Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
C S Cizek Mar 2015
I write poetry, drink coffee,
talk art, dig cinema,
wear t-shirts without graphics,
t-shirts without tags,
and screen-print my to-do lists
on everything.
I say all this as I blow-dry
the temporary tattoo on my wrist.
C S Cizek Mar 2015
You've got a flat screen mounted
on your kitchen wall with zip
ties and chewing gum.
There's an ashtray by your left
wrist, and a tattoo on your right
of a midnight street light sunshine
on a reupholstered love seat,
only used twice: once for the Eisenhowers,
once for last weekend watching Seinfeld
reruns, putting out Sonomas and *** talk
on the twill-like cushions in that dank
basement apartment w/ poster'd brick
Slayer, Sinatra, Sabbath, Springsteen,
a Space Cowboy, and something Sanskrit
above your box-springless mattress
about the cosmos spitting hellfire
next month because we didn't sacrifice
crumpled dollars yesterday, or Clinton
in the '90s. There are masses of humans paying
for the market collapse that sent 800,000
oranges rolling into the street, cold.
God-fearing couples are abstaining from ***
to save their souls from the ******
Rapture. Cable cords are being unplugged
in the middle of A Christmas Story so people
can hang themselves from church steeples
to avoid ruining their Chuck Taylor Loafer
Tennis Shoes in the molten **** suffocating
saplings and parking meters. Christ'll save
the righteous ones, the ones strung up closest
to the bell tower.

The parish hall radio says salvation's
only as good as a new haircut.
And that we should all pick up the warped
acoustic guitar in the cellar, and try
to form barre chords with our swollen
knuckles and arthritic wrists now
because punk music will be dead tomorrow.
Hell, the postman will be dead tomorrow,
and every little postcard, paycheck, and print
coupon he's carrying will be dead, too.

There is an ashtray by your left wrist,
and a tattoo on your right.
C S Cizek Mar 2015
For Téa Page

That was Téa’s window—third floor,
the one with the burnt-
sienna box of skeletal moss-
roses dangling over the side,
a cloth curtain tacked open,
and a padded chair—royal
blue against the white drywall.
She said she used to watch
Coudersport traffic tumble dry
on low past Charles Cole,
quickly sketching sedans
and minivans as they left the frame.

She told me all this at a high-school
basketball game, beneath a cork
board plastered with black-and-white
portraits of track girls with crochet
hooks for collarbones.

She showed me the healing scars
where she dug Swingline staples
into her ankle, like mismatched
thread in a worn blanket.
Téa was the thread.
Her parents wove her in
and out of psych wards, therapists’
notes, and Prozac prescription carbon
copies. Over: Dad snapping peanut necks in a bar somewhere.
    Under: Mom Keystone-soaked on the couch.
                    Over back to that third-floor window:
the only place Téa felt at home,
though I’ve never seen it—
I never even gave her my name.
C S Cizek Mar 2015
I painted the bedposts and bedside whiteboard
beside the baseboard, the outlet occupied
by a power cord, the bookshelf, both coffeemakers,
the power strip duct-taped to the brick wall,
the bush outside, the sidewalks, the brick,
the steel fences separating traffic
babble from pedestrian small talk,
then filled the wall in, gave the oak posts
enough depth to hold up four coats,
a backpack, and a shoe lace, swirled
in the condoms and coffee rings
inside the microwave, sketched a Sears
Apple-Jack-colored record player plugged
in, turning dusted Beatles records
like the cosmos, like the snow, squirrel-
hair, and leather-leaf bush outside.
I masked off the concrete, the asphalt,
and construction yard sidewalks,
penciling dead mosquitoes in the cracks
and $2.39 Rock Salt Slush along the edges.
I measured the fence, so each stake hit
the vanishing point like cigarette butts
in cement cereal bowls of cat litter.

But I ran out of paint before I could fill
the mouths of motorist **** yous,
the car barks chasing dogs
to the chain-link guard rail,
doorbells and mailbox flags
being flipped up, pay phones
clashing on metal receivers,
church bells, footsteps,
some guy breathing,
and a red-light button Wait.

Maybe it’s for the best.
C S Cizek Mar 2015
We had coffee last Wednesday.
She took hers black,
like her blouse, its buttons,
right-wrist bangles,
but not her earrings.
They were basil, wrapped
in a blue pool liner,
and glazed with July-sky.

The painstakingly swept seven-
o'clock tile floor was a February
beach by one: beige coast cloaked
by footstep salt dance mats,
and slush like snow cones
tossed on the boardwalk.
C S Cizek Feb 2015
Lunch rush was hell for the new girl,
stacking foamed cappuccino cups
and stirring spoons in a broken-handled
bus tub while trying not to slip
on soft ice and discarded lemon
wedges. She took our mugs,
and told us about a guy

—Dave, she said. I don't know.—who sat
with his friend, comparing *** to work
over the rusted cabinet tracks
of his warped fork scraping
his egg-caked plate.
Dave's friend was leaned in
with a cocked grin waiting
for one of Dave's "Classic Dave" punchlines,

which I'm guessing are all witty,
the funniest *******
things you've ever heard,
but there wasn't one
this time

because there's nothing funny about
a ***** intern cringing beneath the weight
of fat Dave and his brick
paperweight jammed in her back.
C S Cizek Feb 2015
I rolled my ankle last month,
but didn't pay much attention
to the swelling because it didn't feel
like nougat flesh with a pushpin
center. It felt like skin, tendons,
and fishnet bones.
But now, when I make my bed,
I have to waste two or three
soft pillows at the foot of it.
So, I'm left with the burgundy ones
from the couch that I tried to patch
with boot liner and an eighth-grade
comprehension of sewing.
I stuck a rat's thimble on my ring
finger, so I could push the straw-thin
needle through the beefy seam.
No such luck.
Finished the stitching
with a Band-Aid beneath
the thimble. And I left
the cheetah-print liner hanging
off like a piece of skin,
hoping it'd fix itself.
Next page