Three Poems by Gregory Lawless

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Spring flowers whistling
and pea-brainiac birds
sleeking eastward
like cosmonauts
with blastoff elations
and fuzzy helmets
and heat-resistant hearts
I duck these dizzy hypnotists
and bleak into the mountains
three pounds of ice
in each knee liquored
with sadnesses
and oh each sadness
has a staircase pouring
into the stony be-rooted
earth and the dead
climb up these staircases
with tattered valises
and faces like hardpan
witherward dusted
with fignernail
clippings sporting spooky
hair pieces
to have another looksee
at all the above things
while we’re still
here I am singing
I am an above thing
but I could
be a below thing
I take my falling
with me everywhere
birds fly into me
like a window
and like a window
you can open me
and climb through me
but then you wouldn’t
see your face in me
anymore and the mountains
look like the crooked teeth
of a house key
grinding into the lock
of the sky and
the dead sit down
and have a snack
because they’re sick
of all the climbing thinking
the wonder should
be over by now
saves us
they say please
save us from all
the wonder.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I’m a Pretty Big Deal Around Here

But you’d never know it
the way the fir trees
swallow all the crows
and owls and sky
and the snow
when it falls so
they seem like a bigger deal
than I am
after all but I have a father
I remember
how to be small
and if I need to
protect myself
I can stand still
for hours
and look threatening
and invisible
at the same time
like a mountain
in the fog
and now
the snowshoe rabbits
which are a pretty big deal
to me beat through fields
wondering if any
other animals
are named after
antic footwear
like the water-ski egrets
but can’t think of any
since those egrets
were hunted and killed
off a long time ago
you know
for their water skis
and now the sun short circuits
and the rabbits
are ground down
into little piles of snow
by the moon
and I try climbing
the trees
which spit me out
into the snow and God
Uncle Universe
the Big Whoever
pours a teaspoon
of night into my eyes
just enough that I
have to squint
at everything and I
can hardly see
a thing but I still know
what I’m missing.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Rasputin’s Beard

Was shot fifteen times, poisoned, stabbed, beaten
with chains and drowned, or they tried
to drown it, but the beard
just wouldn’t stay down. On the banks
of the Malaya Nevka River
Rasputin’s beard scuttled off
into winter marshes and hid
from the rain, the world’s
bleeding, which, for once,
it couldn’t stop. Eventually
a cop found it while
out walking his beat
and held it up to his face
where the beard churned
and roared into place. It was full
of bullet holes and history
and blood. Women loved it
and ran their fingers
through the scored follicles
and picked bits of reed
and mud from it
with maternal grace.
No one knew who
the cop was but everyone
recognized him
at once. He was famous
and not. He liked having
such an awful, powerful
beard, of course, but he sensed
that people wished
his beard belonged
to somebody else.
The beard grew
like a legend
and was too tough
for scissors to cut.
It trailed down beneath his feet
and tripped him up
like the past, so tangled and
dark, and swept
away his footprints
while he walked.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregory Lawless Gregory Lawless

Gregory Lawless is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of I Thought I Was New Here (BlazeVOX Books). His work has either appeared in or is forthcoming from Artifice, Best of the Net 2007, Cider Press Review, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Gulf Stream, The National Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Third Coast, Zoland Poetry and others. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts with his wife, Jen, and his cat, Mr. Sparkles.

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