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Alan Britt
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PIROUETTE

 

Alan Britt

 

 

A nave amaranthus tendril

amidst four dozen

twirls in perfect twilight.

 

Ballerina’s ivy fingers

signal the end

of her lusty pirouette.

 

 

 

 

 

Poet to His Dog

 

Alan Britt

 

 

Let me tell you something:

it’s hard to come up

with clever stuff 100 times a day!

 

I mean your buffet meals alone

keep me hopping.

 

Not to mention all those car rides

to supermarket, Post Office,

and private school

for number one daughter.

 

You love to hang out, don’t you?

 

It amazes me you’d prefer riding in a car,

sloshing through puddles and oozing to muddy stops,

when you could be dozing in the bedroom,

the living room, the hallway,

or upon our cool, mocha bathroom tiles.

 

Given that our DNAs are so damn close,

it’s a wonder I don’t enjoy

chewing my own hind leg

or circling the backyard

with a white plastic 5-gallon bucket in my mouth.

 

Ah, your impetuous nature

is forever my gain, my friend.

 

Here, let me loosen your tie-dyed collar.

 

Your love is forever my gain,

my dearest friend.

 

 

    

Friday, March 8, 2002

 

Alan Britt

 

 

A dried magnolia leaf

scuttles our carport

like a horseshoe crab.

 

Skittling her tiny points

of existence

across our chilly March patio.

 

But this magnolia leaf is already ancient,

several days ahead

of new buds

still bathing their beautiful roots

of amnesia

in utter darkness.

 

And, again, this

magnolia leaf

scuttles sideways,

tapping her jade fingernails

against the iridescent windows

of my thoughts.

 

 

House Finches

 

Alan Britt

 

 

House finches, two of them,

have adopted

this ornamental porcelain

bird house

hanging by a thin chain

outside our back door.

 

She has the most gorgeous

coriander feathers,

eyes

two drops of black oil.

 

Her mate fluffs

his vermilion shoulders

of smoldering

coals.

 

It’s late March,

early cardinals whistle

in loops

of water.

 

 

DEATH AS DARK MATTER

 

By Alan Britt

 

 

When we die, perhaps

we become dark matter—

no longer

recognizable

to human senses, exactly,

or String Theory, for that matter,

yet altering

the normal course of events,

thus causing

a perfectly logical existence

to become impossible

and creating

terrible moments

dipped in melancholy

for the poor humans

left behind.



PUNISH THE MONKEY

 

by Alan Britt

 

(Based upon the song by Mark Knopfler)

 

 

In this Whirlpool age, or Maytag,

Samsung, Hitachi or ExxonMobil universe,

who knows what the fuck’s going on

anymore?

 

In this abortion of reason,

in this judgment day squandered,

taken under further advisement?

 

In this quid pro quo universe,

in this nightmare smeared

across a plum horizon, smeared

across a horizon, messy,

vomiting, so uncorporate-like,

so lazily strung-out on White Widow,

Ruthless Red or Mean Green,

so close to the edge,

well, the edge according to Blake,

DeQuincy, Rimbaud, Baudelaire,

Van Gogh and Marlon Brando.

 

Yes, more than that nefarious lot.

 

Even more than Marilyn, the elephant

curiously spooked after 37 years

of sporting a cheesy red vinyl vest

and paper doll necklace

strangling her massive neck.

 

More than Marilyn captured

on the evening news,

violating the trust of those

who leverage trust

as only those millennia wise

at leveraging trust can muster.

  

Trust?

It’s all we have,

so why auction it

to the highest bidder,

knowing full well

that nothing good ever

came of it?

 

Punish the monkey, nevermore.

 

Hell, if you punish the monkey

one more time,

I don’t know what I’ll do,

don’t know what I might do.





LUNA (the cat)


                            by Alan Britt


  


Tuxedo girl, white silk apron to fool any chump

into thinking he could scratch your belly without

teeth & claws shredding bare knuckles—though

a scrunch behind the ears suits you just fine.


 

You attack a shopping bag’s paper handles

& blue Portuguese Man o' War grocery bag

blown by ceiling fan across our imitation

Andalusian tiles, then wine bag snags your

shoulder blades doused in catnip until your

eyes resemble divers sifting Ferdinand coins

from blond sands off Cuba’s Caribbean coast.


 

You claim top bunk of carpeted castle, then

hang like ivy, black tail coiling a crocheted mouse

with crushed bell that hardly dingles anymore—

avocado eyes sweeping the infinite.




CADEN JEFFREY, MY FRIEND


 

by Alan Britt


  


Caden Jeffrey:


 Two kerosene eyes,

smoke dissolving snow,

four paws dipped in gesso,

head bumps squeeze affection

through pistachio eyes,

charcoal varsity stripes

on rattlesnake tail,

pink pads like a piglet’s nose,

forehead rubs slate coffee

table disturbing the universe

& arousing affection

that remains long after

blue moons come & go,

come & go,

come & never return).


 

Still, Caden decides which way

to swivel his cobblestone nose,

based upon my expression,

which is almost always positive.




LITTLE BOY NAMED AVERY

 

by Alan Britt

 

 

He’s a novelty; after five months you

think I’d have embraced him as I have

his Bouvier sisters, Daphne & Chloe.

 

He shivers a velvet rust, coffee

& black-striped pillow creased

in the middle, lamb’s fleece dingy

with Count Vlad’s victim’s tears.

 

6 fleas, perhaps 8, attack all hours—

12:30 as family snuggles,

or somewhere between 3 & 4 am

as a porcupine fog

scratches our dirty white shingles.

 

Rarely more than two feet

between me & that ivory-haired

French scatterling,

this Vegas card trick of curly fur,

you know, close-up illusory tiny Fra Angelico

panting the nuances of my affection.

 

After five months all should be routine,

then comes the falling in love

after you thought you’d already fallen in love

with this pearly vagrant, this loving,

playful & a bit scatological Bichon named Avery.

 

Well, I declare a subreligion,

one that involves dogs of all shapes,

colors, sizes & temperaments on the verge

of dismantling a circus tent

for an Indian elephant named Cheryl

who spent her last 55 years in one

side show or another

& simply couldn’t take it anymore.

 

Dogs in general.

 

Dogs on the periphery.

 

Dogs whose fishbone ribs spend December nights

on chrome grids that support

food, water & toilet,

dogs tethered to back yards' lightning & drought,

subzero temperatures

& rippling heat waves,

collars like carving knives,

dogs that trot with purpose across a four-lane highway

near South Boston, Virginia,

averaging 30 pounds apiece

like most feral dogs across this planet,

dogs of incense, favoring the tangerine blossom

or jasmine, dogs with a pickled sensibility,

dogs in jail or otherwise outside the boundaries

of civilized society,

dogs like the homeless coiled into aardvark balls

on sleety January San Diego nights,

dogs crunching religion between their yellowed teeth,

dogs on the antlers of moonlight,

diamond-tipped antlers of ghosts.

 

Five months, already?

 

Go figure.


DREAM I’D LIKE TO FORGET

 

by Alan Britt

 

 

This dream, only thing—a congregation

of ducks pretending to bask atop courthouse

cubbies ignoring ripples like taxes strangling

family, sans church & Congress—frowns

whenever boxer shorts grip the handle

that signals LED leading to whether or not

we harvest asparagus, bat-eared ruby lettuce,

along with orthodontic cauliflower, plus

jadeyellow sweet peppers while clutching

the nightmare better known as all part

of the military plan.







 

 


neardawn.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

NEAR DAWN

 

by Alan Britt

 

 

Donkey hoof grazes my cheek.

 

Dung straw entices seniors

flocking early bird buffets,

fairy godmothers, or godfathers,

(because there were some:

Melvin, Demetrius, Angelo,

& Karl with a K, William the way

William prefers before his nap

during the one millionth Mass

performed when folks weren’t

paying much attention & barely

two days before William, at rope’s

end, professed his love for a catbird

he heard screeching, I love you,

that is, so please don’t kill me).

 

 

 

 



mischievousghosts.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

MISCHIEVOUS GHOSTS

 

by Alan Britt

 

 

I’m having a wormhole moment, one

serendipitous moment of intense

concentration that prevents  

the second hand from budging.

 

So, I languor in an after-hours

tavern with scantily-feathered angels

topping off my fantasies.

 

Stretching time—as it were—why

else brave subzero heartbreaks

like a lobster drawn & quartered

between truth & reality?

 

& who knows how long I’ll remain

in this suspended imagination?

 

Who knows?

 

Who knows?

 

 

 

Alan Britt has published over 3,000 poems nationally and internationally in such places as Agni, Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Christian Science Monitor (U.S.), International Gallerie (India),  Letras (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), and A New Ulster (Ireland). His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 16 books of poetry. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

Preferring to "lean and loafe at his ease," Alan Britt is troubled by the corruption and ambivalence that permeates the Great Experiment, so politically speaking, he has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some, sounds radical. He believes the U.S. should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds, and oil; also, that it’s time to eliminate corporate entitlements and reduce military spending in order to properly educate its citizenry, thereby reducing crime and strengthening the populace in the manner that the Constitution envisioned. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur.

ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview:

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/media/avfiles/poet-poem-alan-britt.mp3

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