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