PoetryIssue 18 | June 2013

Two Poems by Mike Alexander

Ciudad de los Perros

San Miguel de Allende
i
Our pastoral tableaux, recounting sheep,
exist on the coyote side of town.
The restoration promised us in sleep
& the awakening to follow dawn

exist on the coyote side of town.
Here, in our cloister, we heard a howling
& the awakening to follow, dawn
crouched in its threshold, darkly prowling.

Here, in our cloister, we heard a howling.
Every doorway sported its Anubis
crouched in its threshold, darkly prowling
its wary streets, night-cobbled abyss.

Every doorway sported its Anubis,
a Cerberus, voicing all its vices,
its wary streets, night-cobbled abyss.
We listened & learned to know its voices.

  ii

A Cerberus, voicing all its vices,
the hymns of the hyena & the cur.
We listened & learned to know its voices,
the erudite, the willfully obscure,

the hymns of the hyena & the cur,
the drunken rage, the sober sobriquet,
the erudite, the willfully obscure,
the whine, the baring of the teeth, the bay,

the drunken rage, the sober sobriquet,
the nom de guerre, the elegiac keen,
the whine, the baring of the teeth, the bay.
Junkyard bravado & junkyard chagrin,

the nom de guerre, the elegiac keen,
sounded off our stonework, our façades,
junkyard bravado & junkyard chagrin-
hounded culs de sac, like insomniac gods.

 

  iii

Sounded off our stonework, our façades,
we clutched each at the other’s head, our tired,
hounded culs de sac. Like insomniac gods,
even the most doggedly inspired,

we clutched each at the other’s head, our tired
hackles up, we bit each other’s knees.
Even the most doggedly inspired
poets must earn a closure, make a peace.

Hackles up, we bit each other’s knees.
Centuries, we cast out the carnivore.
Poets must earn a closure, make a peace-
offering piece-meal to the dogs of war.

Centuries, we cast out the carnivore,
our pastoral tableaux, re-counting sheep,
offering, piece-meal, to the dogs of war,
the restoration promised us in sleep.

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About the author

Mike Alexander has traveled Mexico’s highlands, Vancouver’s straits, the continentally altered states, Alaska, US Virgin islands, Borinquen, England, France, Amersterdam, Italy and Greece. His poems have recently appeared in Abridged, Measure, The Nervous Breakdown, Raintown Review, River Styx, and elsewhere.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok