The Eskimo's Chrysanthemums*

The eskimo's chrysanthemums
blooming under ice, below the known
waters and the unknown waters, clown-face
and tiger face, green blossoms of the bipolar
north pole. The eskimo described the icy sun
and flowers to himself, to his own person.
Orange feathers tufting the hood of a penguin's eye.
The exploding maroons of the atmosphere.
This is sugar, and this is sugar. The brain of a white sun.
Busting up glaciers to make the fissures visible.
What redeems: connecting small things, dots and blossoms.

These. Those. Sometimes. Never.

These. Those. Sometimes. Never.

Submerged in backwaters, dirt and spiders.

This Little Easy, infested with trash trees

and fat possums, and pieces of broken buildings.

Hold the rubber-band taut, the impossible cat's cradle.

Ozark babies with cradle cap, or roiling with lice

Pursued by poisons, freely taken or forced.

Here's the mother: rocking, with lips like a moccasin

from too many smokes. Here's the father: ape-shit drunk.

And the mind of this one, muddied with lead.

His naughty brother, eyes hot from crank, watching the bushes

for the animal that is the future the future waiting to eat him.

The Blah Corpse of His Life

The blah corpse of his life

animated by some lady, eating candy & aspirin

emulating shrubbery, no shouting or weeping

Waxy and fertile, so it grows

The breath, the blazing

The crux and the range

The lady pinkly simmers

The thrust, the carnival physics

Pick a hand: fresh or rotten

Righting the bright shoulders

ferrous tickling of unmined iron

Sigh, sigh. To not know the dope, the how to be with!

photo courtesy of Miguel Gorham

*These are all examples of actual Otises.

Stef Russell is a journalist in St. Louis. She starred in the cult classic,Plan 10 From Outer Space,” and is a member of Poetry Scores, a St. Louis arts collective that translates poetry into other media, including music & film. Visit them here.