Poetry Issue #65

last payphone in times square

she came up to my eye.
i asked to borrow a pen.

people attend the removal of the
last payphone in times square. 

i wrote her number in a note-
book stained into lines.

a power saw is used for the phone.
eulogies are said.

first time i called
set something in motion.

no one finds panegyrics to public
payphones unusual. 

in my space we traded sketches.
hunger can be a project.

no one carries coins in pockets.
coins are an insult.

strawberries rotted in the fridge.
we woke each other up.

the fate of the phone is unknown.
museums have the best storage.

she gave me a piece of raw amber.
pine leather scents still intoxicate.

the last call was cinematic.
the end. as hollywood calls it.


real feel 109

the real feel in chicago is 109
it is the experience of heat
makes me temper myself around you 

my father used to run a beer mug under
the faucet before sticking it in the freezer
the first touch on frost left fingerprints

you are like the first night
sleeping in a new room
every time i see you
            one of us is taller than the other

after college i lived in a spanish attic
and two places in india without refrigeration 

my father was the type of guy
who would say: he’s the type of guy
who’d complain if his ice was cold

we are abstract in the dark
a mosaic of yellow tiles floating out like bees
            almost a dead cow in water

i want to practice with you but it’s no use
if i were a percentage i’d be halfway charged

in its solid state water can be held in the hand
but the experience of you lacks the real feel of you
if drained of blood the heart appears white


consciousness seeks same
after H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau

             sculpting is to add or subtract
is it easier to doctor beasts out of men
             or make men out of torture?
the body is where it all begins
             he divides us of ourselves
until it becomes impossible to recall which way we began
             ‘not all living skin is painful’ he insists
but the mind, helmuted by bone,
             is inescapable and i need to be saved
come on, moreau! tell me of your god (invention or inter-
vention) tell me why i can’t walk on all fours
             or why i drank a sinful last night
while it rained like a telegraph typing out:
             i won’t come back for you   ever
everything needed to evolve is found in the sea
                         i can still taste it
the moment we emerged covered in sea foam
             we breathed in fear
                          which can’t be vivisected
             and desire
                          which can’t be grafted
             the body remains in the mind
we’re told it calls for meat and makeup
             ‘i’ve never seen an animal think’ he insists
but he doesn’t know i’ve been considering living quietly
             without cracking my gum
                          or swinging my axe
god has left us alone on the island
             doing impressions of humans
                          having a bad day


Red matter

All fall she tries to keep up with them.
Poor fragile bastards, clinging with such hope
and crimson. They all end up the same.
Sheddings of a tree that remains a tree without them.
She liked herself less in past tense than in future.
But she had put off becoming acquainted
with dying things.


A leafblower offended the mornings.
The stupidest invention since self-cleaning ovens,
she told her husband, who preferred ruger to rake.
He watched her, knew her routine. Mostly he told her
he wished to hear her less so he could focus on his shows.
They took him places. From red scare to red planet.
Expeditions where he hunted behind the camera.
Stories where men watched women, knew their routines.
He panics when something is about to finish after he’d gotten used to the diegesis.


She sweeps the yard of red the way light sweeps a room
of shadow. Wishing she could blow her life not back
to the start, back to a start. Where God is not on the other team. If winter comes early, someone somewhere will kill something endangered then the leaves won’t matter.


             Rishikesh is famous in the West
                 in Himalayan foothills
                      posters remind us
             The Beatless were here in 1968!
             thirty years after they meditated
                        sang  ob-la-da and om
             and calmed dear Prudence
                 down from LSD trauma
                 knock offs in the market
                          remind us
             Abibas and Chicago Balls
                      are famous as Jesus
                 there is no substitute for calm
                        no meat or booze
             along the Ganges’ eastern bank
                   we finally breathe with the mind


By Marcy Rae Henry

Marcy Rae Henry is a multidisciplinary artist, una Latina/x/e from The Borderlands and an advocate/member of the LGBTQ community. Her writing has received a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Grant, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize nomination and first prize in Suburbia’s 2021 Novel Excerpt Contest. DoubleCross Press will publish her chapbook We Are Primary Colors in 2023.