April 7, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Alexey Bednij



Alan Britt



Pick Your Poison

(In the sibling society, people adopt false selves

in order to be more like one another, in order to

be invisible, agreeable, and passionless.)

                                    ~Robert Bly



Rattler nudges my neck

sniffing my breath for a mouse,

then meanders left shoulder

down my waist onto

the garden below with carnivorous

(watch your hand) barracuda-toothed,

vermilion lips snapping

the universe to perfect attention.


If a question isn’t a question,

we must know the answer.


I know a little.


But a question still isn’t a question

if it’s loaded, you know,

like a marionette poised high above

the House of Wax for political misdeeds

caught red-handed deceiving the republic,

a la Napoleon, self-pity & all.


I had a father who had a son.


I had a father, once.


But days this time of year

sag like rotten fruit. You’re not hungry,

yet you don’t feel like dieting, either.

Behind a frond, silk glove, an eyeglass

gurgling refugees from the Titanic

sacrificing one’s place on a tumbling lifeboat

for last gulp of salted coffee-colored bubbles.


Notwithstanding, we threw away

the corporate news, creased

between our knuckles the sports section

& stepped from patios, some

with polished pebbles lining

kidney-shaped pools,

others reflecting the personalities

of their owners: shards from cobalt medicine

vials, rear ends of beer bottles,

indigenous stones, & clear plastic bricks

from cardboard tower

forcing us back to 3-years-olds

living as 30-something’s in modular houses

no one else wants.











The tongue of Samuel Taylor

sinking Kubla’s kingdom


below the flinty voices of gypsies

feeding arteries, arteries cultivated

to question the mob.


Skull diving. Traveling. Suitcases

with Detroit Metro tags reflecting

garbled speakers beneath thatched

roof with maintenance worker

known as Joseph, yet the handle

belongs to many,

inserting bones & flesh,

flesh & bones, bones & flesh

into the slot promising freedom

& promising faith can outrun a

thoroughbred yellow-striped

e=mc² garden spider meditating

her two thousand & one terrorist

eggs hatching flooded malls

with FBI agents generations

removed from tick & flea medication.


Flinty voices loading empathetic

blanks into empty chambers.


They sting a bit, at first,

but we get used to it.













Alan Britt

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. In 2013 he served as judge for the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, his latest being Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published in Romania: 2015). He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

1 Comment

  1. Wendell A. Brown April 12, at 16:53

    You are an amazing poet my brother, God has surely blessed your heart to see beyond the veil. Your words are genuine and selflessly alive. I love them! God bless!


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