Robert Beveridge - "Dennis", "Hated" and "Sign Language"

"Dennis"

 

He sits

at the table

always in the darkest

corner of the bar

and writes his rhymes

of wilted flowers

yesterday's loves

and yesterday's wars

 

if you buy him a drink

he'll tell you about his ex-wife

and the way

she robbed him blind

 

he always speaks

in a monotone

hypnotized

by his past

 

"Hated"

 

Blood freezes turns to ice

another spikearmed stiff

throwing beerbottles at whores

 

on Colfax Ave. In the back

of the van, the Murder Junkies

stare at the monkeyshit

brown Econoline walls

and laugh, laugh, laugh.

 

Allin is lying dead

and no one showed up at the viewing.

 

One more epic poem down the tubes—

crush the paper, miss the three-point toss

into the trashcan across the room.

 

Maybe we should have inquired about the boy.

Maybe—

 

but he,

balding, goateed, tattooed messiah of the industrial revolution

is lying in a box

in Potter's field.

 

* * *

 

50 arrests,

broke parole to tour one last time.

Spew poetry and piss

at one more crowd

in their hundred-dollar Docs

 

always said

when you went out

 

you wanted to take

as many with you as possible

blow up the fuckin' stage

and show these jerks what punk really means.

 

Live until you've done everything then take yourself out.

 

But no.

Instead you got found

with a needle in your arm

pasty white only color

the vomit

coating your body and the floor

around you.

 

Where's the punk now?

 

Those fans who wished

for onstage death at your hands

are left to rot.

 

But maybe that overdose was your last joke.

Promise the disciples

you'll take them to hell to serve

at your sadist's hand

and then let them fend for themselves.

 

* * *

 

I have cancelled your invitation to the last rondezvous.

I have suffocated the passersby.

I have ripped your poems and correspondence from solitary into shreds

and missed with them, too.

 

Nothing left to do

but stare at these pristine white solitary walls

and laugh, laugh, laugh.

 

"Sign Language"

 

Your words this morning, husky

through the wire: “I'm in bed,

naked,

with four big, fluffy pillows.”

Not just final strains

of bronchitis scouring

your voice. More. Wanting

me to hear, perhaps, the slow

caress of fingers through hair,

the tightening

of your knuckles, hand

gripping telephone.

I wanted you

to hear the blood

in my temples,

pulse beating

overstuffed pillows.

Weighing those words

I love you

finding them too heavy.

Your fingers already knew.

 

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Chiron Review, Lunaris Review, and Pink Litter, among others.