white male

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when the police arrived

he was holding a damp clump

of brown paper towels

to the swell on his forehead

he stood shaking

as he explained

how he was taken

into the backroom

struck with the handgun butt

awaking later

crumpled against boxes 

head aching

the liquor store empty

and the cash register 

open and stripped bare

he tried to keep his gaze steady

and hoped they’d read

his anxious stutter

as a symptom 

of assault

rather than probable cause

to search his car

and discover

the paper sack

stuffed with bills

plenty to fuel more nights

where he could drink himself

to black

waking later

with inexplicable injuries

and able purpose

wearing only

his assumption of innocence

March 2015

Julie Ayers

First (Unmoored)

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Much better, she said,

Everything is on an upswing.

I feel almost normal,

Whatever that means.

It had gotten to the point

Where it felt like my body

Was just splitting apart.

My limbs felt like they might

Float away,

So I dropped anchor

While there was something 

Remaining.

Tethered myself to the wood 

Of the first sturdy dock.

I was still on surging water

But moored in a cove of

Love and promise

While oceans of existences

Flooded beneath the floor boards.

He’s an attorney

Who writes music

For big-shots in Nashville.

He usually brings the beer.

“I mean, when you have troops

Of people walking around 

Losing their religions

In hollowed out cores” she said.

But he wasn’t paying attention,

So she dug out 

The McCormick spice container

She’d hidden on her closet shelf.

A home for two, thick Blue Dream  joints,

A gift from her friends in Colorado.

Lit one, she sucked in smoke, potent and potion,

Breathed in blue dreams, streams and steaming

Lassitudes, masses, boxes and volumes, and air,

Assumed forms of light.

And her eyelids drooped

And her breathing slowed.

She was having none of that.

March 2015

Exquisite Corpse Poem

Zombie  Salon members: Andrew, Anne, Julie, Tricia

Boreal Moon

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Last night, 

when the moon 

was yellow 

and low,

I remembered you,

the way you looked

the day before you left

This morning,

when the bathwater

drained opaque

and boreal,

I heard you,

the way you murmured

“I’m sorry” in my ear

Right now,

as the skies

drizzle gray

and cold,

I feel your palm,

a ghost of steady pressure

resting low on my back

Tomorrow, next week,

in a month or year,

the touch of you,

smell of you, look

in your eye, 

I know not what of you

time will allow me 

to keep

March 2015

Exquiste Corpse Poem by Zombie Salon subset: Andrew, Julie, Tricia

Speed Of

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She’s buried in the snow 

of a machine that floats

over her abdomen

revelation as frozen pictures

a Hubble Deep Field view

liver nebula

her native kidneys

a drift of distant stars long dead 

their light only now perceived

Was it better when we mistook

every bright spot in the black sky 

as a promise 

back before we understood

their glow most often signifies

softly whispered farewells

March 2015

Julie Ayers

Quickening

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Scuff mark
hieroglyphics
on the bedroom floor
read absence
read violent removal
read lost

Chambers full
of things deemed precious
all items viewed necessary
for the journey on
now broken trophies
fodder for archeologists

Were the right treasures
loaded in
the binding strips
properly anointed
to ensure a safe tethering
through time

For the sweet prince
pursued by darkness
despite the suns etched
into every wall
hearts have been preserved in stoneware
at the ready for the promised awakening

February 2015
Julie Ayers

A Slow Drift

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The snow hid things
the tracks to my window erased
as the hearts we traced
into the dust on the sill
days when the wind scoured our faces
until they were pink and smooth
as unchewed gum balls

Now for warmth
only the patchwork quilt
made from old T-shirts
the bands we’d both loved
or pretended to love
for the sake of the other
lies that matched the snow
and covered us in dust
that made everything
beautiful in the moment
before drifting away

January 2015
Exquisite Corpse Poem
Zombie Salon Members – Andrew, Julie, Tricia

Fatal Exposure

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ruined early
by William Shakespeare and George Romero
tragedy, comedy, romance
revenge and reanimation
Ophelia afloat
Barbara beside the graves
spoiled children
and dead parents
siblings turned

what chance given then
to find genuine contentment
on the detergent aisle
or on picnics
that ended
with anything less than
terminal betrayal
or utter illumination

January 2015
Julie Ayers