THE CORPSE
 
A corpse sways
in a web,
where hemotoxins
and neurotoxins
deliver dreams of rotting moons
tossed like old cabbages  
into the holds
of tiny ships filled to capacity
sailing across an ocean
of blood.
 
The corpse is ancient.
 
Crickets,
embedded,
flicker magnesium.
 

 
THE STARS
 
The stars are shamans.
 
They paint arroyos
the color
of Gilas:
bruised-orange,
black,
burnt-ochre.
 
Sand
flows through
the universe's thin waist,
emerges
from
cottonwood's
three hips
shaped
like
green
mantras.
 

 
MYTH
 
The King had many opportunities
to blunder big time.
 
After all, it took a whole month
for news
to travel
anywhere,
much less
across a border.
 
That's plenty of time
to cover your tracks.
 
So, imagine
that life as a monarch
or a pharaoh
agrees with your sultry disposition.
 
But, also remember, one night when you're dreaming
about wine
and scarab-eyed women
with shaman hips,
as Federico predicted,
several large black crickets
could easily devour you
at a moment's notice.
 
And on that very night,
golden porchlight
squeezing diamonds
through patio lattice
will resemble
the fur of an ocelot.
 

 
DRIVING TO SCHOOL
 
On our neighborhood street
this fawn
faces me half a block away
then vaporizes down a drainage ditch
through misty predawn humidity.
 
As I pass by
a second fawn's slender whitetail
like a moonlit metronome
washes the drainage ditch's
wet grey concrete.
 
 

SEPTEMBER LAMENT
 
I'm trying to win the mind back,
snatching it from the jaws
of capitalist behavior.
 
Democracy was once a hungry canoe
launched upon a philosophy of indigenous dreams
and wild rivers to nourish
the body of free society.
 
But now the white gloves of industry
are the ones spewing Maserati smoke
to obscure the scalping of entire nations.
 
I'm telling you,
despite chips falling
from the torso of a marble Venus,
there's a complex web
of imagination
expanding at an alarming rate
in the crawl spaces
of our split-level lives.
 

 
AUSTRALIAN SHIRAZ
 
Fruit flies attempt to romance
this shapely brunette shiraz.
 
She's tempting.
 
But, alas, the hand of fate
waves us all away.
 
So, I huddle
below early autumn fireflies
whose exhausted lime bodies
flicker momentary myths and naïve German fables.
 
Eventually, my severe gazes
send tracers of dotted green light
through night's tin roof
dusted with glistening, cocktail lounge stars.
 
Nothing much to live for, anymore,
I suppose,
since fate has cultivated
more
than a casual infatuation
for my ruby-hipped,
bare-shouldered,
brunette shiraz.
 
 
© Alan Britt

Alan Britt's recent books: Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Poems recently in American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, Chicago/Athens/Dublin (2009) and The Bitter Oleander, Coe Review, Confrontation, English Journal, Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest Quarterly, Square Lake. Had considered changing his name officially to Colonel Angus but fears the legal fees would bury him. He lives in Reisterstown, MD, with his wife, daughter and two Bouvier des Flandres, one Bichon Friese and two formerly feral cats.