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Alan Britt: Three Poems

Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

BILLBOARD FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Classic Kettle Chips,
can’t beat ’em,
might as well
eat ’em.

Political rhetoric,
can’t beat it,
might as well
eat it but don’t forget
to spit out
the fucking thorns—
same thorns
that created hanging chads,
same thorns
that sent airliners
into two World Trades
with PCBs obscuring the shift
to a new world order;
spit out those thorns
lest you sleepwalk
the Federal Reserve herding
us like ants herding aphids,
milking us & spinning satellites
around our primal mythologies.

Spit out the godforsaken thorns;
pretend it’s rock’n’roll or something more;
pretend it’s Jesus or one of his pseudonyms;
pretend it’s not what you thought it would be;
pretend anything, so long as you
spit out the thorns.

But without thorns, how can we ever know
“Enough or too much?” & how can we
transform our basement caves
into glorious nests lined with birds
of paradise art (some say junk), plus
the usual native vines with their gypsy
leaves blown free by freak storms,
or a plastic rose missing half its petals,
& the rest of this stuff, well, it’s the best
I can do, not an experienced bird
of paradise myself?

*

REVOLUTION

Each parrot, iguana with mascara to die
for, hummingbird by nature, especially
as she releases the satin bow allowing
her robe to unfold its swallowtail wings
baring her torso & torching asparagus
ferns meant for Blakean love but not so
much for the filthy skein left by politicians
on our tap water iced teas with bacterial wedges,
plus coffee gurgling every Starbucks rest stop
on every turnpike in every state of our
godforsaken country.

Any minute now things will look up; any
minute now the Supreme Court, 2 quarts
low, will receive a moral overhaul.

Any minute now the bi-polar bird of paradise
will deliver a gold coin, first doubloon
ever delivered by a bird of paradise & only
coin to elude explorers, hired assassins,
flotilla for the Spanish Crown; anyway,
a coin sifted beneath swirling Cuban sands
creating a revolution no one expected, not
even astrophysicists, telescopes vapor-locked,
semi-locked, & not so locked on chunks
of rock somewhere between the universal
walls of imagination, albeit smaller than
previously thought, perhaps, but some just
about the size of planet earth.

*

PLUS THE ONE BEFORE THAT

(El sombrero de tres picos)
~Manuel de Falla

Before a trumpet like a cobra haunted
one’s dreams on coarse cotton blessing
the universe with bedbug induced nightmares,
crumbs from the previous millennia
& hope velcroed inside portfolios
begging for a raise.

Eventually we entered the garden of Spain;
it was night; I’m certain; the piano
was made of jasmine, gardenias & wild roses;
she entered; I bowed, & the entire string
section fell into the most heart
wrenching see-saw
between love & despair,
between wine stains
on a stork’s wing,
beak earthbound, plummeting
at speeds our ancestors never dreamed of,
speeds our great grandchildren
might never dream of, either;
somewhere between paradox & smallpox,
but a marble clicking first a mauve snake-eye
then a blueyellow
strapless beauty near the center
of the circle,
somewhere between there
& violins flowing like lace curtains.

***

Buy Optical Illusions by Alan Britt

Book (front) cover of Optical Illusions by Alan Britt

Photo credit: Sorina Susnea

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