9.4 / April 2014

Two Poems

Shopping Cart Lives

listen to this poem


NZ, if you’re awake/able
to see this message,                            I went to bed,

woke up

late, went for early returns,
but soon remembered: our alarms need 
to set, for your daughter is


in competition, and my son stumbles to pee.
We enter and leave,
these backs all snap-trawled. Setting:

New Jersey,

U-S-A, if you’re able/awake
to see                           this message,                            I’m contained
in a thread full of jotting lines


behind triangles, arrowed-out of one arm rested,
Can I ask you now: Will we collide of our making?
Something is lost in the overhead aisle,

in the supermarket

the inscription reads “in Moose Bed.”
Can we caption out the code?
And how much younger, for us to float through

parking lanes

where all was                         darkness before,
but now inside an R-rated movie
where for no reason, the little boy who sees

dead people,

sits inside his cart and shakes off fear
as his mother pushes the trolley,
running, picking up her pace,               she
rushes and he closes his      eyes, hands high above 

in the jello-wind      

velocity,            the speed of kindness               
smashes his hair—enough for two people

long enough                 to slow,         the         poem
down              a  moment                 

to       think  

about how 16-hours-worth-of-font-type-difference
tells us                            it’s nobody’s fault,
but Geography’s,

and Time.

How Razors Worked

listen to this poem
     Music by Beatsmith Medore

When my daughter shaved her cowboy
boots to see how razors worked
she tried to colour in the missing leather
with a felt tip pen…
I only noticed this deception at the checkout line,
looking up at supermarket ceilings, at the light-road danger,
of four-fucked lanes,             
roll                   breathe            streamline                    turn
and the reflection back:
a gossip of carts at counters 6, 12, and 9,
where I see the Rorschach Olympics, 
interpret the swirls of her swinging boot,
dangling in the plastic basket of a trolley-seat,
the perforated back-rest just like a music stand,
its blueprints propped up on spider-mesh and harness.
Because it’s convenient.
Because we have two hands. 
Her boots sway like an organ grinder until the heels tap back
against the cage
of light sounds and lids, of razor kettles throbbing, 
this thumb once clamped down on ovals to press
long enough so my skin would burn, peel off, 
sticking to plastic that acted like metal.
I used to wonder if I’d ever find one person 
out in the tectonic mass of globe-thaw cold
who could raise the right colour to heal my pain. 
I found a pen and it drops from your pocket.

Jamez Chang is a hip hop artist, poet and editor living in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. His work has appeared or is forthcoming inUnderground Voices, Bartleby Snopes, FRiGG, Prime Number, Menacing Hedge and Thrush Poetry Journal. He is working on an album, Lit Hop, in which he fuses hip hop with literary text and the voices of poets and writers. He is currently Editor of Flash Fiction at Counterexample Poetics. Visit: http://jamezchang.wordpress.com/ Rachel J. Fenton was born in South Yorkshire and currently lives in Auckland. Winner of the University of Plymouth 7th Annual 'Short FICTION Competition', she was shortlisted for 'The Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize' and won 'AUT's Creative Writing Prize' for her graphic poem 'Alchemy Hour'. AKA Rae Joyce, she works as a graphic artist and comics creator and is featured in New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels (Hicksville Press). She blogs at: http://snowlikethought.blogspot.com/
9.4 / April 2014