« Charles Israel Jr | Contents | Chris Martin »

Charley Foster


We stood watching the sea and

Poking fingers into pizza after

We noticed the sea

Let’s get pizza,

Somebody said

But the sea

Had a smell all its own

And contained turtles

As far as we could tell


It was awkward

Sitting there poking fingers into the sea

But sometimes the skeleton of a scorpion fish

Would dart between our fingers

And it was like we were back home

In our pajamas climbing

Out the window

To escape a fire that was

Shattering glass somewhere.


After that we were stared at

But the people were nice, really

And gave us hat racks

With cow hooves for feet

And horns on which to hang the hats,

And jars of Vaseline for the kids.

In the end it saved us a lot of time

And expense.




Popcorn pieces drift to the theater floor -

Little pacts with the devil.

Roosters scream out in the night like murdered women.

They call to one another across the night

Like murdered women calling to one another.

Popcorn cascading into a glass case

Is shoveled into paper bags and cardboard buckets.




We used to enjoy hobbies.

Sketching life-sized caricatures of motorists at the stoplight

Who stared straight ahead, uncomfortable, angry, unable to drive away.

Some exploded, leaping from their cars to chase us.

We retreated on all fours, bobbing up and down like meerkats.

You had that gun and we’d play Russian roulette into the night

Laughing so hard our sides burst open

Spilling out great piles of dusty newspapers and horsehair.

We no longer have the time or the inclination.

We’ve become like your father sending angry monologues

From his ham radio set. Scanning the road for discarded gloves and bungee-cords,

Removing our glass eyes for no other purpose than to cause upset.

Our appetite for mussing the hair of homeless men on the bus

Is no longer a part of who we are.

Who can remember when we carried cattle egrets on our backs,

Their droppings leaving long white streaks?

« Charles Israel Jr | Contents | Chris Martin »