Hangover

By Edward Butscher

Slouching through Main Street snows

and ice-thorned winds near zero degree

I laughed at the yellow taxi impaled

on the meridian’s steel fence

not far

from the bulky woman taking photos

of her bored, Burberry-coated poodle.

 

My head a tethered balloon, eyelids

staked open by invisible toothpicks

I wished I too were a teenager again

striding inside seven-league boots

to shoulder cars free and shovel safe

the walks of childless old couples.

 

Reading about Lorca the night before

(print too tiny and my stomach tense

as a new basketball) after the phone

neglected to return promised kisses

in the dark before dawn bleeds light

 

I pictured a ditch beside any house

where all poets’ bullet-seeded bodies

deserve to be thrown.  As arrogant as

Dali was secretly shy, the laughing

deviant had spat his dreamt death

terror into the faces of the soldiers

 

who fought for a pacifist Christ

languid on his frozen gold cross

sure they dare not kill him, consign

him to a martyr’s anonymous grave

where poppies and rebellions grow.

 

I brutally stamp down infant hands

and stagger over monstrous breasts

(sour with unsuckled milk) to reclaim

the book-coraled room that makes me

what I once was, will never become.

___

Born and raised in Flushing, Queens, Edward Butscher’s poems, stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of journals since the early 1970’s, including the Saturday Review of Literature, Poetry, Georgia Review, Newsday, and the American Book Review. In 1976 Seabury Press published his Poems About Silence and Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness, first biography of the controversial poet. He also edited Sylvia Plath: The Woman and the Work (1978) for Dodd, Mead, and his Adelaide Crapsey was published in 1979 as a title in Twayne’s United States Authors series.

Cross Cultural Communications published two collections of his poems, Amagansett Cycle (1980) and Unfinished Sequence (1981), and his only novel, Faces on the Barroom Floor, appeared from Contemporary Press in 1984. He co-edited (with Irving Malin) a special issue of Twentieth Century Literature in 1986 devoted to the work of Paul Bowles. His Conrad Aiken: Poet of White Horse Vale, published in 1988 by the University of Georgia Press, won the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Cane Award for that year

Edward Butscher is the author of Peter Wild (1992) in the Western Writers of America series and Eros Descending (1992), a group of lyrics from an on-going sequence issued as a Dusty Dog Chapbook, and has been a contributing scholar for a number of reference works, among them, The Reference Guide to Short Fiction (St. James Press), MaGill’s Survey of Contemporary Poetry, and Oxford University’s Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English.


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