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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Five Prose Poems
by Albert Flynn DeSilver
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Kafka's Two Handed War

Approval is met by me nodding. Me nodding being a dishonest referee. I am watching my two hands at arm's length, at war. They begin at defeat and proceed to risk the tilt from annihilation's crown. The left one backs up against the right, stroking it, almost sexually, one on top of the other as one. Instead of looking into my face they look away leaping into their own sense of victory, alone. Each one intimate with reckless wildness, yet acting like a two headed Madonna. Wrist of the left, broken across the table fumes with the idea of misery and fighting between the two, a brew of flesh snarls curdle. Me Mr. Between, stripped of the broad capacity of mind to realize these are my hands, my saving idea, with the slightest jerk, could pull away. Engine piston downward pounding the right pushing the left to the rim of the table, the left hand being left at its natural end. How hold your chin up, left, in the fierce grip of right's iron five? Your standing girlish fingers curl in shyness. Run long left wrist! There is no resisting the right one's power pressure. The ongoing struggle of two preparing for a bad way. Torture. There the thigh fumbling timidly, left sat, while the right, never grumbling, grasped hats and saluted the clouds. The left was never an arm of abuse, has never spoken words of indulgence, and yet the right has been made my favor, without my wishing the left any harm at all, why? And so I sit, escaping nothing now, chin pressed to the edge of the burnished oak table, nothing unnoticed passing before me- the brought holds of various knots, the shadow strings between palms, bunching up darkness in my eyes. My frozen gaze is never to be peeled from my hands, because they are mine! Agony must referee this match of stalled touch, one baring more pressure on the other from left to right and back across the table top, fingers all tangled in a locked instant. This after facing one another, palm to palm and bowing, saluting me together now their referee. Referee reading a terrific book they had slammed shut, when my two hands began to fight.

The Captain

He's watching pleasure, aristocratic & mysterious. He's sort of gummed-up in ambition's spool. Curiosity is all lost to the man, above all beauty, above all. Rhythm tastes alive in the man who keeps swells gracefully, so that rigging doesn't complicate long, slim lines in the ship's tops. His eye ever tiring, gladdens design, a marvelous prism forming lighthouses there. Its beams flash the sea forward, colors changing the mobile clouds, from which a sea port drops- The sky is a wide expanse of struggles, as seen by the captain.

Mrs. Westward Facing Mustache

Mrs Westward Facing Mustache twitched her upper lip and bowed into a nearby cloud, cloud going haywire on the pyrotechnic horizon. A raging orange and blue sunset rose from the sea and then drowned in lost air. Bleak blue light flowered over the land, spoke to bent creek and crick-in-the-rock. Both said no wind, squirmed between breaths but let the black sky spread and little flint babies parade. Silver flint babies born out of saying were airborne in strange patterns, forming bear, coyote, and raven-over-head. The three of them gave birth to themselves and descended the night sky staircase to greet Mrs Westward Facing Mustache. They gathered in the tall grass quivering of her busy upper lip and got cozy before the fire. They called it fire-out-of-chalk-teeth, they called it smoke-from-snake-tongue- Mrs Westward Facing Mustache told us stories round the fire.

On Clark Coolidge's Birthday

We will audit windows for the barley smear, and trickle. We'll go ahead with the frumped cottonwood, shave it for all it's empty of. Embark upon of, and its entrails on a Wednesday. Eat frigid pigeons till they get then. Then open a frog collar toward dawn. Say it's never a near miss when the whistles mend. I've fought more transient heaps than these- each one's more humble than the fog it clenches. You can't unweld the frycakes with a scratching post, so go on, onward, bother why. What's the use of. Further more use is used up. Don't count the other end in. It just keeps wilting poor Will's patience, which hasn't a ham to stand on, nor even a burped up drill bit to wield. Be oven. Be soldered. Be rendered freight cloth and unencumbered chub. Hollow out the frenzy before partitioning the urge, and tarnish. Cube the ink into seven inch circles of butane and light from within. You'll want to unglove the periodicals before cucumbering them. Keep chasing the written-on windows till they're blindsided. Heave light there. Heave wind behind you this time so it doesn't bugger the forecaster's toast. Can you blame the carbon limbs for half a green cast? It rains them once every Sunday first. What of it. Competing against the snow is a fishhook flaking off my temple. This completes the soot arrangement, and eggs me in. How can anyone train an itch, let alone peel one? Each shard is a peach hair I do the remembering with. It has a narrow hour to keep, a cage to implode thistles in, and an accomplishment claw made of divisive glass. This is the day a few ungreased hankerings leak across the housing of your lapels, where the half-life of pleasure is a growling monk.

Cops on the Farm

stars and hay, the smell of moonlight in the policeman's rusting pistols, tarnished badges, spent earth. They term it themselves, call it "The Chicken Perch Monotony" Taking the hen out of the house is just asking for the police, cries the farmer. "Chickens, are you chickens, are you police?" Cow and farmer have called to chaperone the police toward the farmer's kisses, being shy though, through bellowing mouths and tongues of the rolling cow, cow being cow with slick cud kissing was the farmer's idea of freedom. The cops thought not, but soon were engendered as love seeps in lieu of their dissolving modesty. Such was the assault upon pleasant bellowing and bad extremes of the cows voice against the window sill. They are species between commerce, them cop & cow dung dude farmers. Their milk comes by way of married men, cow raptured to man to cow to man in little milky sattelites around the moon. "The moon is the mustard sister" says the policeman, which seems heady tonight. "My thoughts, oh my thoughts of bone from the hat- remove the farmer from this love song, his cow singing toward him with moon-lit udders- and you have removed the smell of the policeman's rusting stars, his sturdy chicken perch, and all you've got left is a lonely farmer and heaps of tarnished badges in the spent hay."

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