Black Petals Issue #80, Summer, 2017

Bondegezu, Tree Kangaroo
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Andrew's War-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Down at the Hardware Store-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Excision-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Rise-Fiction by Mike Mulvihill
Surviving Montezuma, Chapters 9 & 10-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Bugbear in the Darksome Chamber-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Critter in the Tin-Fiction By K. B. Updike Jr.
Bondegezu, Tree Kangaroo and 3 other poems by Richard Stevenson

Poems by Richard Stevenson

Bondegezu, Tree Kangaroo

 

Richard Stevenson

 

Yo! Homo sapiens dude,

Bondegezu, tree kangaroo.

Ain’t no cryptid critter

Since you guys tracked me down.

Lemme get down from this tree.

 

Don’t worry. I ain’t no pugilist,

Don’t practice Muay Thai or Kung Fu.

Just like to munch a bunch of leaves

and get up off the forest floor

when I cop some Z’s, since I snore.

 

Wanna get the kangaroo jump

on snakes and yer tub-thumpin’

braggarts who want me in a zoo.

What did I do to make me cause celeb?

I’m just a normal chump like you.

 

But, no, I’m a badass Bondegezu:

shorter tail; shorter fuse…

Really, you boys are so confused.

Taken a look at your big cities lately?

Take away yer guns, stop shavin’…

 

Really, some of yer thuggy bunch

might as well pull their pants up

and turn their ball caps around.

Start swingin’ branch to branch

insteada packin’ switchblades and heaters.

 

Yo, fool, whazzup? don’t cut it

as a dialogue opener where I come from.

Maybe you should give us the tux and ties,

the fancy shark-skin suits. Say, Surprise,

the Bondegezu boys be runnin’ the ‘hood.

 

Could do worse. At least we don’t snatch

our grannies’ purses when they’re fumblin’

for ID or green stamps. And what kinda

jerk would write 401 e-mails to fleece

their fellow humanoids out of their life savings?

 

Not a tree kangaroo. We got better things

to do than crap where we eat. We’re discrete,

courteous creatures. Would rather share

the bounty of our biome over tea, than clap

a cell phone to our ears twenty-four seven.

 

Badass Bondegezus, indeed!

Why don’t you pull up a limb

and sit down a spell?  You eat apples—

or at least Adam did that one time.

Why not get hip to Eden’s bounty now?

 

Some red dye 2 diseased steer steak

wrapped in cellophane for days is better?

How now, brown cow? Hold the phone!

Time to go vegan or vegetarian at least.

Grow some lentils, peas, and beans.

 

The more you toot, the better you feel

And all that. Nothing wrong with passin’ gas.

Heck, you might be able to run yer cars

on all the hot air you humans exude

from both ends. It’s worth a try, at least.

 

 

Donkey Woman

 

Richard Stevenson

 

Donkey Woman’s got the blues,

shrieks and howls at the moon.

Her skin is black, her fingers, stumps;

her face long, drawn, and melted some.

 

Holes in her cheeks, hate in her heart

in Elm Creek, San Antonio—

or so the story goes—hideously disfigured

by the fire that claimed her soul.

 

Husband shot, two children burned,

home, farm, all she owned—

consumed in a revenge inferno

the rich landowner’s son’s posse set.

 

Caught beating the burro the afternoon

she and the kids managed to stone

the malignant beast off their property.

The son swore revenge that very day.

 

Came with his posse that very night.

Set the place alight; set all ablaze.

Enjoyed the warm hands of his own embrace,

the thin, grim grin of his malignancy.

 

She dove in the river, let the current take her.

Now she shivers in wet rags down shore,

her hair a hank of black ditch slime

dripping continuously down her back.

 

She may be hideous,

but the rich son’s heart’s a cinder.

She clings to life; he slinks

skink-like into money cracks.

 

Now she’s on the hunt

under the bridge and in the woods,

so full of could-and-might-have-beens.

Syllables can’t slip between her lips

 

without her tasting their venom.

Words are a kind of virus

that survives the gut of a beggar

or a king, and rides every red apple.

 

Donkey Woman’s on a mission.

You don’t want to stumble onto her

with just a fishing rod and creel.

She’s as real as a tumor, boys.

 

Real as a tumor—

Got no sense of humor,

Much more than a rumor,

Lives in a sewer.

 

Donkey Woman! Fused feet—

Lumpen clumpin’ stump lumps,

clompin’ on the bridge

between what-if and just-suppose.

 

Her mind’s a different vessel

than her molten, ropey skin.

Gonna get that rich, twisted, malignant one,

turn his evil smirk into a hole.

 

Then she’ll stick stump fingers

in his sockets, and go bowling

at the bone groove bowling lanes,

roll his skull, sop up his brains.

 

 

Napes

 

Richard Stevenson

 

Napes, Napes, new world apes:

ain’t gorillas or chimpanzees.

 

Napes, napes, c’mon, pull the drapes;

let us get a good long look at you.

 

What, did you get tired of the competition

for good real estate in Africa or Asia?

 

Slog overland from Beringia

when the snow began to web yer toes?

 

Napes, Napes, such cryptid apes;

don’t wanna watch us watchin’ you.

 

Napes, Napes, such bold escapes …

Got no interest in performance space.

 

Wasn’t raised to swing on rubber tires,

Getting too old to improvise.

 

Napes, Napes, North American Apes—

Not supposed to be here—live in bars and caves.

 

 

The Yeren’s Complaint

 

Richard Stevenson

 

Yeah, we’re hairy, healthy Yerin.

Don’t appreciate yer starin’,

Just wanna root for roots and berries.

Never mind our dental caries.

 

Leave us a bar of soap, some shampoo.

Let us soak our yarbles in a pool

instead of tryin’ to fill our narra butts

with lead and makin’ such a fuss.

 

Yeah, we’ve been around a while,

but waitin’ for handouts ain’t our style.

We ain’t homeless; don’t need no zoo.

Muggin’ ain’t on our list of things to do.

 

Yeah, we pick each other’s fleas,

but we refuse to stoop to please.

Ain’t weak in the knees or impressed

with the way you hairless monkeys dress.

 

Back off, Jack!  Leave us a little scenery.

Ain’t doin’ nothin’ to your greenery

that you ain’t doin’ a hundred fold.

Our home ain’t somethin’ we want sold.

 

Ain’t drinkin’ up all yer water,

just got a hungry, thirsty daughter

who don’t care about celebrity or fame.

Go back to the places from which you came.

 

Listen to the birds and bees. Chill,

and when yer finished gawkin’, fill

a thermos, pick some berries, then vamoose.

If you’ve gotta hang, baby, hang loose!

 

That’s it. Relax; let the gun drop.

Let yer arms go flippy flop.

S-s-s- start to stutter, stammer.

Say Yerin, yerin…close yer yammer.

 

Take a picture, if you must,

then spin on your heels in the dust.

Get a footprint, handful of hair.

Yer folks’ll say it’s from a bear.

 

 

 

Richard Stevenson, richard.stevenson@shaw.ca, wrote BP #80’s “Bondegezu…”, “Donkey Woman,” “Napes,” and “The Yeren’s Complaint” (+BP #76’s poems, “Honey Island Swamp Monster,” “Skin Walker,” and “Ucu.”) From a series called Cryptid Shindig, the poems from this collection concern cryptid encounters, ET lore, or unexplained phenomena; others have appeared in three published volumes in the series: Why Were All the Werewolves Men? (Thistledown Press, 1994), Nothing Definite Yeti (Ekstasis Editions, 1999), Take Me to Your Leader! (Bayeux Arts Inc., 2003), and in a New & Selected volume called Bigfoot Boogie. Just retired from a thirty-year gig teaching English and Creative Writing at Lethbridge College, the poet has published thirty books in that time. His most-recently published books are haikai poetry collections: Fruit Wedge Moon (Hidden Brook Press, 2015), The Heiligen Effect (Ekstasis Editions, 2015), Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders (a long poem from Dreaming Big Publications, 2017) and A Gaggle of Geese (haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, zappai, and haikai sequences from Alba Publishing in the U.K.). Other poems from the cryptid critter series have appeared in Aphelion, The Literary Hatchet, On Spec, Liquid Imagination Online, etc. (25+ mags so far) and in 3 previously published collections: Why Were All The Werewolves Men? (1994). Nothing Definite Yeti (1999), and Take Me To Your Leader! (2003).

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