Poetry 365

February 28, 2014

Poet Alex Lemon

This month for Poetry 365 we’re featuring Alex Lemon’s stellar new volume The Wish Book.  Tightly coiled, kaleidoscopic, and full of heart, this fourth collection from the author of Happy blends “the energy of a carnival barker with the precise prosody of a master craftsman.”  Favorably compared to the work of Lucia Perillo and Laura Kasischke, these 43 dazzling poems have been praised by Bob Hicok for “showing us what we have and how briefly we have it.”  So don’t miss this terrific new book, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

Shakedown Machine

Do you smell that? Here, where everything looks
Perfect? That sour tang of a pile of one hundred degree
Garbage behind the storefront you’re standing in
Front of. Sniff the air. Look around. But hurry,
You have a whole life of Miss Pancake Face
Pageants & unicorn shows to go to. The window shine
Is all you can see–the shine makes all puppet
Strings invisible. Everything is great, man. Everything
Is groovy. Beast Sounds! Beach Loving! Everyone knows
That this is the best island filled with the most beautiful
People. Stand tall, sneer. Karate chop evil, & then blow
Kisses. Deny any & all acts of indecency, the degeneracy
Of a hotel room filled with motorboat-engined phalluses–
All that gravy–the pleasure cruises & sex boats.
Even a noseless victim of the Butt Naked Brigade
Would say something stinks. Right here in River City.
In Cowtown. In the city of lights, of sighs, of plum-
Picking & Juggalos. This buttery burg. This village
Of apple-bottomed veejays. Take a big old whiff.
Take it & wait. Maybe you’ll shrug, because maybe
It really doesn’t matter. What’s the difference
Between gulag & goulash, anyway? But perhaps
That last lungful will make you shudder, ask yourself
What’s the matter, you burning? & maybe, just maybe,
You’ll remember that fable your mother often told you–
A world populated by fisty gimps & sex slaves & people
Who call, say they do what they do because they’re doing
It for you, all those monsters that smile their hate. A land
Where no one repents. A land where no one should be
Unrepentant. A land where, each dusk you hear faint
Voices, a choir, softly in the udder-chaired haze,
Harmonizing, devotedly singing, bring out the wackos.

wish book

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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