Avatar Review

Issue 18

Poetry » Kurt Cline »


Every Word You Write

How long it’s been
Tumbling down unwinds
Voiced from silence
A long, slow sooner or later
Comes to pass
Tortoise soughing
Softly on the rocks
Yesterday today
Tomorrow morning
Thought itself
Slipping away.
Shadow of the chess knight
Ticking of the clock
Bugs chirping
Outside the window:
If nature is so perfect
In her handiwork,
Tell me, why the evil mosquito?

Hurricanes tornadoes earthquakes
Can be reckoned with a measure of error
Finally reaching presidential proportions—
Shrunken heads grown ever larger
Increasingly lugubrious
Swollen by the torrential rain
Floods & typhoons
Brain Cloud Blues
Quicksand in the lagoon
Searching for everything
I ever wanted to
Other than walk away
Till the sky thinks & the bird sinks
Beauty there if one will just let it ride
Ingot exquisite God-wrought
Which you cannot simultaneously have
& have not & why not? We postulate, expostulate.
You can’t stay & I can’t go. We’re down
By the creek. Moon’s on the rise
& the fir boughs do dip
Into the silent pool of black shadows—
But tell me before I grow hoary & old
Why mosquitoes in droves?

Bon apetit, M. Grenouille!

Bulbous, & Fast

Down on my luck
Down under an armadillo’s underbelly
Down where the Cimarron runs into Crooked Creek
I could be looking for a bucket fruitlessly, forever
& nothing to go in it unless
Retrieved with a key
Nobody’s ever
Even laid eyes on
Down where my luck ran out
In a gambling town where I met
A woman in golden armor perhaps a cyborg
A sort of combination Ayn Rand & L. Ron Hubbard
I wipe a few coffee stains off her breast
& tell her she’s more than human
& it was a full moon’s typhoon
Before my luck would come back.
Now she’s dancing on the roulette table
Swinging a bucket of money in the air
Maybe she seems a little careless
In her handling of so much cash
So I take a firm hold the bucket
Vowing inwardly not to lose sight of it
No matter what I go into the men’s room
Where it vanishes more quickly
Than an adolescent’s virtue—
That is in a flash. Now I’m
Way under Underdog
Scratching my name in the sand
Can’t even afford a newspaper
Leaving town in a covered wagon
Drawn by one parlous mule some
Old sidewinder comes trotting up
“Got any left over from that bucket
Of gold you had last night?”
“Man, I got neither gold nor silver
Not even a penny
Made out of lead,” I said.