January 16, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION



T R Poulson




Just A Shithole Ghazal



We all live by contracts and forms contrived in the shithole

or of it, as in Dude, we’ve arrived in the shithole.


In the beach potty, green and white, I lost my phone

and asked myself, What lifeforms thrive in the shithole?


My best friend dated a man from the ghetto, a running back,

and in mid-July, she dared me, Let’s drive in the shithole.


Look:  the girl with a library book, the man with a cane, the old

lady with orange and pink lilies.  They survive in the shithole.


At three AM, I dig through strewn Hallmark cards for lost

bloodstone earrings, a bird bracelet, deprived in the shithole.


A cartoon on the floor, a two-story outhouse:  management

on top, us on the bottom.  Backs turned, to knives in the shithole.


My roommate replaced the black phone she broke

with a white one.  We begged, can you forgive in the shithole?


On the farm, my father moved that storm-whipped structure

transformed for tools:  hooks, a shovel, a sieve in the shithole.


In the remodel, toilet-shopping I went.  Lowes salesman

named John, throne of porcelain, I invested $95 in a shithole.


I signed disclosers, loops from T to N, dropped my pen,

told my Realtor, Get me out of this dive in the shithole.





Z is for Zero

for Sue Grafton



Back then, allured by the alibi,

we dodged the proverbial black-masked burglar,

the cat thief at midnight, then found the corpse

of love turned dire.  Consider the deadbeat.

We, the good girls entangled by the evidence:

He’ll fracture your heart and be your fugitive.

We lured the villain, beguiled the gumshoe

Follow me!  It led to hope, not homicide,

to the other side of Idaho Street, where the innocent

stumbled in pot smoke as fallen Jedi, and judgement

loomed, unknown.  Dude, that was killer!

The lucky girls could flee from the lawless,

find the alibi, and when mocked, the malice,

when big hair flew and fell, neat as a noose

and we learned, love is only for the outlaw,

or is it?  Pastor taught us to pray for those in peril

on the sea, or at the water’s edge.  We found the quarry

where riffs of metal would ricochet

off distant stone cliffs, followed by silence,

and the time-torn signs, Do Not Trespass,

clanked, upturned, against poles.  No undertow

in the vegetation-choked pond.  With a vengeance

we want back those years we spent, wasted

on algebra exams.  We sought the value of X.

Yes, we know.  That was yesterday.






T R Poulson

T R Poulson, a University of Nevada Alum, lives in San Carlos, California.  Her work has appeared in Verdad, Trajectory, J Journal, The Meadow, The Wildcat Review, New Verse News, and the Raintown Review.

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