W. Vandoren Wheeler
Read the poem below:
My first time
on a motorcycle,
just after I found
the heft and swoop
of its balance, a wasp
struck, clung to,
then crawled inside
As I wobbled the machine
onto the narrow
shoulder, the insect straddled
my left eyeball. Its legs inter-
laced with my lashes.
I can still see, but
every other thin thing
looks half wasp.
My new wife, mid-sentence,
walked out—our first night
apart. I can’t sleep.
I tangle our sheets imagining
her swerving, bleary-eyed,
through our neighborhood,
through a guardrail…
Insect feet prick
Why did she promise to
sit in my hospital room
until I fell asleep
and run her hand
across my head
to feel where
the hair was gone
when she was only
going to leave early
and drive home
by the Allegheny
along row houses
where people lived
in things called families
and were never hurt
or at least not for very long?
Maybe because I would
only know she left early
when I woke up alone
the next morning
which was more than I wanted
listening to my blood
singing into a machine
which sat by …
Listen to the poem below.
His palms leave sweat next to the three drinks on my writing table.
One, once ice water, no longer with any ice, two, the coffee once hot,
without creamer, 2 pink sweet and low packets and 2 heaping
teaspoons of Ovaltine, now cold.
Pickup the old windup desk clock, force the gears backward to the
lean hours of January 2nd.
This takes a lot of wrist, makes sure the turn-screw cross-threads,
gets the gears temporarily stuck.
I put my finger in the spiral muzzle of the revolver.
Just before it kisses …
Published in Issue 1
It was the middle of winter as I sat on a chartered bus along Heidelberg Street. It started to drizzle.
Detroit has great potential, I thought. It doesn’t matter if the automobile industry comes back with a vengeance or not. “There is something great here,” I said to Sara, an acquaintance traveling with me. “What, like the weather?” joked Sara. We were experiencing below-freezing temperatures.
As Sara pondered my thoughts, I looked out of the window at the dilapidated infrastructure and modern artwork. We were stationed in front of the Heidelberg Project, a creative …Read article
Listen to the poem below.
You see them too?
Those boygirls, leaning against the counter
as the coffee machine steams,
performing the art of waiting without
looking bored. They hold their shields tight
around their bodies, but
wear winged earrings, casing
the shell of their ears,
preparing for flight,
prepared for the call. Dressed in white shirts,
opened deep enough to see
the curves beneath, the bones
beneath, black skinny ties
necks like a trophy,
tight black jeans that suture the knees,
the hips, the ankles. Drinking
cup after cup of witch-thick black …
The atmospheric conditions are right, I guess:
something at any rate has scattered stars
of frost beneath a late night’s cloudless sky.
They flare and vanish as I walk the lawn
behind the dog. Perhaps he smells starlight
hidden beneath the bushes; urgent sniffs
that pause to classify the gathered data
mean to a dog – that it must sniff some more.
I know the feeling. Deep within the brain,
primeval snorts and sortings still go on,
processing night. Its mysteries. Its fangs
sudden, bright and final. Nothing to fear
from neighbors’ lights or distant highway sounds,
On highroads, highways, motor roads, motorways, no ways straight ahead, lift weights for dead ends. Brainwashed, over soaked, over cooked in microwaves, wiped out by surf waves all in disgust for their brainwaves. Over exposed and under educated, under cooked and over protected immature amateurs, above their heads and below the surface. Low income and high consumption, high esteem and low attraction for self defence, only interaction for social obsessions in all occasions they say yes. Yes to the hookers, yes to the pimps of no morals, no ethics or personal hygiene. No genes for high intelligence …Read article
To move the nights along you have taken to performing tremendous acts of dental hygiene. You begin with careful brushing using all-natural wintergreen “tooth powder” that you picked up at a life-enhancement retreat, because your friends think you are the kind of person who uses all-natural wintergreen “tooth powder” and would appreciate being invited to a life-enhancement retreat. After the careful brushing is the flossing, each tooth one by one, even the ones that bleed, one by one, and after you finish you do it a second time just to make sure you are doing it right …Read article
Listen to the poem below:
I just got my heart busted and now I canʼt dream straight.
Everything comes out cracked
I used to have nighthoughts about little monsters
That burst round the bedroom in smiles and fur;
Now I only see shards of many-colored glass
Spinning and spinning in the air,
And broke-up phrases of music, violin music,
Old-people music mostly, I think.
And the little monsters go in and out of the dreams in curves
And round bends with train-whistle songs under the violin music
And conductors of symphonies and stations …
Listen to the poem below.
You’re not following me out
of the Brooklyn Publick House
but the Berkshires instead
in 1999, the night
was hit by lightning
in a fishing boat
on a lake in Orlando
casting off despite
Are you thinking about it, too,
as the door opens. Your arms
on my shoulders, following
me down a trail, trial
laced with pitfalls – rocks, divots
clefts (the twelve years it’s been?)
at three or four in the morning.