The Milky Way

On a flight to the coast

see that we took it down to decorate the earth

see that the ground is darker than space now

the sky choked pink by city lights

towns huddled like stars on the ceiling

as the casual crunch ice with their teeth and doze

Won’t you live in this dead zone

with its peace stretched over your mouth

with its flowers that smell like loamy sperm

we're a shower of truck lights harping the trees

street lights brighten and dim

around every corner there’s a car to blind you

You can choose which mix to play at your funeral

feed the world your name one data field at a time

flash your best Duchenne for the ladies:

I'm a passionate man

I don't take life too seriously

I enjoy the simple things like stargazing

But who's gonna notice when the big dipper's gone

sold to a guy who makes pots with his hands

who strums on a wooden guitar

who frowns

who walks a telescope out to a soccer field

to see Jupiter in the annoying dew.

Down The Mine

Tones of ice falling in a glass

motorized scrapes of a serrated blade quartering limes

grind of acidic juice pushing through the slats in your shaker

These gestures are lost with the measured shakes

citrus flowing through your fingerprints

counting--one, two, three-and-a-half shots of what liquefied grain:

barley, wheat or rye barrelled into life

by the trademarked rituals of evicted monks

None of it matters once I’ve slid over a few bills

not the ores in the knife, nor the burnt coal in each ice cube

not the Persians picking limes, nor your wet knuckles

wrapped around my drinks

rubbing up against a cloth

I swallow these chopped phrases and sink

nodding to a bar-house anthem

dancing my hips toward some scenic overlook

perched on you, thankful

for whatever ghost’s work gave me this wild or sluggish fever.


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Allison Scarpulla

two poems by Michael Camden

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