- POETRY -

TWO POEMS

 

Cyree Jarelle Johnson

ISSUE ELEVEN | FALL 2018

My Stepfather Mouthfucks THE DEVIL

 

Harold is 52. He drives roundabout 66 miles on I-95 to and from the tube factory

in Branchburg. He punched the glass over the speedometer yesterday. The automobile’s

 

tools of measurement are bloody, but he never checks them anyway. The cupholder

clutches a 3/4s empty can of Budweiser. It’s 6:15 in December and the moon is maroon

 

in the black latex of Pine Barren sky. His backseat is tetris'd with cans of O’Doules.

Nice try, Harold. A white streak darts through the road as if chased. Harold’s nausea

 

pulls the string beneath his tongue, presses its thumbs into his throat. He opens the car

door a little, its leatherette split from heat. It’s as though his insides are tearing

as puke punches through him, bilious, no longer containing food or even beer.

 

He lays on his back in the puddle he made, only an inch too shallow to drown in.

A figure above him. Behold, a goat; its ocular golden cleft. Harold’s bleary eyes peer

 

and correct themselves. The goat stands dripping stygmata and flexing bicep tattoos.

Solve. Coagula. The goat has titties and a dude’s face, and no genitals to speak of.

 

The thing no one ever told Harold about THE DEVIL is that when you see them

you get uncontrollably aroused. Sexually. Harold doesn’t like any gay shit;

 

he ran off his eldest stepchild at 14, who is me, the narrator. Kicked his face and ribs

until he fled and in her fear the mother called it justice. But here he is, cock stiff before THE DEVIL.

 

THE DEVIL strolls closer to Harold on cloven hooves, in leather assless chaps, unbothered

because they’re THE DEVIL. Although THE DEVIL doesn’t have a binary gender expression,

 

it's still gay to Harold. THE DEVIL values consent so they ask Harold

if he would like a fellatio and Harold nods and screams YES! YES! 6 covens

of genderless magical practitioners arrive for orgies nearby because THE DEVIL

is into that. Everyone in the vicinity is on the verge of ecstasy when Harold starts to cry.

 

THE DEVIL turns the burnt out O’Doules cans into piles of glistering gold coins, and we stimulate

ourselves with their ridged edges. Harold snatches his boxcutter from the pocket of his vacant jeans.

 

He slits his own throat. He’s dead and he’s gay and he’s not sure which is worse.

“MATURE BUCKS WALK INTO THE WIND WHENEVER POSSIBLE”

(and are well-suited to blue-violet and yellow)

sun stiff line whose boundaries, constricted by dusk buck. landscape: gnawed open gates and flashlights startle to jumping point. one shits down its hind legs which doesn't impede the men edging nearer open left hand, right curdled over shocker's hit. perhaps if we were all just still, just quiet, but drummed murmur metal box crunching us up its sides zooming where until at last we arrive at the life dump. sinister land of no-more. licked the fences until uncertain yoke broke the pink bumps. tawny chain gang singing birdshot if I could just if I could just and feel waves rush. the train came, you know, after the bell. but if I could just get. this. spike. out my back before the door yawns, before the fingered things send lightning, I'd run home, barely beyond the bullet.

Cyree Jarelle Johnson is a writer, poet, and librarian from New Jersey. SLINGSHOT, their first book of poetry, will be released by Nightboat Books in 2019. Find Cyree Jarelle on the internet at www.cyreejarellejohnson.com or @cyreejarelle.

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