8.06 / June 2013

Three Poems

The Boys at the Warhol Museum

Mouths made for Super
8, clavicles and elbows racketing
brimful with the grain
of basement porn, flash
of wrist luminescent as a blowjob:
galleries of silver clouds
and skinny jeans. The things
I want to tell you all start
with rain. Today I am a test
pattern for nostalgia, and
you are engines
of disaster, darling candy pop
songs quick with nicotine,
three minutes of bliss.
Deliver me from renovation,
from mopey architects of brace
and girdle, knives that skim
the blistered junk of age.
Let me doze among my
Polaroids and poisons, corrupt
with ghosts, my tongue a stolen
billfold, surrendered blameless
to your gritty jaws.

Ransom Note for the Unlovely

It is the summer of missing
girls, of great betrayals on small
islands, of blondes folded
into envelopes of desert heat,
fluorescent bathtubs bucketed
with ice. We abandon our beds
to neuralgia, take to our living
room floors in nests of unwashed
sheets and Law and Order
reruns, while out in the world,
beauty queens drop through
trapdoor honky-tonks. Cheer-
leaders tumble in sodium arcs past
ghosting bleachers. Remaindered,
we trundle red empty
hearts through Target, gathering
doorbells, sunglasses, shower
rings, our bunion feet, such
unloved anchors, having proved
too crooked, or the asphalt
cleft too thin: a graceless save.
Tonight, as petals confetti
shadowed lawns like evidence
flags, and grills burn into cocktail
twilight, everything we own
is secondhand plastic, smutty
with prints, even our alibis, even
our skins.

Rust Belt Gay Bar

Some boys still wear Black
Flag tee shirts, and some girls
still smoke cloves, and sometimes
when a lighter sparks too close
our structural damage
is obvious, but all the mirrors
are cloudy and last call’s distant
as a decent paycheck,
and if they’ve shut the Garden
Theater, where lips bloomed smack
from soiled corners, and the Arena
Baths burned down, and all
the places that we used to dance
are gone – the Stock Exchange
and Skylights, Pegasus, the Eagle,
Jazi’s, Anthem with its Blair Witch
basement – then men still cruise
the Loop, and all the rest-
stop trade on 79 still smells of
gasoline and onions, and we have this
old tin ceiling on a Sunday
night and a job until they
take it back and the mortgage
on a house no one wants (not even
us), and yes, I’m older,
but my heart is a stubborn
iamb, bloody meter clicking toward
its cartoon flag, but maybe not
tonight, while dollar drafts
slop from plastic cups
as strippers sock-stomp atop
the plywood bar, and someone
still loves Billy Idol, and our beards
clock grayly in.

Erik Schuckers studied literature and writing at Allegheny College and the University of Sheffield. He has worked as a janitor, an apple picker, a medical records clerk, and as a bookseller in the US and UK, and he currently lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have appeared in Assaracus.
8.06 / June 2013