Album

There the book lies, like any documentary the issue of artifice – selection, omission, and presentation,   its still frames judiciously snipped and spliced into a narrative.   The gold emboss and navy pleather give a gravitas unwarranted by the frivolous fiction within.   These curated scenes in two tidy dimensions flicker unobstructed by intertitles…

Adaptations

Countless transients wing over this rough blue rectangle aloft on their own particular ethos,   but two resident species stand out, alike ubiquitous and maligned for that success.   Mendicant pigeons shuffle through refuse as drab Franciscans, sermonizing together sotto voce, turning and returning their ashen cheeks to our incivility,   while martial gulls in…

Ship Poem

This vessel still bears some original planks, cicatrized wrists and memories, precluding doubt.   As long as I drift ­ until my exhausted wrights lay down the adze, the auger and irons ­ this much is beyond question :   between blank headlands, on an improvised course over disputed seas I am.

Half Empty

Less than half, but through your glass I see darkly pooled in its crystal palm blood, the dregs of a pleasant evening. One gentle swirl gives the world a fresh wash of ruby.   There might even be another bottle, corked and patient in the pantry behind the dusty boxes of my expired metaphors.

Venal Hot Wings

Her plump tongue rasps oily flesh from steaming bones and her dexterous digits like a child’s pile them neatly on a second plastic plate. Six little lives are sucked clean between her lips in the name of decadence, her eyes fixed on mine, her legs lascivious and insinuating beneath the table (love laughs, a mouthful…

Lips

Crooked curling around a Camel non-filter a lurid smear of high gloss crimson whose ghost haunts the rim of an empty old-fashioned- I can hear you from here, telling me what I need, how long I have forgotten (and I know) you can help me. Appeal to my prurient interest babe, drink and smoke and…

Past Point Fermin

Past Point Fermin and the Palos ever less Verde LA cools her concrete heels on a good morning for ghosts.   The garish greasepaint of oil-island lights is obscured by an impasto of onshore fog. Looking South : a brown pelican punctures the mist, its wake curdling into two extinct islands, one named for Rattlesnakes…

Haruspex

My cat poses in solemn tuxedo drag over the body of her morning’s tithe –   a starling.   Its weightlessness shocks my cupped palms when I receive it for the final deposit.   One moment  I pause to consider  the still constellations of the wings, the silence of sharp golden beak   and I know…

Where I Go?

Implausibly and honestly, away. Simply, neither to nor from.   Not to a bachelor’s Neverland of adventure and youth, not a pleasurable Isle in Cockaigne.   Certainly not escape you, except as you are one admittedly wonderful aspect of everything.   I tug down my hood and turn away at the apogee of an irregular…

About

S. A. Russell doesn’t have an MFA, an agent, or a published manuscript. He does have a little talent, a little luck, and a stack of poems he’ll eventually get around to submitting. He’s won a few awards, been featured in several magazines, reviews, and web publications, and has been writing and publishing poetry since…