Another Language

In spring when the names of flowers
………………..evaporate,

………………..we are left with only color, shape
………………..and bouquet.

This is the perfect
………………..time to kiss

………………..someone who speaks
………………..another language.

I call my mouth a “monkey cage.”
………………..I’ve suffered

………………..a little stroke.

It matters not.
………………..The cottony insides of words
………………..have taken to the wind.

 

 

School of Dance

Crestfallen in spite of the best
………………..upbringings and hairdos,
………………..we fell

………………..as flat as the painted shoes
………………..on Arthur Murray’s floor.

We smoked Lucky Strikes
………………..behind the squared hedges,
………………..and the orchestra,

………………..distorted by distance and muffled
………………..by the ballroom’s walls,

………………..called to us
………………..as if through a dream’s impossible telephone.

Most of us knew how to do it.

But the little stuff made us nervous:
………………..The crepe paper.
………………..The time of year.
………………..Her father’s Dodge
………………..Diplomat Sedan.

………………..The wrist corsage
………………..that invited bees

………………..in the window sash
………………..back from the dead.

Prelude to a shotgun wedding.
………………..None of us had any say in this.

 

Halloween

The witch’s cute nose
………………..itches under her ugly one.

Only one of the skeleton’s bones
………………..glows in the dark.

The ghost can’t see though its eye holes,
………………..this world and the afterlife
………………..never quite lining up.

This is the night the dead
………………..relive life’s annoyances.

They drag their sleeves through the punchbowl,

………………..reacquaint themselves with broken
………………..straps and safety pins.

Romeo and Juliet will never make it
………………..on time.

………………..She’s forgotten
………………..how to paint her face
………………..for this world.

Everything he says
………………..to hurry her from her vanity

………………..is pecked from his mouth
………………..by vultures.

………………..Every tender feeling
………………..they once had for each other

………………..presses against the window
………………..like a mixed-up zombie.

 

 

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Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has a new chapbook titled Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) and two more scheduled for 2015: In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.