within a single cage.
he gets dragged into the muck,
earning a few claps,
and then off on a binge
whiny with joy, wiggling
against a late asphalt
shapeshifting lover.

it turns out to be the wind,
only she--she who has been tying knots
through sobbing throats.
he is not happy with the sex
as they slur and blur into one,
surrendering as addicts do.
when she finally goes, he lies down,
irrelevant in numbness,
except for dried grass
which crackles against his nape.

Big Collapse

a sash of night
crashed down, eel
of teeth in the stars.
what held up
forever was clearly
not perfect. no supports
in the purported myths.
they attacked him:
crumbling chunks of Canis,
tattered shams of Orion,
sharp sparkles of Swan neck.
his crushed screams
couldn't find god.
he was inside
a calamitous mouth,
as if the universe were
howling for an answer.

all his life he had duly
gazed up at its pretty wounds
and prayed.


a raven chips
at the flavor of ice,
knows well plateaus of cold.

since egg, it has lived
without a roof. never savored
the gist of flame.

breaking through
the hide of a puddle,
it unearths a stiff cat,

and with vigorous jabs
splays organs to
rummage for treats.

nothing left afterward
but an epilogue
of gut and bone.

feline meat
is new to small black tongue.
the meaning unclear.

as never before,
the prophet rushes off,

and beating the folds
of its cloak.

I teach environmental ethics for the University of Maine and do much of my writing in a hut in a spruce forest. Some recent acceptances are from: Portland Review, Vox Humana, Poetry Friends and Brink Magazine. I blog as Owl Who Laughs.

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