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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Dark Olympics

 

Summer nights are for watching the fireflies

in silence, smiling in the dark as the bonfire dies,

or for young boys to learn that girls are magic

and can, with spells that only they may know,

summon tears, summon joy―

summer nights are for the fireworks to rock

like Jackson Pollack in the sky with Olympic, opalescent light.

 

In silence, smiling in the dark as the bonfire dies,

I might remember this very moment when I’m seventy-five.

How those fireworks rocked like Jackson Pollack in the sky

with Olympic, opalescent light: burning,

with an urgency like living to death,

looking for a lost love, laughing in a dream.

 

I might remember this moment when I’m seventy-five,

catching my breath at the top of a long flight of creaking, wooden stairs.

There’s an urgency, like a lost love laughing in a dream

sometimes, when you hear your name at the top of another’s lungs.

 

Catching my breath at the top of a long flight of condemned and broken stairs,

I look down behind me into the startling darkness of memory.

Sometimes, when you hear your name at the top of another’s lungs,

you would swear there were angels, crazed, behind every corner on the street.

 

I look down behind me into a startling darkness

is nighttime a place where old men can be lost forever?

You would swear there were angels, crazed,

behind every corner on these streets bedeviled,

where broad daylight’s not always the safest place to be.

 

Nighttime is a place where old men can get lost forever,

where young boys can learn that girls have magic

and can, with spells that only they know, summon tears, and summon joy.

Broad daylight’s not always the safest place to be,

and summer nights are for watching fireflies.

 

                                                       ―Rich Boucher

 

 

We Have Ways of Making You Talk

The instruments
here in your office,
they frighten me so bad
with their smoothness
and frigid, silvery danger;
everything in this place
is designed to cut me up
into filets of nervous
and yes, I’ll talk.

You want me to lie
on my back on your table,
so directly underneath
your homemade Sun
in this lair of mirrors
and spears of yours?

That’s fine.
I’ll do it.

But first can I ask you
if it would be rude
of me to ask you
to swear on your life
that you will not chop
my head off my neck
when the laughing gas
takes me to the poppy fields?
I suppose all those
quiet chrome claws
and blurry, black scalpels
hanging off those trays
on either side of me
make you feel godly,
don’t they?

I hear a drill bit whine
mechanically; a metal wolf howls;
I hear the slurp of a cold stream
burbling through the pale rock bed
of my mouth as I sputter,
desperate and fluent in babyese,
that as happy as I am
that my insurance covers this
I am not rooting for you,
that I am calling for a time out
so I can spit and breathe
and that I hope all your tools
fail to help you find that garden
of stones ground white and fine
by the waterfall back of my throat,
every lie I’ve ever told.


―Rich Boucher