Inscape    number 25 in the 2River Chapbook Series January 2019

Victor Hall

The Bitches Can Have Him (with lines from Mark Strand)

Nothing moves,
only the boards of the porch
beneath my feet.
The short coat I wear
over my bare skin
is enough to ward off
the night’s damp cold,
But not to shelter me
from the chill in my spine.
He’s a dog. Out all night,
drinking from toilets;
sniffing butts and chasing tails.
He chased mine back when.
But familiarity breeds contempt.
Now he strays when I’m “asleep.”
Familiar, contemptible breed.
Do I put him out?
I’ve seen what divorce does to people.
I want revenge. It is morning.
He comes up the walk
and knocks at the door.
I rush to greet him.
He hears me. Or some sense
makes him back down.
He rounds the house
to the back door. I tiptoe.

It’s locked. The chain is on.
The dog door. Appropriate.
Does he dare? The flap cants inward.
He noses in. I pounce.
My nails rake his face.
He howls. And flees. I purr.
Humph! Piss in my litter box!

A How-To Poem, or How to Poem

Pick a random subject.
Any one will do,
Describe it,
detailing its diverse facets;
as many as you can wring out.
Inflate each element
to mammoth proportions.
Worlds within worlds.
Talk is cheap,
but a poet ought not to be:
men of few words perish, not publish.
Shakespeare’s first form
of Romeo and Juliet
was a haiku about a hangnail.
Applying blunt-force thesaurusorcery, cudgel every expression into
substitute pleonasms. Multifariously so.
References esoteric? obscure? archaic?
all mother’s milk
and honey in a poet’s pen.
Perform an -ectomy
on any thematic cohesion
at risk of misleading a reader to meaning.
Be open-minded:
workshop an “early draft” 
before a jury of poet peers.
  It’s already finished; no poet cedes to
refraining from disdaining to retraining
his voice to harmonize with others’.
Bask in obligatory praise.
Daydream during kind advice.
Snub, and plot revenge for, every criticism.

Figuring Things Out

  1. Hearing the jury’s verdict made her heart sink like the boat anchor she’d tied to her ex-husband.
  2. Her orgasm was like the moon landing to a conspiracy theorist – and he could tell, so he bailed out like a bucket of seawater from a leaky boat.
  3. “You don’t hear as often about mixed similes,” said the English professor, easily fielding the tenure board’s questions like slow grounders homing in on his baseball glove like housecats hearing a can opener.
  4. Crafting a simile is like your girlfriend’s bra: you have confidence going in that you know how it works, but actually pulling it off is tricky.
  5. As he stood in her bedroom, his exposed penis an invitation printed in rapidly fading ink on the wrinkled stationery of the pretense of her actual invitation to her place, he felt the knee of her laughter in the nuts of his self-esteem.
  6. Metaphors are my bitch!

Victor G. Hall, a New Mexico native, was Editor-in-Chief of Abecedarian Chrysalis, his high school’s poetry anthology; a columnist and features editor of Round Up, his university’s newspaper; and Managing Editor of Echo, his university’s monthly magazine. His poetry, jokes, and academic articles have appeared in various publications. He says he was pleased to discover he can turn anything into a poem just by hitting ‘enter’ a lot.

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