Glen Armstrong – 6 poems

Forever Shampoo

            

Here’s a picture 

of my sister

under the Arc de Triomphe,

            

her hair, 

flaring out 

to the entire universe.

            

There were things

that used to happen

each and every Saturday night.

            

We sang songs

that made us glisten

like roller skate keys.

            

Here’s a picture 

of my sister playing bass

with The Steve Miller Band.

            

She had a way 

of disappearing and popping

up where we’d least expect her.

            

Here’s one of her 

flipping off Chip and Dale

behind their backs.

            

Here she is reconsidering

the embroidery on her shirt,

turning a flower back 

            

to purple thread.

            

Year of the Sea Monkey XXXII

            

Americans tremble 

at a supervillain’s feet. 

The heart wants

            

what the heart wants.

My sweetheart reminds me

not to kink-shame

            

the Americans.

They run on different frequencies

and dream of chicken and cars.

            

That which they cannot fry,

they try to turbocharge.

The villain’s boot is large,

            

and it shines like morning dew

on a perfectly cooked thigh

or a finely tuned carburetor.

            

Americans like distractions:

club sandwiches and soda.

That which explodes must explode

            

internally, eternal.

The villain’s divine foot

must never be mentioned.

            

Summer Teeth

            

Newcomers and beachcombers 

occupy the pumpkin

            

seed of a Venn diagram.

Dry ethnographers attend

            

to sand on feet,

who is overlapping 

            

whom and such.

They stretch timeless summer 

            

across a graph

in a notebook that would rather

            

be a treasure map.

They fill pages with observations

            

that would rather be

holding hands.

            

House of India #81

There is spicy stew in front of me and spicy stew becoming me. I sometimes articulate a thought that seems to come from beyond. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Sometimes I touch my hair and realize my limits. Hard stops in spite of the world passing through.

The door opens and a chilly, unseasonal breeze scatters a stack of paid dinner checks. The new patron’s leather blazer and domino mask designate him as a crimefighter. Or a criminal. Or the shadow of a clown. This is not me.

To have a destiny, one must have a self / be a game piece. Be a racecar. Be a top hat. The thimble holds but a drop of stew. Though the waitress must know that I will not try it, she is obliged to describe the new item on the menu.

I suppose it would do no harm to try the jacket on. There is ample room in the shoulders, and though it looks odd buttoned up, there is room through the waist as well. I have recently lost some weight, and the weightless have been treating me with more respect. More affection. I meant to say the “waitress.” This is not me.

            

Antonyms for “White”

            

I’m not home when you show up

with the box

            

full of colorful socks

for the white 

            

elephant sale.

It’s, accordingly, a big box,

            

and you leave it in the driveway.

It’s a sudden rain,

            

the sort in which religious types

find meaning.

            

I am more tempted to invent 

a character who would 

            

cherry-pick a pair 

of the donated socks for himself

            

than I am to cherry-pick

a pair of my own.

            

He walks around,

his poorly hemmed pants revealing 

            

the pink and yellow stripes. 

            

Among the Forgetters #17

            

Strange blue brightness. 

            

Red brick house. 

            

Yellow taxis still wait

for us to break

things off.

            

No one loves the Bride

of Frankenstein

            

more than my cousin,

who lives

            

in Chicago.

            

Shiny white police

motorcycles

make

            

the rainclouds 

seem like swear words

that when uttered

            

seem like forbidden tunnels.

Few dare enter.

            

It’s enough today to seem,

enough to glow

in such

            

subtle ways that no one

notices. 

            

Glen Armstrong (he/him/his) holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters. He has three current books of poems: Invisible HistoriesThe New Vaudeville, and Midsummer. His work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestConduit, and The Cream City Review.

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