These revised poems Copyright © 2010 by Michael Smetzer************** Bill Acres Explains His Life You have to be drunk or happy. If you‘re not you don’t see those early summer leaves. You don’t feel that off-white warmth of concrete in the sun. You don’t see nothing when you’re down. You just see your own dirty toes. You don’t see that loose Kansas dirt. You don’t see those concrete slabs lined out like fallen dominoes all the way to the park. Hey! Those black and white bird droppings are a clue to life. They say you look up you’ll see what’s coming down. But it won’t kill you. You got to wipe it off and laugh.
(first published in Cottonwood Review)************** Tequila / Pulque Agave worm in the bottle, you’re crema de la worm. Ebony knob on a divinity stick. Who could swallow a prettier fellow? But what have you to do with Tequila? With wormy agave drained to death by sweaty men in a desert? With its juice brewed for pulque, distilled for bandits to heat themselves before stopping the bus from the border? Hey, perfect worm, you look gringo clean tonight! Give me a glass of pulque, where a real worm might be, mottled and smashed, cut to bits – a worm of the people. Pass him round in a bottle born of broken bottles. ¡Salud! to the approaching lights – el autobús de las turistas.
(first published in Cottonwood)************** Hungry Love I see you eating twice cooked duck. Your fingers buckle its skin. Your tongue curls a- way the thin, dark flesh, returns to the pile on the tray, to kiss the juices, giving each fragile bone its gentle, final suck. My hungry love.
(first published in George & Mertie’s Place)************** The Wait Days draw out like hot glass without end. Time waits action and night birds cry no peace. I trickle around buildings wincing before the light, or, shadow in the night, I haunt dark streets beneath the moon-clock sky. Organic time salamanders over the earth in me, while eyes flick out against dead buildings and all about stupid traffic lights blink incomprehension.
(first published in Cottonwood Review)************** Animals Hunting In the supermarket animals are hunting for eggs. They are digging out potatoes and fondling ripe melons. Young pairs graze together down aisles. An old female is poking the buns while young hunters bring in peaches and pile them in bins. Animals carry food to the counter. After sniffing and other rituals, they pass and hurry to dens with broccoli and beef hearts.
(first published in Kansas Quarterly)************** Wasp I saw a wasp on the window glass today – a cold, wet, uncomfortable day. The wasp hung unmoving in the cold, waiting for the sun to heat its blood. Snappy yellow legs, its body striped with black, glass-drawn and fresh but silent as an empty circus. It did at times begin to clean itself, look active, come to life. Yet it did not fly. Again it spread its legs upon the glass.
(first published in Cottonwood Review)