Wednesday 5 February 2014

3 Poems by Kyle Hemmings

The Make-over

 Everyone has a wife prettier than mine. I hide her face in plastic jars marked "No More Hope," snatch her words in a rainy day season, keep them under a pillow of yellow stains, deep creases. Unexplained impressions of butterfly wings. Even after 1000 face lifts, she is still as ugly as I. We live by the fallacy that someday we might be beautiful, simple and mysterious as floating candles. We'd be homemade, truly original. I tell my wife never to trust sexy strangers posing as plastic surgeons. They will rob her blind, sell her parts to everyday cannibals, who melt before their own mirrors. I tell my wife that we are the sum of others' useless parts. Or that when we get old, nothing will matter anyway. She says that we are two battered alarm clocks with missing numbers. I imagine her weeping gently as she sells herself to a man with malleable features, a life of scoured pots and pans. Because we are so ugly, we forgive each other's sins. At night, we pull off our yesterday faces, fall hopelessly in love with the other who always wanted to be more than thin skin, misplaced appetite, the deadened reflection at a bus stop. We became beggars by water-colored noon. In the morning light, we greet our surgeons with a naked smile, a deceptive hush.

Five or Six Reasons for Believing in Vampires

After three consecutive nights of insomnia, you hear rumors that your shadow is giving dance lessons in another part of town.

Or after a dream of abandoned turtles, you find scales under the sheets.

Your girlfriend of three weeks, Emily B. Roth, tells you that she was impregnated by one of your starched shirts. She schedules an abortion with a tailor.

At work, someone is signing your petitions for better ergonomic chairs and keyboards with blood. You keep receiving inter-office emails that you are not who you think you are.

 You are accused of shoplifting Gummi Bears by a little kid who is wearing your I.D. badge.


I am the tree near the church. Perhaps a red maple or a honeylocust. You are the girl who falls through stained glass, who keeps dreaming of me. In my hollow belly, I shelter you from the beggars, the women who demand a slow drip of blood for every sin, from the altar boys who peek under your Sunday dress. Your mother says truth is like honey. You give her the sap from a condemned birch. She gives you yellow ribbons & post-its that say Love Is Not Cheap. It Does Not Come in Plastic. Hanging off my branches, you believe you will heal, grow taller. Perhaps your roots will expand to everywhere. This town is full of stunted naysayers who could never grow fruit. You promise to transplant me inside your head, to bury your secrets near a stump. In the wind & rain, we lean toward each other.. One day, a man invents an ax. He becomes an extension of it. He is jealous of what he can never have. You have given yourself to a tree. The man cuts us down. He's the one who really dies. We grow new arms & new roots. We become entwined. My thickest twig is a tongue of your silence. I am a tree with your face. No longer with crutches, a girl who looks like you walks toward us.


Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan.  His latest collection of prose/poetry is Void & Sky from Outskirt Press. Kyle loves cats, dogs, and 60s garage bands. <>

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