Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #4                        Page 54
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The Gray Hills Beyond

4th & Dudley actually
are, as it turns out,
downtown’s crumbling businesses,
but I don’t have time right now
to mount a soapbox
to spout my classic clowns-in-
Congress sermon or
feed the masses. In fact, I
have what’s left of a half hour
to scarf down a ham
sandwich & some soggy chips,
then go to Walgreens
for Dramamines for a trip
home this weekend for my high
school reunion. Things
sure have changed, I think, trudging
along cluttered drug-
store aisles of shelves filled mostly
with nostalgia. Funny how
condoms are right out
in the open now, the way
sex should be, so
I don’t have to buy cherry
Lifesavers, Q-tips, 60
watt ornamental
bulbs, pipe cleaners, nuts, a deck
of cards, a No.
2 lead pencil & syringe
before asking the checker, blue
hair in a beehive,
for the extra-large lubri-
cated ribbed ultra
thins. I’m nearly over all
that nowadays, what with how
years beget years which
beget shitty jobs which be-
get abandoned dreams
which beget insomnia
which begets my achy head
which reminds me to
pick up aspirins on my way
to the checkout, &
just in case, Trojan Twisters,
if I get lucky after all.

                     Matt Morris __
The Devil’s Playbook

Lying on the couch
& watching the game, my bare
feet dangling over
the arm, I must have looked like
a hot dog too big for its
bun to Jake, who felt
a bit peckish, I’d
suppose, seeing how he nearly
bit my foot off. Damn it all
to hell,
I yelled, bitch slapping
his long, scaly snout
with the butt of my rifle.
I’d hoped to wait
for halftime, the Jingoists
& the Racist Epithets
tied at nothing each,
but I’d never last that long.
Crocs get cranky when
hungry, so tearing my shirt
to use as a tourniquet,
I hobbled into
the kitchen to make lunch, Jake
nipping at my heels.
Well, heel. Opening the fridge,
I grabbed one of the bundles
I bought this morning,
unrolled the blood-soaked paper,
& held up, just out
of Jake’s reach, a brown war
baby which the butcher had
cut to retain its
humanity: slits for eyes,
a gash for a mouth,
& delicately carved lines meant
to represent baby hair.
Such fine attention
to detail received nada
for crocs, despite possessing
extraordinary vision
as predators, lack
an eye for art, but as soon
as it left my hand,
Jake engulfed it & scurried
away to his hidey-hole,
wagging his tail so
violently, he took my good
leg out on me &
boom! Down I went, hitting
the floor like a nuclear
bunker buster. I
couldn’t get up & feeling
vulnerable without
my gun, I dialed 911.
The EMTs called me nuts
when I let it slip
that I fed my pet croc war
babies. It’s not too
bad, I tried to explain, if
you’re willing to shop around.
But I doubt they heard
over the siren as we
sped to the hospital
across town, where I serve
on the board of directors.

        Matt Morris__

From wherever you are

From wherever you are
Walk me again in the morning amble,
Kicking leaves and picking apples.

My eyes are yours to use
Scan the horizon
Dwell on a haphazard rock pile
Or a scraggly branch
And see the beauty no one else saw.

I learned from you how to see.
You marveled. I grew in wonder.

From wherever you are
Your ears hear again
The rustling leaves’ music.
And we smell the autumn crisp,
And walk in your tree garden.

Your laugh augers sunshine.
I am happy to see you again.

Seeing the morning day as you saw--
Remembering it so--
Eases the loss of you.

        Kristin Robie 2016__