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Late Dinner w/ Clowns

by Christopher Carosi


for M. & J.

 

3 kinds of people—

1 that laughs with you

1 that laughs at you

1 that does not know you

 

I know you wonder what

that goes to—you are my friends at

round tables, powdered faces

sweating fingers

 

red noses, rainbow wigs pinned onto a hairnet

cigarette smell

stain melted into nylon strands

 

taped wrists under ruffled cuffs,

caked pits, cotton undergarments,

spitshine watch, curvature of chin

 

4 suits, 4 absurdities:

spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds:

death, love, reputation and riches

 

mistaken for an evil man molesting children

mistaken for cartoon man disappear behind the curtain

 

I know you, Mr. ____, by the dwindling lamp

by the fireplace, holding a bulb of wine, crumbs

of cheesecake floating on your polka dot collar

 

these imperfections, this pink room vodka myth,

negligible stereo of two eyes, two ears, sockets

memory, wonder with me, you’ve been out this way?

 

the rest of you—been out this way before? blue wig,

makeup whiter than your teeth, now your steak knife

falls to the floor, jack of clubs (that’s the knave of clubs)

kicked further under the table—negligible spirits

 

cookies on the kitchenette counter

jar of raisins, pizzelles from board walk

puzzles, trapeze postcards

crowded dressing room, tiny endangered

animals, Mary on a medallion, scaly

old neck, tanned neck, bike horn, little car

painted magenta, orange, and cyan, headstands

and water tricks, blazers and glasses and huge

seltzer bottles, fake birds and lunch with

magician who looks through the face

 

bobcat tails, free samples

cereal, at least three for one

good helping of breakfast

curtains only smell when daylight leaks

I wish there was two more

of you so we could have a proper picture

we could invite

 

we think, there’s the man when the beard comes off

holding his chest out proudly like a suitcase, leather

handles, good fortune smile, chapped lips, the smell

of skunk beer and garlic and oil—from the chicken

spawned in the skillet last night, forget this shower

 

marionette strings hanging over fake marble

counter, red cape and underwear, lifestyle

pamphlets: depression, hemorrhoids, CPR

 

trapeze swinger’s scarf still holds her smell

her sickness of fine wine, red fungus ring

around the sink drain, real hair fake hair

knotted like a short dick in the rust hole

 

her breasts were so white, nickel-sized nipples

painted with practiced hand, her body

held together by the tight bonds she

balances on, her drunk

smile curves softly like her breasts

taped down and chalked with her callused hands

 

her bad breath, I imagine her tin of mints

set on her nightstand, red digital numbers

reflecting off the dull box—a tiny toy

piano jingles on the toilet top—ding

 

ting ding ting ding ting—she kisses

sloppily, her hair tucked behind her neck

her small indiscriminate hands grabbing

at pillowy crotch, moonlight can cut

through the rows of green wine bottles

standing shoulder-to-shoulder, blades

to her trailer window, what kind of love

was there, none you say and move me

the salt, she moved to Darlington

 

mistaken for a stranger after a birthday,

you were attached to the circus at a young age

—the rest of you—?—ah, there that

elephant knows how to annoy you

 

but weren’t you the clown I saw puking gin

behind the portable toilet yes, you and this one

hobo monotonous were laughing about conscription

and asking mothers if they ever had sex

in a tiny car, haha

hold their hair up, the cars are hot colorful

boxes               when I was 5 years old

I won a pizza party with a clown man who could not

have had a set of eyes behind his white and red smile

I refused to look at them

his name escapes me these deranged

cartoon smiles, orange pop, Pizza Joe or

Lemony Jack my soft shoulders inside

corduroy, my mother brought a camera

I smell sweat what does it mean mommy

get thee to a nunnery

 

where is your toe in these red shoes

no shit, here where you lost a toe

 

I fold my hand, trip’ jacks (spades hearts clubs),

the blue & white cards facing me he holds

in his fat fingers across the table, a copied illustration—

cherub on a bicycle pushing

to me through imperceptive white

filigree—its insect wings are stuck

against the flatness—all drawings

are full of tightness, back to back

paper on paper, paint your face

and break out in pimples, rosy cheeks

are you embarrassed or about

to laugh—about to laugh at me

no I don’t have any jokes, well

 

there was an Englishman, a Scotsman, and a Chinaman

there was a priest, a rabbi, and a nun

there was an Italian, a Jew, and a black guy

there was no more laughing, I stopped and turned around

in the kitchen—I had the rum in my hand and I heard

a voice leak from where they were sitting, they were

sneaking behind their smoke and snickers, and they were

too sane, wearing their makeup and their fright

frown concealed in permanent delight

 

I don’t know if it scares me anymore

drunk and entertaining no more, everyone

laughs and imagines costumes, their muscular

fingers tugging a bowtie

too tight, too tight, too tight, too tight

 

“You know I used to be an actor

then they told me to make em laugh”

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Christopher Carosi is a recent graduate of the MFA Writing program at USF. His first chapbook of poems, bright veil, was published by New Fraktur Press in 2011. He welcomes your comments on “Late Dinner w/ Clowns” at drcarosive[at]gmail.com.

photo by tallkev

IKEA BUSA Children’s Folding Tent Recall

by Daniel Romo

IKEA BUSA Children’s Folding Tent Recall
October 2011

Camping in the living room could be more dangerous than you thought. A Disney movie marathon shouldn’t conclude with stitches and a tetanus shot. The tent frame can break; exposed steel wire might stick the stomach and ribs. Lacerate lungs. IKEA is aware of three incident reports, none in the U.S. or Canada. One minor injury was reported which didn’t require medical attention. The tent has been sold since August of this year. Roughing it home furnishings style appears to be an all too appropriate tagline. For more information, please contact out toll free hotline.

 

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Daniel Romo is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte, but represents the LBC. His poetry can be found or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Los Angeles Review, MiPOesias, > kill author, and elsewhere. His first book of poetry, Romancing Gravity, is forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press. He’s currently looking for a home for a book of prose poems, and working on a top-secret project about a certain Swedish home products company. More of his writing can be found here.

photo by epSos.de

Fuck-up

by Ben Ditmars

 

 

The words aren’t right.

They never could be.

Because I’m a fuck-up.

 

It all seems insincere.

I try to back-track.

Can’t convey.

It’s all the truth;

It seems a lie.

Because I’m a fuck-up.

 

My laugh is hollow;

Echoes off your face,

Retracts, jams down my throat

To choke me as I gasp, you watch,

Considering your next move; to save,

Or let me die.  But you know the latter

Has more solace in the end for me.

Because I’m a fuck-up.

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Ben Ditmars is an alumni of Ohio State University hoping to soon pursue a Masters in Education. You can reach him at beeditty[at]gmail.com.

photo by frakokot

Loving Grace

by Dale Wisely

“Loving Grace” by Dale Wisely

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Dale Wisely founded and co-edits Right Hand Pointing and White Knuckle Press. You can reach him here.

IKEA PARODI Glass Vase Recall

by Daniel Romo

IKEA PARODI Glass Vase Recall
February 2007 – October 2007 from supplier #18347

 

The base of PARODI vase breaks for no apparent reason.  Fill it with perennial Forget-me-nots and the flowers fail to remember how to stand. Season of ornamental haphazard. Following investigation, a number of PARODI vases have been found to have too high internal stresses. The smallest scratch could lead to a sudden bloody gash. Seven customers worldwide sustained cuts and in five cases hospital treatment was required. Dimensions of danger:  70 cm (28 inches) high and weigh approximately 5 kg (11 lbs.). Base diameter is 15 cm (6 inches); top diameter is 23 cm (9 inches). PARODI vase is produced in black (art. no. 20110234), white (art. no. 50112199) and clear glass (art. no. 00079545). All glass is fragile, but this glass is temperamental, too. When returning to the nearest store, handle with extra care.

 

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Daniel Romo is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte, but represents the LBC. His poetry can be found or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Los Angeles Review, MiPOesias, > kill author, and elsewhere. His first book of poetry, Romancing Gravity, is forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press. He’s currently looking for a home for a book of prose poems, and working on a top-secret project about a certain Swedish home products company. More of his writing can be found here.

photo by liquene


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