A Million to One

Three poems
by Glen Armstrong
Requiem for My Smoky Shell
A few figurative inches
of what I never wanted
to be tethers
my head to that agreed
upon meeting place
where seam meets seem.
It takes more
than a figurative leap
for me to love anyone
expecting me to make
that figurative leap
and maybe to stop
and maybe to fall
like a figurative coyote
with a clever little sign.
Surprises abound in my body.
I get myself all set
to sit at the table:
reading glasses, some light
research on metaphor
and a graphic novel where masked
wrestlers solve gritty crimes.
(I always strive to be
that dream-lover who reads
a great deal.)
The man I was a moment ago
hangs in the air like a smoky shell.
Hotel de Chirico
After 1,000,000 popular songs
after 1,000,000 dead bees
there can only be
a single popular song
a single dead bee
that has grown
big enough to be
part of the landscape
we live on the bellies
shoulders thighs eyelids
dimpled butt cheeks
of those who grew so famous
that their names
became a kind of poison gas
that takes hold
so slowly
that we develop
immunity to it
after 1,000,000 inflamed
bronchial passageways
after 1,000,000 days
of diminished expectations.
A Brief History of Bells
Even today, we cannot help but think of the cover that ringing supplies the recent dead, those rabbits scurrying to the afterlife. Audacious eddies of sound chase evil spirits. We ring in the new year at the old year’s expense. We think of our own minds as bell towers, ringing and collecting bats. Is it any wonder that the young sneak off to put rings through their flesh? The bells are part of that secret code that everyone keeps, that no one cracks.
Glen Armstrong 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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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott is a member of The Southern Collective Experience; he also serves as an editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

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