Monday, November 8, 2010


For Mark Hartenbach

Addresses scrawled by a stranger's pen,
such mysteries held in manila envelopes
makes one wonder where it will take them,
unsure if glued lip and taped seal
should risk being broken.

Both sit on the table like orphans
hunched on concrete stairs
of an ancient church, pleading
with moon-eye saucers,
heartbeats whisper at a gaze,
the thought of liberation
from this place, faintly possible.

Dry fingers turn the golden paper,
avoiding well plastered edges,
peels the bottom slowly. The fresh book
sits in hand glossy-cold from winter metal.
Her name inscribed inside the cover
appears alien and incomplete.

She is anxious and wary,
begins feeding lines to her head--
none making sense twisting sideways
and upright from crisp ink. They
always start this way, fractured
jagged. She returns for more, same results.

Her feet stir beneath her, inching
to repeat failed attempts once more;
only aloud does it all meld, these manic
stricken lines, these cold pressed moments
of cynical silence and echoed ego.

The cat follows paces behind,
sits when she halts, wants to give
her his downy white belly in submission,
but looks on with caution at her lips
moving, persistent to capture rhythm.
He waits for the turn of the page,
waits for her stillness, if it comes.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

If under other circumstances we meet again

for Brad Burjan

Life is a helix, which we never grasp,
but strangely trace in the air with fingertips;
nails bitten to the quick unconsciously.

We run its track faithful
of some ending to strung out nights
and reclusive days, the tread of our soles
worn thinner in successive heel-toe combinations.

The crossing over from eight to infinity is nothing greater
than an angle of loops moved to reclining
on the divan; inhibitions release like smoke,
one mad eye watching our endless struggle
in paralyzed freedom.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Publishes by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea)

Between Wales and NY, a conversation

For David E. Oprava

for time and god
to show me,
it is all the same
in the end.

Here, without regret,
man quietly steals
all the words
from my mouth.

Sweet morsels lifted,
tip of tongue
emptied onto a passing
universe, deconstructed.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Dies Illa

(after Tammy Foster Brewer)

Yes, I was HER—
that girl stuffed into a mold
too small, her mind convinced
her expanse greater than the plains.

          I lived a double life (life). The secret
          second binging on food with room lock latched.
          The contraband of my desire slowly rotting
          the bed .

It would go down easy at first,
a slow trickle and burn like a first kiss
that turns to bite you bloody in the end; I’d
force it in then, damage done, to bury it into
a stomach s t r e t c h e d to limit. The void
still gapping in the dusk of teenage summers.

                            There I am naked with the mirror
                            my enemy; shadows mock flesh and curve.

           Mouth full.
           Tears avenge cheeks
           with hate
           found in every inch of reflection.

           Breasts uneven (imperfect)
           Arms doughy (imperfect)
          Waist full and hips thick (imperfect)
           Legs less than feminine (imperfect)

I am unrecognizable.
There are several shades of disgust
gathering on my tongue, none of which would stand
up for me if called upon. They’d laugh outside
courtroom doors, snide and perfectly jaded, feeding
the illusion of perfect to me one dainty morsel at a time.

When it is all swallowed (soul and all)
and the Lacrimosa is on its final string,
I cover up my discretions and pretend to be normal.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My mother always warned me

For Mark Hartenbach


You are a secret
kept under a shell,
the magician’s three-card
folly giving everything, but nothing;
marks on the page as close as one will ever get.


Your body poses a calculated confidence,
more intellect driven than ego ridden,
but my mother always warned me,
the bigger the bark, the smaller the man.


You reek of ebb and flow,
a stream of consciousness
making jagged ripples in the lake’s glass,
only reaching dry land once in several moons,
a solitary boatman without oars,
cynicism and defense easy on the tongue.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Bathymetric (Building a Tsunami)

For Dan

Hot water illuminates invisible
markings on my rib bones
left by the grip of your hands.

There is a faint outline of your lips
on the pink swell of my breast
and a silver-shadowed trail as your tongue
leads you to worlds unknown.

It is the heat that raises the memory,
my arms taut behind me, gripping thighs
as if my life depends upon it; hips thrusting
forward and hair disheveled while you
elevate me in soft flickering light.

It is the heat that sews the sound of your voice
into my skin in the darkness of these nights.
We connect like tender filaments in thin glass,
joined tentatively, transferring arced energy.

We've become inventors and explorers
sailing in the ocean of uncertainty, words
you know so much about, and each
with sights set on lands and time of snow

where the imprints of our bodies
make angels in the powder and the drawback
no less impressive when glaciers fall into warm seas.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Pariaman, no more

For Sumatra

The mosque’s minaret
has succumbed to the earth
as she swallows whole
villages in her muddy mouth.

A great underground
t h u n d e r erupts cascades
of rock and thick mud,
envelops a wedding party

at the foothills of the bride’s
childhood home. Her most
precious union sealed in darkness,
her unborn children, myths once again.

Those that still roam find
hands petrified up from the land
like human plants searching
for sun. The dead are carved

from clay by villagers, culled
today only to be replaced
from whence they came
with a prayer for the sending.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

The place we connect with the earth

I sit fascinated by the tenderness
in his voice as he speaks, imbibing
the curve of a woman's foot
with languid fantasy.

                         the arch is ivory silk
                         with feathered creases
                         to be lost in

His language a confabulation of hushed
words that lick all the angles turned
by her heel hanging over the bed's edge;
his smile overwhelms me.

                         heart strings plucked
                         with the simple curl
                         of her painted pink toes

Pleasure hangs on his lips like an epoch,
hands caress the solid air as if her foot
existed beneath his delicate fingers, as if
he could smell the jasmine lotion on her skin.

                          I slide my striped sock
                          over ankle, toe and heel.
                          I want him to tell my soul

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

White Noise

What does one do when haunted
by the white noise of your body?
Long hours alone with riffled papers,
fingers tapping lightly on the desk,
a heaved sigh at banality and its
mere existence in the world.

Each sound laden with its own emotional
consequence and reference that is not
easily distilled; the process
of evaporation requiring more heat
than this chill will consent to.

The whisper the pencil makes
moving dutifully across the page
is an act of love; it captures
the abstract notion in amber
to be discovered in a farther place
and time, but not here, not now,

and all that is spoken about luck
boils down to how far your heart
is willing to open and for how long.
There is no luck in love, only change
and discovery and rekindled fires.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09


Skylight angled at forty-five
degrees, restless moon
haunting the rims of wood
sparkling off kitchen steel
and everyday glass,
awaiting a simple gesture.


and closes to something
magical and romantic, a ripe
Pandora's box without
the stardust and chaos,
but with leaned words
laced in fragrant pollens.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

Dan tian

The old Chinese woman
does Qigong on the sidewalk
that slopes downward
like a gentle rolling hill.
She is a graceful crane
with a shock of white hair
and face stolid in morning light.

I stand by the mailbox
listening to the voice from her radio
give instruction in Mandarin
between the crackles of airwave
silence. There was a time
when my feet were planted
in grass, unwavering and calm.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

Chasing Tales

I have found many four-leaf clovers
on the banks of this dyke.
The creek never rises high enough
to prove its worth, and maybe,
we are lucky for that; this land
was once burdened with floods.

It is hard to think here, as if nature
won’t allow it amidst water tumbling
over rocks; the sounds of fall crickets;
birds calling out for saving. Monarchs
and Paper Whites dance against

this unusually blue day while ruby
dragonflies hum like ghosts. But the city
is not too far off, its sounds ply
into this bubble I have built around me—
enough to distract me; I think of how sad
your voice was on the phone, solitary and distant.

You reassure me it is not the state of us,
only life in general. Your head full of reasoning—
trying to sort your place in the world,
running ragged in a circle as only philosophy can do.
I tell you we might never really know why.

You say it must be out there somewhere.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Red Fez, Small Press Editors Edition

My Town

My town has given up
on God and Love,
in that order.

The shelves at the thrift
store are filled with lost
                               affection, lost inspiration.

Their pockets fill deep
with trinkets and baubles
worn with the age of many owners
and they believe it will mask

despair in the face of a failing
community. We covet false
promises like gold in my town.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published in Alligator Stew (print) 12/09

The Folk House


Rusted bars creak when your right hand pushes open the gate,
your other, warm and firm in the valley of my back; a gentleman
of the first degree. The gesture at once quickens my heart.

We laugh nervously in the long, dark corridor with its catacomb
silence, and my clicking heels on the Spanish tile ring loud.
The walls rough beneath my fingers, an earthen Braille,
its beauty only grasped in this temporary blindness.

The tunnel opens easily into a courtyard, wooden trellis crowned
and dripping with wisteria, the color reminds me of the lilac still in my hair,
plucked deviously from a stranger's tree, when you said you'd never smelled it.


I listen to the lilt of your voice making small talk, letting you go on,
knowing very well that you hate it, but you sense it will draw me out into this night;
this first mingling in the world without being caught inside the box.

We smoke, inhaling deep the clouded sky heavy with complaint,
the flower’s mixed perfumes, the chatter of friends, and the lingering smell
of our excitement, still fresh on the skin. I look up as the first drops descend,

the stars distant memories tonight; my life changes with each breath,
so fast I am spinning, and then all is quiet: your voice, the city, the people,
and I catch you watching me, smile spreading like a disease.


You let me hold your hand beneath the table, the room lit
with white Christmas strands around the makeshift stage
and the whisper of coup de foudre taking my breath by surprise.

Closer, fire dances in votives by way of ghosts let in
through the high window, making kaleidoscope women behind
the soft brown bottles of Weston's, sweating rings onto the tabletop,
as the singer's voice shocks the air around us all.

We are captured in the church of his piano,
his voice the heaven we can't bring ourselves to believe exists,
and when he reaches the pinnacle, there is silence.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Writer's Bloc, Issue 6, 12/09

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Quiet Learning Curve by Aleathia Drehmer and Dan Provost

Aleathia Drehmer and Dan Provost’s shared collection of poetry called “A Quiet Learning Curve” published by Rank Stranger Press is now available to order. This book is 48 pages of poetry that dips into each person’s quiet moments of thinking and astute observations of the world. It is sometimes somber and then funny, contemplative and silently optimistic.

The book is perfect bound and costs $10. Shipping in the USA is $2 and shipping for most international destinations is $4. Ordering information is as follows:

To order a book from Aleathia Drehmer—

Send $10 plus shipping as well concealed cash, check, or money order to:

Aleathia Drehmer
PO Box 282
Painted Post, NY 14870

or for Pay Pal go to “send money” and use the email (please be sure to include a shipping address and the word “curve”)

To order a book from Dan Provost—

Send $10 plus shipping as well concealed cash, check, or money order to:

Dan Provost
14 Watson Ave
Worcester, MA 01606

(PayPal account information available upon request)

Thank you for your interest and your support.


Aleathia Drehmer and Dan Provost

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The sky is rains starlings
in maize flecks and iridescent
ebony cascade with wings s p a n n e d and diving
from verdant rectangles, hinged on steel arms.

Signs mislead us, driving into
twilighted spring winds
feeling devoured
like fat worms after rains, flesh
and grit pierced with golden barbs, easily.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

It is only one pebble tossed


For Amelia

The matriarch died in a flooding
of the world; she ruled
hearts and faces into

molded the consciousness of children
in her disappointment,
fixed tears under shy smiles
with the smell from her blouse
as they buried faces
into it.

A child calls out, “I
can’t breathe” and we know
the psalm of her heart washes over
engorged banks of rivers,
night merging
lost dreams of others,

collecting its own story on the journey.
and again into the torrents
of blackness,
fireflies light the way
over muddy waters.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thinking of Sea Trees at Sunset

Small white pills
trick the body out of her fertility--
give her false impressions
of eggs growing life,
cells dividing from the combination
of double helix DNA
swimming in the heat of her core.

Breasts swell forming a mother's cleft,
the weight of them
an implication to nourish;
muscles relax through the hips
anticipating the burden of travel
from one world to another.

And sleep covets her entirely
to protect them both from transformation,
building bones and lashes and teeth;
fingers sprouting like blades of grass;
heart beating as if a hiccup,
no more than a flutter beneath the skin.

Then the last pill, small and blue,
laughs heartily at this joke of creation,
the simplistic human need to populate,
and undergo masterpieces
of flesh and magic.

in the gravity of death,
held firm in its change,
and what's left is a river of vermilion
between supple thighs.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

Lost Identity (after Paul Blackburn)

We get windfalls of strength
that prove to be more
than money and fame.

Time spent choosing braided ropes
of morality and conviction,
                                the core
that holds a personality erect

wears thinner with age,
morphs into a larger
loved ones rarely understand.

Pride is on the line and vulnerable,
so thin and trepidacious-ly
that we don’t know how it will ever recover.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

By the Tail

She is the definition
of a situation gone wrong—
body filled with sleeping pills,
Morphine and Motrin, enough
to stop organs in their tracks;
arms laden with horse
on a late night death ride
into the blackest sky she’d ever see.

30 minutes down, rocking
in the arms of Grim, kissed
by his poisonous tongue when she
sees the pin-prick lights cascading
into beaming fluorescent floods.
Faces around her bleed awe
at what they have returned,
an unwilling body and a brain
left to a fate worse than death,
worse than the life she was leaving.

Time steals sinew and fat
until she is little more than the living
dead with pinched blue eyes
perpetually angry and frightened,
teeth gnashing involuntarily, limbs
contracted like bird wings.

She is alive in a wasting body,
a prisoner of her own design,
and I want to take her picture
to show my daughter what happens
when the devil has you by the tail;
when you think you are invincible,
only to realize there is no such thing.
There is only luck, and luck run dry.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

A letter to a real friend


For Lynn

It is hard to take the truth
delivered at point blank range
like a bullet ripping through
even harder to hold back defenses
boiling beneath the surface,
sharp-toothed and hungry.

My disappointment,
in self-pity on the end of her blunt
                                      d sword,
lets me know I have spent too long
in the land of the deaf with all that ego
stuffed between my ears, that above all else,
I stopped listening and therefore stopped learning.

it is hard to take the truth.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09


Morning found me
in a round of alarms
each softer than the last
with gray

light through window-
pain, cloud trails white
as jasmine petals
tucked behind

ear and smile. Form
rising; flesh warmed in
cotton given no hope
             of imitating
                  previous nor
                            the future.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Counterexample Poetics 12/09

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Machine

Punja looked over the well-browned backs of his fellow workers. The processes of their spines made them look like great tortoises shined with human oil and sweat. The bodies of the men moved with an un-discussed synchronicity as hundreds of pick axes connected to stone simultaneously. It was a thunderous sound at first that made Punja’s ears feel as if they might bleed, but over time—day after day after day—it became a heartbeat that drove each of them without knowing it. Arms swung over their heads in unison, arms vibrated with the contact, palms stung with pain until they were numb, and they all inhaled like a great solar wind before beginning again.

Each of them had committed some crime against the ruling power; some could not muster living a mendacious life style that supported the rich few and drown the masses in unequal rights and poverty. They could not live in that place and pray to their gods feeling clean. Punja had abjured the government and now he was in this labor camp, most likely until he died, just like the rest of them.

He thought about knowledge as he swung his axe. He thought about its power to unleash fear in those who lacked it. He thought of the uprising that could take place if everyone were allowed an education, and how that would never happen. The government knew the ignorant and hungry and poor were easily manipulated by the fear of losing what little they already had.

Punja had spoke on the dirty, crowded street corners of the city about these things. He talked and shouted until his voice was no more than a harsh, inaudible breath. He now missed those moments when his people moved like a swarm of bees in the hive crawling all over each other, the low buzz of their movements, the smell of curry and cardamom and tea, and the children’s laughter despite their empty bellies; these instances when the universe lifted him out of his body to look at it all from above—to show him the subjects of his life’s mission.

He remembered these moments like a sylph passing by electrifying his every nerve. He remembered them as his back ached, as his arms burned, and his head pounded from dehydration.

He was lost now in the last conversation he had ever had with another. A young girl had heard him yelling on the street and tugged on his dust covered pants. He stopped mid sentence and looked down at her. She was drowning in a sea of legs as they passed by, so he bent closer to hear her tiny voice. She asked him what it all meant, all his words of education and knowledge. Punja squatted on his heels in silence, really thinking of the best thing he could leave her, something she could understand.

She waited with eyes wide, lips parted showing her fragile teeth, and gently placed her tiny hand upon his cheek as his head hung there in contemplation. He slowly raised his head and opened his eyes, heart more full than it had ever been as he sifted a great lesson from the Talmud out of his brain that he had once read. He told the young girl—“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.”

The girl smiled at him and nodded, but did not say anything. She put her hands together in front of her heart and bowed slightly backing into the wave of pedestrians until she was carried away by its undulation. Punja sat on his haunches for a long time tasting that truth. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested and sentenced without trial. Now, he was part of the masses again, part of the fearful, part of the voiceless sea, and he felt empty and hopeless.

Punja stood up right then breaking the smooth machine, removing the sound of his axe from the song of the laborers. He heard shouts from the overseer, but he did not move. Punja stood there as they whipped him; stood there as his back trickled blood rivers; stood there while pain transmuted to elation; stood there as the machine stopped all together and the only sounds that could be heard were the leather against his skin and his voice crying—“Grow, grow.”

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Eclectic Flash, Print Anthology 1


She glowed in the pale light
of nothing. Her hand attached
to darkness and in the abyss
in front of her was Malik.

His skin was darker than nothing
and her hand laced in his
made her feel like a ghost.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Right Hand Pointing Issue 29

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The world will not note what we say

For Dylan

I have strangeness tattooed
across my Gettysburg address.

I have a proclamation
that needs emancipation.

I have slavery hidden
under my eyelids.

I have an underground railroad
running through my brain.

I have bums swaying
from the rod of my existence.

I have a jagged soul hooked
on the meanderings of a hobo-nation.

I have wandered into a field
of sleep where I never rest.

I have been arrested
for possession of a heart too big.

I have been told the devil
has eleven points against me.

I have taken that which makes me small.

I have in my pocket that which makes me tall.

I have under a black hat
a fear of a black cat.

I have strangeness tattooed
across my Gettysburg address.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Hobo Camp Review, Fall Issue 2009

Year One

You dragged the mattress into the living room,
citing how insomnia has crept into every Sunday
of your life and how white noise somehow
soothes the beasts in your head
to rest, just enough to sleep.

At first I felt internally resistant, struggling
with lights flashing in pixilated repetition
around the dark room, each sound
from the television a knife
running along my nerves.

I felt your body crawl over mine, listened as you
placed “We Were Soldiers” into the tray of the player,
and then settle down beside me again.
I lay there still resisting the noise,
but as it continued, I softened.

We watched the first major conflict in the Vietnam war
and sorrow rolled down my cheeks silently
as young men took their deaths so afraid
and unsure, knowing this was once my father
in Vietnam and your father in Korea.

So there we lay on our anniversary, bodies locked
together in something deeper than we could
have imagined a year ago, I could have never
been born pounded through me as you
wiped tears and allowed my heart

to break, understanding
the repercussions
of war torn

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Burning Shore Review 11/09

Spaghetti for Dinner


“God damn it Bean, what the fucking hell is your problem?” Jed yelled as Bean lunged at him, both of her clenched fists raised in his face, covered in rich earth with bundles of thyme gripped in her hands. The smell of it made him hungry despite the savage look in her eyes and he almost asked her if she were going to make tomato sauce tonight, but thought better of it.

“I am going to kill you Jed. Gut you like a god damned pig on the altar. Do you hear me? Do you have that registered in your thick good for nothing skull?”

Jed backed up from Bean as she advanced on him. He had no idea why she was frothing at the mouth and waving Italian herbs in his face, but he could tell she was adamant about something. She had a ripe old bee in her bonnet.

Bean moved closer and closer and she could feel her own heart beating out of her chest in rage. That flea bag dog of his had dug up her herb garden again and shit all over her sage. She had had enough of it. She had warned him time and again and she couldn’t take no more. Bean could feel her hair plastered to her forehead, could feel the flush in her cheeks like hot slaps to the face. She hurled the thyme at him from across the room.

“Your bastard dog has done it again Jed. Where is he? I am going to skin him alive and leave his still shaking carcass on the seat of your precious pick-up!!”

Jed, not knowing what else he could do but get out of dodge, ran up the stairs and hid in one of the bedrooms. This was a cowardly thing to do, he thought to himself, but when Bean got this mad there was nothing else you could do but disappear and hope she settled back into sanity. But this time, his cowardice enraged her even more. He could hear her heavy footfalls on the stairs coming after him.

Bean started opening doors in the upstairs looking for the lame husband she continued to carry around her neck like a millstone. The first room was empty and dark, and she listened for the sound of his breathing in the absence of light. When she was satisfied Jed wasn’t in there, she closed the door with a loud bang to let him know she was coming for him.

She opened the second door and her three children screamed in unison as the light from the opening spanned across their huddled shapes in the corner. Bean noticed how small and curled they were and for a moment her heart softened at their tiny limbs, at their flexibility, at their golden hair hanging gingerly over their eyes, and how they clutched each other in fear. She would not stay in this moment long, because each of them had his nose and the sight of it reminded her of her hunt. She had a fox to find.

Jed could hear Bean outside the door, listened as her muddy hands slipped on the glass doorknob, and knew he was in for it. Bean relished the click and release of the door’s mechanism and swung the door open slowly. It hit the bedroom wall with a dull thud. Backlit in the center of the room stood Jed. His chest was heaving and she could see the tremor of his fingers as he held them out in front of him as a barrier to her wrath.

She advanced towards him and all Jed could concentrate on was the fact that her breasts quaked like omelets too hastily turned and how it would be nice if she wore a bra once in awhile, and how nice it might be between them if she cared about herself a little more. He was so lost in this thought about her drooping tits that he didn’t see her raise the shovel until it was too late. The steel spade echoed in his head before he lost consciousness.

“Get up motherfucker and take it like a man.” Bean yelled, but Jed didn’t move. She got down close to his face to feel his breath on her ear, but did not bask his hot, sick wind. His eyes were stuck open with horror and shock. Bean stood up and the shovel fell from her fingers with a clanging.

“God damn dog,” she muttered.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Zygote in my Coffee Online Issue #128, 2009

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Scene of the Crime

I saw myself as I must
have been these last 10 years,
cold and alone, while lying on
the Mexican blanket listening to old tyme
fiddlers jamming in the far tent;

he rose from the makeshift bed, not knowing
that woman, never having the opportunity
to see her on his weekend jaunts to the country
when she was always on her best behavior.

And there it stood in the air between us,
a small firm command with no hint of malice
that stiffened his shoulders and furrowed my brow.
Silence followed as we abandoned the sea
stitched in green and white, opting
for places of stolid separation.

Strings from the banjo and double bass
tuned in the summer air and old folks
gathered closer to hear endearing songs
from youths long gone. I felt inexplicably
ugly in the face of tenderness; always
pushing and pushing until bridges
collapse and I’ve no way home.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Asphodel Madness 10/09

Saints in Waiting

An old man hovers
in the waiting area at midnight
with his small, blue eyes muddied
from years of alcohol and smoke.

I ask him if I can help him
and he opens his mouth, teeth rotting,
breath laced with drink
telling me he needs to talk.

He starts with his worries
no one loves me
nervously touching his face
sickness in his family,
wrongs and rights committed unto others,
love and sadness, old war times,
and how the wife tells him to
SHUT UP              you bastard.

Loving words spill from him
about his dead father,
a man always on the
straight and narrow,
a man who spoke line after line
from the Bible in stern tone.

He speaks of his two sisters
both smart and good looking,
accomplished teachers and nurses,
his insignificance apparent,
of their distance (with)in
geographical closeness.

Plastic covered pictures
flipped, neat faces of children
and grandchildren he never sees,
or holds, run by animated.

He tells me of the time his son
hugged him for no reason,
tears welling in his eyes,
rims red and moist
as he carefully touches
them                         away

can’t waste what little I have.

I stand there with shades
of (in)difference, thinking of
stories about old beggars
at the roadside whom no one will help

Will work for food

prophets, deities, monks
saints in waiting, testing the fiber of humanity,
testing the soul’s moral fortitude
as I lay my hand on his arm.

Aleathia Drehmer 2007

Published by Poet Plant Press in the anthology "Workbook", 2009

This is a holy spectacle

We bake our bodies
in Missoura night heat; five hours
holding up the word at our fingertips,
sitting in pews sweating in the name
of our lord, laying hands on outlaw bibles
and underground books of the apostles.

This is a holy spectacle.

And when the preacher finds us
redeemed, he stands at the pulpit
until it grows dark, closing the good book
and ushering us into the thickness
of the south, into realms of plain faced hookers
and gay bars and low-slung rides
creeping slow under golden arches.

This is a holy spectacle.

Standing there, all I can think about
are sloth, gluttony and greed. My sins
coveting the isolation of a cheap hotel room
with air conditioning that lulls me to sleep,
filtering out the migratory death
on the streets. I want to be transported
from how aged I feel.

This is a holy spectacle.

Linwood is empty now after one a.m.
and we jay walk without looking, rebel
drips of molasses down the side of a jar,
and casually listen to ambulances chase
down the night under a bone white moon
under oppression
under heat
under the belt of having to remember
it all in the morning. My thoughts keep
rushing back to the angry blisters
on the souls of my feet, heels clicking
prayers on the concrete that each step
will get me closer to my destination.

This, is a holy spectacle.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Lung, Issue One, 9/09

The Bard's Shirt

It is stained with organic ginger beer
near the buttons, a faded dribble
that leapt from loose lips that acted as anchors.

Saffron edges curl at the neck,
a blessing from the Rinpoche
with vows taken to live in the middle.

In the glass, the cream linen
lies old and nearly transparent
against the contrast of hot skin

steeped in the shower, nipples
colored like berries in summer,
flat beneath the fabric.

Pleased, I stare at myself
and begin to think, if I were a man,
would I like this kind of mystery?

An almost tangible outline of breast,
the sternum’s valley cast in shadow,
thoughts about the skin’s smell,

its taste upon the tongue, and then
deny it to myself, grinning, knowing
the imagination depends on what

cannot be seen.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Callused Hands, Issue 9, 8/09

Thin Freedoms

The room is gray,
every shade of shadow
a woman can find in a man
present and accounted for.
Sanity questioned in this light,
moral deviations heavier
than imagined, and backsliding
the easiest mode of transport.

Lines in the skin of her hand
show her true age, so wide
they could be filled with concrete
mixed by the light of these blank walls.

She thinks it would keep them
out of trouble. They have a mind
of their own, make her pay generously
for thin freedoms.

Such a word
never perches
on the lips for long.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Brainbox Press in the print anthology "Holy Spectacles!" 8/09