Poems by Glen Armstrong

Signs

 

That song and police.

Report move me to tears.

That which was here rubbed away. With a fingertip.

My lips know the distance.

Between blue and purple.

The children revolve.

Around the better children forbidden.

Their own evolution.

I can leave but where would I go?

 

I met with the tourists.

To tell them stories about Miles Davis.

And the Grand Canyon.

They feared Santa Clause.

And his seasonal B and E. We all had a good laugh.

Agreeing that water’s corporate logo.

Was hard to find amid the soda icons.

The sign above the door.

Said more than I realized.

 

 

Diner Coated in Such a Fine Layer of Death That Nobody Notices

 

The governor vetoed all funding.

And the newscaster slurred her words.

 

Robbie and Tim made coleslaw

at the Peppermill Café,

 

then a Nike ad announced very little

with the conviction

of the swords

of a thousand men.

 

It was nearly Groundhog’s Day.

One of the old timers predicted

 

that we’d never see another woman

pop out of a cake.

 

With no more passion

than it would take to let air out of a tire,

 

we ate our lunch.

Odysseus killed monsters.

 

A K-9 unit pulled into the lot.

We hardly noticed

the slow, deliberate strokes

waiting off to the side

like a bone yard

or a tabloid magazine.

 

We never saw the television’s hands.

A cabbage has no throat.

 

 

The Woman with a Thousand Heads #11

 

Long live the beauty

of the heart overseas, collapsing

on strange street corners.

Long live the heart

 

in the punch bowl.

The heart gaining speed

bumps, goose bumps, bumping

in the night and into strangers.

 

The heart broadcasts illegally.

Long live the pirate as metaphor.

Long live the heart’s

dangerous mission, its slim

 

chance and bathing suit,

its dogtooth and foreign accent.

 

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cream City Review.

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