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Red-Poem by Meg Baird
Spigot-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Wrong-Poem by Ruth Ticktin
In the Backyard-Poem by Holly Day
Harry the Hippie-Poem by David Spicer
Michelangelo's Handshakes-Poem by David Spicer
Flaxen Hair-Poem by John Short
Once Every Four Years-Poem by John Short
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Michelangelo’s Handshakes

 

by David Spicer

 

 

We’re all fond of different gestures:

men, upon meeting, trade handshakes.

Teenagers might make a point

when angry by flashing middle fingers,

while some women exchange letters

to discuss the great Michelangelo.

 

One person—Michelangelo,

my misanthropic uncle—refused gestures

of goodwill, thought writing letters

worthless, and when exchanging handshakes

he’d squeeze other men’s fingers

so hard they’d say, You trying to prove a point,

 

asshole, and just what is your point?

Everybody knew him as Michelangelo,     

but now they didn’t have strong fingers,

now that he made this gesture.

I told my uncle his handshakes

had the effect of letter

 

bombs, and he should write letters

of apology to explain the point

that nothing made less sense than handshakes

between men, who despised Michelangelo.

You’re so full of it, boy. I love my gesture

of squeezing the hell out of fingers,

 

and here’s a middle finger

to writing wimpy letters.

I saw in my uncle’s eyes a small gesture                                          

that more than proved his point

many men see themselves as Michelangelo,

a man with a marble-cold handshake.

 

What was in his eyes? Not handshakes.

Something I can’t begin to finger,

any more than my uncle Michelangelo

figured why I thought letters

could verify the vapid point

that one gesture’s superior to another gesture.

 

A handshake means no more, no less than a letter.

Fingers aren’t meant to squeeze, but to point.

And Uncle Michelangelo’s name was a gesture.

 

 

 

David Spicer is a former medical journal proofreader. He has published poems in Santa Clara Review, Synaeresis, Chiron Review, Remington Review, unbroken, Third Wednesday, Yellow Mama, CircleStreet, The Bookends Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, The Midnight Boutique, and elsewhere. Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once, he is author of one full-length poetry collection, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press) and six chapbooks, the latest of which is Tribe of Two (Seven CirclePress). He lives in Memphis. His website is www.DavidSpicer76.com/HOME | Mysite

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