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Five Poems...

Poetry of the Bosom


The toughest guy in Hollywood never

understood the poetry of the bosom.

Not only for decoration clothed

in metallic lingerie, but

girls skipping through the park

emerge middle-aged   

holding hands with children of their own

dressed still in white, blind skin thinner

than a Bible story written on papyrus,

perceptionless to the fruits of wisdom

carried red-tipped all their lives.


She said, Mother I am stupid to not fully

know the poetics of breasts.


Theory is

to explain the poetry of the bosom.

How does one articulate such

genetics spread out in space like

dust circling a star?


Such art is not an imprecise Hollywood

imitation, but a philosophy, a mystery


by the names of countless maiden,

mother, crone, strewn behind like pearls

circling the sea.


And so she comes to dream herself the 

possessor of the erotic, the birthed, the unknown,

possessed by the wind
weaving her veins,

cradling her tongue, 

fueling her parted thighs with

the perfumed scent of what cannot be named.


Then she muses

until I find a name
I will not write on my skin

the poetry of the bosom, nor record in the

soul calculator, for

it is known that a man speaks unaware of the
erotic life

not understanding the negative space

married to the positive.


How then should the poetry of the bosom be spoken?

As round, wet stones skimmed in moss

As a perfect Platonic archetype

cradled in Abraham’s bosom?

None suffice, all buried and unfathomable as

the Titanic rusting in sea-mud.


All must see things as they were
for the first time, even the wild once

young man for that is where the piercing



Women wonder as best they

can, walking clothed in bare white,

each step carving out one image after



Burning Inventory


The morning was imperfect, so

I made an inventory of things better


in an attempt to


ameliorate the deterioration

the way that Germany has

erased Berlin after 1945.


I would know the syntax & moods

of another language so that I

might unlearn yours

written now in firefly sparks

inked on a burning log.


Your face, in different seasons,

mask made of bronze & bone.

Your tongue, your words,

malicious dirty garments worn too long

as were your ideas of the eternal.


Still, the sparks from the fireplace log

remind me of you.

When I have eaten, how do I digest you?


The delineated districts vanished behind

like static poured down screens, just

as indecipherable.


Fiercest agonies have shortest reign

quiet and remote.

The sound of falling, falling

away from you, a psychotic karmic flow,

full to over feasting on unmitigated trials &



You have blown my life like

dirty glass in the manner of old black &

white movies.


I have been witness to the terrible

scales descending without justice,

just clever forensics.


This hot lingering infests

like a lost boat hunting the mother

harbor, no clearer than the

fate of lipstick stained styrofoam cups

cast aside like the litter of immortal



The Greeks imagined their mindbuilt

eternals without halos, but even there

what is immortal unforgiveness like?


I was entranced by a burning inferior to yours.

Disintegrate in peace like the worm-limed

statues of those same gods.


None of the battles made history.

Your poisonous mouth months of

bitter corroded night.


Free of one another--

the fire burning inside, take inventory, no

longer crackles & pops.






42 years since we left high school.

Charlie Brown & Lucy moved in

color through a black & white world.

None of us are the same.


We have lived through a controlled 

cloaked chaos

all bruised by god or something else

We would be one with something, know

not what it is.


As synaptic memories

they manifest one by one

from the darkness: a few friends,

some with historical 


names: Andy Griffith, bumbled

Barney, John Wayne & Sophia Loren,

others that are not recognized.


As we reflect & pray & meditate

on their brutal deaths we like they

are human mirages

burned candle wicks.


Our original harmony must be somewhere:

in space, an island, ourselves

played by fingers on the keyboard

a misted million particles


untouchable like those girls

in the hallway ears rung by

a bell signaling classroom change,

heads full now by the ghosted years &


all the boys & men & children

in between.

Immortality must be somewhere

engaged in an eternal war while we


move as movie actors mouthing forgotten


or acting in one, 

dependent upon a script to show us the way.


Hungry Enough by Christmas


My buddy quit his teaching job,

took to making designer knives

that he sold to chefs and on the



On the side he became a record

producer for local metal bands.

Hit the mosh pit with all the other

Dionysian crazies. Drank his fill

free & snorted coke off stripper’s



What a life, he said to me, better

than an adjunct’s pay. Don’t even

have to pay the devil coz the devil

pay me & if I 

ain’t hungry enough by Christmas

I’ll just eat the tree.



That’s what the babbling people

tried to do—scrape the sky or at

least finger the firmament by

a mud ziggurat flung towering

up as a testament to god.


The same hubris exhibited by

any city skyscraper thrown up

as a bronze age surrogate festooned

with every arcane communication

paraphilia imaginable—all

gilded little godears to power &

money—from a global perspective,

of course.


Cities are as unnatural as a sharia

beheading, buildings crowded together

like blackened finger stumps that

turn men just as black.


But hey man, it’s the place to be.

Where you can get anything for

a price, any price—just call it a

phantasmagorical playground

waiting to suck you in like a

squid on a fish—


like a dry beach, Clorox in the

shower. Wash up



Bio: Ralph Monday is Professor of English at RSCC in Harriman, TN. Hundreds of poems published. Books: All American Girl and Other Poems, 2014. Empty Houses and American Renditions, 2015. Narcissus the Sorcerer, 2015. Bergman’s Island & Other Poems, 2021, and a humanities text, 2018. Twitter @RalphMonday Poets&Writers

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