Wednesday 20 April 2016

2 Poems by R. A. Allen


Focused like the itch
of ten million chiggers,
a contrary empathy
fashioned his motives:
a stomp-killing straight
from the pages of Nathanael West,
lustmord in a Florida
sorority house or in
the cab of an idling semi
near the prairie edge of town. 

Restless on the courthouse steps,
the crowd's thoughts were one.
Its surge was one surge,
a shoal of piranha,
ants on the march,
destined to bust in
and drag him out,
to throw a clothesline
over a lamppost. God, it was
hot that night. A mosh pit
for the criminally

Two Proto-Modernist Epiphanies 

While nodding on a bench
in the coal dust and spent steam
of Paddington Station,
Nietzsche watched Darwin's
evolution disembark
the 8:05 from Oxford.
Although soot from the
Industrial Revolution
had smutched the
o'erarching skylights,
it seemed to him that,
from ape to Übermensch ,
each one in his turn
stood taller than the last. 

Where lies the anvil of
inspiration? Did the shadows
of Cézanne's overbearing father
push him to make sense of new
encounters by painting them
as stacks of sculpted facets?
And while attending his
posthumous retrospective
at the Salon d'Automne
did Picasso and Braque turn
to one another and say "Hmmm"?
Did they say "Aha!"? 


R. A. Allen's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Quarterly, Night Train, The William & Mary Review, RHINO, Gargoyle, Euphony, and elsewhere. He has one Pushcart nomination. He lives in Memphis for the humidity. More at raallen 

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