g r a v e l
A L I T E R A R Y J O U R N A L
Something to Cry About
The house fire began to cry.
She had been working hard
on this home on the edge of town
for what seemed like all afternoon,
fully enjoying herself in her bliss,
this eager, smiling blaze she was,
and she was halfway through
consuming this residence
and now the fire department
had to show up and ruin everything,
just like they always did.
In a whirl of anguish and rage,
the house fire ran down the stairs
and met the firemen at the front door.
Why are you guys trying to put me out?
she sobbed, loud and desperate
and with a rush of red, bright air,
just leave me alone and go away
she screamed, she wept hot water
and her tears were fast embers.
She drew in a lungful of air
but then caught another scream
before it could leave her throat;
she knew it was useless to argue
or to beg these plastic men for her life;
she knew they didn't see her as worthy,
didn't see her the way they obviously saw
the ones just like themselves;
this was all the more frustrating
because the firemen were yelling,
but they were yelling at each other,
not at her; it was humiliating;
it was almost like they couldn’t hear her
no matter how loud, how bright,
how hot she made herself.
The end arrived with a sound
like a seashore shushing you;
the firemen brought more water
than she was able to burn away;
the firemen all swore they heard screams, too,
but they never found a body.
Ode to a Grecian Yearn
In bustling, wine-scented Athens,
a young man peers into a storefront window
at a sea-green acoustic guitar on display.
This instrument, like a curvy woman, reclines
on the Renoir couch of the guitar stand
behind the dusty glass, before his crystal eyes,
and he wants to know the song of her mind
as well as any music that might come from her body,
but he does not have the necessary Euros
to spend an afternoon warm in her harmony,
or maybe even a night alone with her Eros
on some white stone balcony under a Moon,
and this want within him, this fluttering yearn
is beating against the silver bars of the cage of him;
there is a silence inside of all the noise on the street
as loud as his racing heartbeat in this moment
and need is the only thing that he can hear.
It's Like Intimacy, But Different
Sex with you while I was angry with you
proved to be interesting.
Not that sex with you
in another mood is uninteresting;
don't get me wrong.
Sex with you is good;
you taste good to me,
and you like the way I taste.
Sex while being pissed off at you
was fun; I didn't have to be me
in that bed with you,
and I made my eyes into doors
that were closed to you.
I didn't have to say anything to you,
just touch you the way I know
you wanted to be touched:
squeeze your tits hard, etc.,
I didn't have to change
the expression on my face at all
until after everything, after all the positions,
until the candle on the headboard
was just a hot little point of anger
in a pool of red, melted blood,
and even then,
I kept the doors closed.
Do Not Tap or Pound On Glass, Chase Birds,
or Otherwise Harass Animals
Who will speak for the elephant born in captivity?
Who will speak for the sparrows, and the owls,
and the barns they naturally live in?
Who will give voice to the night's coyote
and the centipede where the land is gold?
Who will stand in for the turkey of the wild wood
and the crested duck of the wild pond?
Who shall vouch for the slouching vulture
spying the baby in the carrier on the porch?
Who will champion the valiant, antennae'd slug?
Who will act as proxy for hawk and for grackle?
Who will speak for the zookeeper born in captivity?
Reaching gently into the screen
of her big, big Sylvania television set,
the woman wraps her fingers around the body
of the blonde morning show news anchoress.
The news anchoress screams,
but it sounds small in the living room,
door-creak tiny, given the difference in size
between the human woman
and the blonde morning show news anchoress.
Accompanied by a loud, short buzzing sound,
the woman pulls the blonde morning show news anchoress
through the soft glass of the television set's face;
the white cat on the couch, bored and detached,
observes and says nothing, despite the miracle in the den.
The woman pulls the blonde
morning show news anchoress
close to her face, inspecting her,
all the whole while not really seeming to hear
the news anchoress' screaming,
plucking at the anchoress' hair, curious.
The anchoress, who is blonde, and morning show,
is the news, while screaming for her life,
which is in the hands of the human woman.
The human woman slowly removes the clothing
of the tiny, panicking news anchoress.
The anchoress’ news legs twitch and jerk like bug parts,
and her mouth becomes the lipstick gateway
between nightmare and the alarm clock sounding;
the human woman smirks, amused by the fear.
The white cat leaps from the couch
down the to the floor and out of the room,
seeking amusement elsewhere.
The woman and the news anchoress
are alone now, and can have their privacy.
Rich Boucher lives, works, writes and performs steadily in Albuquerque, and is the occasional Guest Editor of the weekly poetry column “The DitchRider” at DukeCityFix.com. Rich’s poems have appeared in The Bicycle Review, Visceral Uterus,The Mas Tequila Review, The Camel Saloon, Apeiron Review, Brawler, The Subterranean Quarterly and The Nervous Breakdown, among others, and he has work forthcoming in Menacing Hedge, The Broadkill Review and Gargoyle. Hear his poems here.