The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: poems (page 1 of 11)

“End Times in the Produce Aisle” By Gene Twaronite

As I reached for the organic cucumber, a woman wearing 

a polka dot dress over pajama bottoms and bunny slippers 

grabbed for the same one. 

With our hands clutching opposite ends of the vegetable

as if it meant the difference between survival

and a slow wasting death, 

we locked eyes in a grim battle 

of foraging supremacy. 

 

“Go ahead, take it,” she said, shaking her head. 

“What does it matter? Who needs a cucumber? 

Haven’t you heard? It’s the end times.”

 

Now normally I try not to get into discussions

while shopping, where I find desolation

and abomination aplenty, not to mention 

tribulations in the checkout line.

But the woman looked so distraught even the bunnies 

on her slippers had little screamy faces.

 

“Oh, it’s not as bad as that, is it? Look at this

tomato? Have you ever seen such a masterpiece? 

Almost a shame to eat it. I’d put it on my mantel if I could.”

I paused and smiled at the woman, but she wasn’t

buying it. 

 

“You poor stupid schmuck,” she said. “Yes, go 

buy your beautiful tomato and don’t forget your cucumber. 

Make yourself a divine salad and enjoy your last meal

while you look out your window and watch the world end.”

 

Her comment returned me to the salad I planned 

to toss that night, and I grabbed a head of romaine

and some radishes. “What makes you think the world

is coming to an end?” I asked as non-judgmentally

as I could, deciding while I was at it to grab some 

carrots, mushrooms, and a red cabbage.

 

  

“Open your eyes,” she said. “Downtown’s underwater

and the hills are on fire. They’re rioting in the streets 

and the locusts are eating everything. 

Arabs and Jews still at each other’s throats. 

Forty countries now at war while nuclear weapons are being 

baked liked cookies. And just look at that wilted lettuce. 

What is the world coming to?”

 

Tears streamed down her face and she began to wail

and gnash her teeth, which for some strange reason

I have always found irresistibly appealing,

though the streaks and gobs of mascara

around her eyes made her look like a crazed panda.

 

“There, there,” I said, which seemed at the time

a pretty dumb thing to say but was all I could think of,

having recently heard it in a Turner Classic movie 

starring Jimmy Stewart. 

 

Tenderly I dabbed her eyes with my handkerchief, 

which fortunately was still unused that morning.

I put my arm around her and we walked together

out the store, stopping only briefly in 

the checkout line to pay for my produce.

 

And that night, we made a salad that couldn’t be beat,

then gripped each other tightly and watched in wonder 

as the sun got redder and redder in the west, swelling to 

twice its size before bursting apart into those magic colors 

you see only at times like these. 

_____

Gene Twaronite is a Tucson poet, essayist, and children’s fiction writer. He is the author of ten books, including two juvenile fantasy novels as well as collections of essays, short stories, and poems. His first poetry book Trash Picker on Mars was the winner of the 2017 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Arizona poetry. Other poetry collections include The Museum of Unwearable Shoes and What the Gargoyle Sees, published by Kelsay Books. Follow more of Gene’s writing at his website: thetwaronitezone.com.

“Natural History” by Kurt Luchs

I.

Today we studied the ruins.

Your eyelashes were already a legend among the Byzantines.

Once, I believed you could read the stars,

perhaps even read your own mind.

Yet you can’t feel your own grave

rushing at you with its mouth open,

the branches of that place soaked in a green light,

the clenched teeth of the moon.

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“Eyes and Teeth,” a poem by John Tustin

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“I long to enter the unholy…” by Kurt Luchs

Artwork by Sarah Walko

Art by Sarah Walko

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Poetry by Simon Perchik

You limp the way a stream

will soothe a single rock

and along the bottom

remembers this path

as darkness and dry leaves

though you don’t look down

–you hear it’s raining :the hush

not right now but at night

these cinders float to the surface

keep one foot swollen, the other

has so little and for a long time now

the listening in secret.

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Poetry by Holly Day

The Next Day

 

The alarm went off and we found that the world

hadn’t ended, that all the ramblings of the church elders

weren’t true. My husband sighed and rolled out of bed

found there were only dirty clothes left for him to wear

sighed again, dressed, went to work. 

 

I could hear birds chirping in the yard

a squirrel on the roof, cars

passing on the road out front. 

I held onto my dreams of apocalypse

for a few moments longer, savoring visions

of the angels, the devastation

that could still be waiting just outside the door. 

 

Butterfly Cage

 

when I was pregnant, all of my dreams

were about snakes. as much as I tried

to dream only about baby kittens, baby puppies

human babies, my nights would be filled

with twisting pythons gathered in knots

inside me, their slick skin undulating

in the dark, pushing and bumping as if

trying to find a way out.

 

friends without children would ask me 

what it was like to be pregnant and I’d

have to lie. I was so worried that

imagining the baby inside me was a coiled serpent

in my stomach

meant that I was already a bad mother

meant something was wrong with my baby.

 

“It’s like being a butterfly house, ” I’d say instead.

“I’m all full of fluttering butterflies.” I’d put his or her hand

on my straining stomach as I spoke, whispering

“Can you feel them move? Can you feel it?

 

Isn’t it wonderful?”

 

The Light

 

We wait for the bombs to feel us out

pass the potatoes, say grace over the odd angels

that have watched over us for years

through the stained-glass windows of old churches

through the eyes of Orthodox iconography. This is a moment of peace

that will never come again.

 

Through the windows, the strength of distant concussions

fold trees in half, take grain silos and snap power lines. 

We turn up the gas, clear the dinner table

I put a knife in your hand, just in case.

 

The sky grows as dark as if seen through closed eyes

windows shake and fly apart. Hands

over their eyes, I stretch out next to the children

tell them it’s just the sound of His voice, there’s nothing 

to be afraid of,  it’ll all work out in the end. 

 

Dirty American Poem #3

 

the soldiers didn’t seem to care

that the hotel we were staying in

was haunted. they didn’t seem even a little interested

when we told them chairs were moving all by themselves

that we could hear voices whispering in the bathroom pipes

that the clocks had all stopped exactly at midnight.

 

the people in the streets outside

didn’t seem to care either, seemed more concerned with

pushing back against the soldiers, standing ground

in front of their own crumbling, possibly haunted hovels

seemed more annoyed than anything when we

said we needed to find another place to stay. 

 


Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press).

“Shattered” by Marc Alan Di Martino


Marc Alan Di Martino is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author of the collection Unburial (Kelsay, 2019). His work appears in Baltimore Review, Free Inquiry, Innisfree, Rattle, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, Valparaiso Poetry Review and many other journals and anthologies. His second collection, Still Life with City, will be published by Pski’s Porch in 2020. He lives in Italy.

Callaloo by Kira Stevens

I’m learning how to be mentally present

such that I’m more likely to hear random things 

I don’t know I want to know yet 

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“Conjuring” by Danielle Hanson

Eyes like ripening fruit, an image

Enters, plunges into heart and is gone.

Gather the emptiness in your arms

Until they overflow.  Trap the voices

In resin, melt it so they flutter away

Out of order—aimless moths.

Conjuring is the spitting out of words.

These are only words.  Let them in.

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Poetry by Elizabeth L. Bruno

LEAVING THE LIGHTS ON

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