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Peter B Mar 2018
I was circled today
by a gang of squirrels
in Terrace Gardens in Richmond.
There were like five of them.

They were getting closer and closer
and I was scared
that they would jump on me
and worse.
But they didn't even try.
It was an innocent,
very formidable gang.

They were running around me,
trying to find out
what I am:
A monster?
A big nut?
But then they quickly run off
to their squirrel world.

I still wonder why
they greeted me with happiness,
not with fright...
Maybe they realized
that I am on their side.
K F Nov 2017
Forget Portland and Austin and Santa Cruz.
Those famously strange places,
where the tourists gawk at local weirdos.
Here is not there.

Here is the place of advice such as:
“When life gives you meatballs put a wig on a dog.”
—True story.

Here is the place where:
“With all good things in life you just have to wipe the bird **** off.”  

The place where steel and marble Confederate ghosts,
watch the wealthy renovate their westward homes along a cobblestone road.

Where paintings are propped to rot up in alleys,
and buzzing twenty-somethings on their way back from a show,
shake it and tilt it and carry it home.
—Gilded frame and all.

This is the place of painted concrete where walls are canvases,
and red bricks pop out of the ground,
the tree roots poking through to trip you.

Here’s where the People’s Beer comes from Milwaukee,
but we replaced the R in ribbon with here,
and sell it by the caseload when it rains and when it’s Tuesday.

Where young people go to find themselves getting lost becoming someone else,
remixing history to not admit naivety,
before they’ve been sandpapered through experience.
        —To a core.

This is an ink-stained but not splattered place.
Where lines are careful, permanent and abundant,
and on Fridays can cost 13 bucks.

Here is the place where people roam like that restaurant rabbit:
listless and nomadic and stuck.

Where there’s a wild streak in its heart that follows the tracks,
and cuts the city in half.

This is the place that Carvers itself out into cultures,
and you can be from the Bottom,
or proud to be a Rat.  

Here is where you night-drive over the bridge,
see the skyline and feel restlessly content.

Here is home.
—For now.
Andrew T Apr 2017
friday morning,
we wake up hungover
from last night's binge drinking,
because even though we love our jobs,
no one really wants to work for their entire lives,
when so many things are unanswered,
perverted, and misconstrued.  
hashtag all of those millennial catchphrases,
to garner hearts from your friends
who you haven't seen in years,
friends who work in San Fran,
Chicago, Greenwich Village.
crank up your laptop speakers,
as Neon Indian's Polish Girl
plays that **** synth,
and take a drag from a P-Funk,
before your Grandma hits your
shoulder with the newspaper daily—
right after she speaks in Vietnamese,
asking you what is your name,
because she has Alzheimer’s.
but in these social media days,
isn't everything that is worth mentioning to your sister,
everything that is worth fighting for,
everything that is ****** in this world,
on the internet (maybe, just Twitter tbh).
screenshot the cat meme you like,
save it,
share it,
move on.
if only she wasn't allergic to cats,
maybe it could have worked out.
that was 7 years ago.
—*** ova it. Then, mix your red bull with your coffee,
because the next 10 hours of your life,
will be revolving around caring about people
other than your ungrateful and ingratiating ***.
don't cry,
when I say good-bye.
stay for a while, under the shade of the rooftop
where the deejay spins Frank Ocean
and Frank Sinatra records,
as everyone is drinking scotch, or Yuengling,
and ashing over the veranda bansister,
; the bad boys try to open their souls
to the good girls. and the bad girls,
reveal too much to the good boys.
we devoured those drugs, as though
they were jelly beans from a convenience store,
and then we broke into the store
and ate some more.
break the coals on top of the ******,
puff, puff, pass—
inhale, exhale,
fit the deformed piece
back into the Dinosaur puzzle,
and crawl back into bed,
pull the covers over
your trembling body,
shut your eyes,
and reflect,
for the day is heavy with regret
and unsaid things.
Terry Collett Jan 2017
Tilly went to Richmond
the same time
you went for the day,
Benny's mother said.

Did she?
Benny said,
trying not to react,
trying to pretend
it was news
to him, too.

Yes her mother said
in passing,
his mother said.

Fancy that,
her being there
and me not knowing,
he said.

Yes, but I suppose
it is a big place though,
his mother said.

Yes it is sort of ,
Benny said.

His mother carried on
with preparing dinner
and said no more.

But she knows I bet,
Benny mused,
walking out
of the sitting room
and up to his bedroom
to change out
of his work clothes.

Just as well
Tilly's mother didn't know
or there'd be hell to pay,
he mused,
having changed
and standing by the window.

Tilly had stayed
at her uncle's place
while he was away
and Benny had
visited the day
and they looked
around Richmond
then made love in the bed
in the spare room
before he returned
on the bus home.

Birds were in the orchard.

The sun was orange.

The sky a blue
becoming red.

He smiled
as he replayed
the scene with Tilly
in his head.
A YOUNG MAN MUSES ON A DATE IN RICHMOND IN 1965
Andrew T Jan 2017
The radio
plays a different song
depending on your mood.
So I make you turn sour grapes
and suddenly Jimmy Eats World
hits the speakers.

I wait; nothing great ever happens.
Blame it on me,
as I drive under the tunnel.
You put the window down,
light a cigarette, and tell me,
"I put my soul into this art ****."

I don't know how to respond
to that statement, so I keep driving.
The smoke leaks out,
covering the night like a quilt.
You ask me, "Where'd you leave the drugs?"

I don't respond.
Tap my shoulder until I twitch
and say, "Cut it out."
But this time, you open the door,
step out to the road,
and ditch me to go watch "La La Land"
with your ex.

I go home and make a tuna melt.
The sunlight is fading and nothing
good is playing on TV.
The couch pulls out into a bed
and there I shut my eyes.

And I tumble into dreams,
dreams where you exist
to hold me up,
instead
of pulling me down.
Andrew T Dec 2016
I met this girl at the bus top across from ironhouse condiminums on west broadstreet, and we started talking and I took the wrong bus just to talk to her. I didn’t even have the right amount of change to give to the bus driver. I needed $1.50 and I was thirty-five cents short. So I walked up the asile and asked the cute girl with raybands and lavish brunette hair if she had some change. She smiled and gave me a quarter and a dime. Excellent, I’m in. After I gave the bus driver the bus fair, I leaned back in a chair and I talked to her about literature, writing, reading, poetry. Her name was Anna and her favorite book happened to be “Catcher and The Rye,” she had stacks of notebooks from grade school until now, and she journaled each day in the morning.

We stopped at Willow Lawn and I said: bye. I recommended to her some novels and I wrote down my email on a ripped out pocket book journal page. I passsed it to her, saw her hand close over the note. And then, as I got off the bus, noticed she crumpled up the note.

Later on, I came across a free sandwich, some bowls, a coors light, and a deep tissue massage (my friend is a massage therapist in training; half black; half white; #winning). So imagine being twisted and getting a deep tissue massage with creamy oil lotion. She had this cushioney tan bed to lay down on and relax.

The two girls Rachel and Rachael sang with perfect pitches these great lyrics. We smoked sticky icky *** from a bowl and a plastic orange ****. I pulled up on the carbueretor and vacummed the mushroom cloud of smoke into my lungs, sending radioactive pleasure into my body. A bowl and stem apparatus. Mouth piece. A water pipe or a **** was smokey jazz brass saxophone. The black gas washed by murky water and condensed icecubes sent me spiraling down.

So, I ended up riding on the GRTC bus, smacked sauce, and I wrote all these great ideas, and weird *** descriptions of the bus interior. Went home, changed clothes, swag black VCU shades with neon yellow sides, and a fresh Kanye West Bear shirt with Japanese eyes and shutter sunglasses. I walked down Shafer street and came up to the compass and Hibbs hall. Outside there was a crowd of people freestyle battling, and I enterered the contest. I became a compeitior and I was the challenger, there was no champion yet. I won one round, lost a round, and then went O.T. sudden death overtime. The whole time I was still high, I was carrying around a VCU Cary Street Gym aluminum water bottle with a black insulated sleeve. So I ended up losing, my friend tapped my shoulder and I said whatup and we walked to subway, and I got a foot long Buffalo Chicken sandwich.

We went to his friend’s townhouse on Main and North Harrison Street. I drank a cup of Pineapple and Rasberry Burnetts *****. We went down Cary street, and took a right on Pine Street and then we went to this Delta Chi Fraternity House. There was a kalidescope discoball with rainbow lights. A bar serving jungle juice from an orange gatorade water cooler. I silded my way into the dance floor and turned around and say this girl who I knew. She was someone I taught tennis to when I was an instructor in high school. Needless to say she got extremely attractive. So I was dumbstruck and trying to process all this **** in my mind, and I told her straight up, “Aiight we’re dancing.” And wow. I taught her to stroke the ball well from the tennis lessons. She wore these pink ******* bunny ears and a white dove cardigan and a black halter top, with a dark mini skirt.
Terry Collett Aug 2016
Tilly got back from her uncle's
place in Richmond, and her mother
said, I hope you left your uncle's
place tidy and not in a mess? Tilly

nodded her head, and said, yes it
is tidy as I found it, and Uncle was
pleased and said thank you for
looking after the place while he

was away. Her mother scrutinized
her. So what did you do while you
were there? Had a good look around
Richmond, sat in the park, watched

Uncle's TV, went to bed.(She then
visualized Benny in bed with her
and they having it away). I went to
Richmond once, her mother said,

unsmiling even at a memory, too
crowded, too many people. I liked
it, Tilly said,(pushing from her mind
she and Benny ******* in front

of each other slowly and suggestively).
Didn't meet anyone you knew there,
I suppose? her mother said, unpacking
Tilly's bag with soiled washing and

the odd girly thing. No of course not,
well apart from Uncle, Tilly replied,
trying not to think of she and Benny

walking hand in hand in the park and
French kissing). Well you are back now,
and have work tomorrow, so best have
a bath, and I will put these things in

the wash, and her mother went off,
and Tilly thought of she and Benny
in the bath together and washing each
other, and afterwards having *** again

and needing to bath once more. Work
tomorrow, she mused, O what a bore.
A GIRL BACK FROM RICHMOND AND HER MOTHER'S INTERROGATIONS IN 1965.
Andrew T Aug 2016
You painted your eyelids with green velvet and ruby red. The fractured mirror kept your insecurity at bay, as sparkle blue glitter poured all over your head from a little tin can.

We drove across the bridge, and through Shocko bottom, stopping at a nearly deserted parking lot sanctioned by an honor code. We double parked behind an Acura sedan, and waited as you snorted half a gram of Molly off your manicured fingernail into each
nostril.

You took in a deep breath, smoked a Parliament, and blew smoke out the
window. After ten minutes we shambled out of the car with our purses tucked under our armpits, and red fire dying in our eyes. When we reached the Hat Factory venue, the line disappeared from our view and we walked to the entrance where two bouncers were posted up. The tall giants marked our hands with black sharpie ink, drawing a large, bold “X” on each one.

Once inside the spacious warehouse, we ascended a white marble staircase and paid a ten dollar entry fee. Another doorman took out his marker and drew a red line, crossing through the dark black “X” that was drying on our hands. You broke off and away, going
straight to the bar. The bartender asked what you wanted to drink, and you requested water. She smiled and gave you a red solo cup filed with tap water and ice-cubes. After you thanked her, she handed you a bright pink glow stick that you wrapped around your forearm, fitting a figure 8 around your skin like a cloth sleeve.

On the stage was a young man dressed in neon colored plaid and skinny jeans. He climbed up a tall stepladder and jumped from the top, belly flopping on a beautiful African Queen bodacious gluteus Maximus, daggering deep into her soaking black spandex, the decadent bodies swimming on top of each other, stroking and staining the pink gymnastic mat with hot sweat and salt. A huge beach ball colored with red, white,
yellow, and blue pinwheel stripes sailed through the air over the balcony, smacking into a deathly thin model who was smoldering her Parliament cigarette into a clear glass
ashtray.

Mollywopped undergraduates gathered around circles where reggae artists harpooned inflatable black and white killer whales with thrift store bought switchblades.

Laying flat on his stomach was an Asian photographer snapping away with his Nikon digital SLR camera, pale hipsters in ***** black blazers and black fedoras hurling red and purple plastic assault rifles into the intense mass of worry-stricken college students carefree for the moment, gyrating and grinding to the womp-womp bass booming from rectangular speakers that squished in a disc jockey and his hardwood stand with his mixer and two turn tables. He scratched the needle along the worn edge of a battle-scarred vinyl record. His fingers zigzagged the sliders, pressed down on buttons, turned up the volume knobs.

Some hyper-maniac golden child bounced around the dance floor, sneaking up behind university sophomores mesmerized by the makeshift floodlights in the rafters blinking on and off. Conversations were made in the head, but never opened up when the girl approached. Stuck up super senior girls with heavy black mascara and matted eyelashes raised their eyebrows and swatted away ***** flies with a wave of their lotioned hand.

***** girls dress in high heels and septum piercing, their ear cartilage stabbed through by unclean metal. A rude person bumps into the Hyper-maniac golden child, causing the golden child to shove squarely into the rude person’s back. Name-calling ensues, threats fired and received, looks exchanged and bitterness rose over any other tension in the fuming room.

In the far right corner were a couple of kids making out; they’d just met.

Walking away from the fight, sidling between sweaty **** people, the golden child swayed upstairs to the second floor, passed another bar and balcony tables, chairs, and dance platforms.
He went through a swinging door and joined a conversation between
a bunch of strangers. Wary around the golden boy, he starts practicing his standup Comedy routine, almost bombing on the first joke. Cheap jacks burned bright orange after a blue flame ignited the tapered paper end. Arms snared around the golden child’s body. Oh how nice! It was his friend from Modern Grammar class, he used to sit next to
her in the second row and copied homework answers from the blackboard with her.
She was happy.
And he was happy.
Terry Collett Jul 2016
I was on the bus
back from Richmond
where I stayed
a day and night
with Tilly
at her uncle's place.

I sat looking
out the window.

Richmond miles away
and so was Tilly.

She'd shown me
around Richmond
the day before
(after a quick
bash at ***),
had dinner out,
saw the sights,
walked in the park
in the evening,
then back to her
uncle's place,
watched TV,
then bed.

I saw her
in my mind
as the bus drove along,
******* in that room,
each piece of clothing
taken off
with a teasing motion,
then folded
on a chair,
then she watched
as I undressed
humming a tune
as I did so.

We got into the bed
and lay there.

She said:
what if my mother
could see us now?

I didn't want to even
imagine that,
but she did,
it seemed as if
it was some kind
of get back
at her mother
to just imagine her mother
seeing us there
making out.

After the second time,
we just lay there
looking at the moon
through the window,
her head on my shoulder,
me kissing her head,
wondering what
her mother would say
if she'd seen us
making love
in the uncle's
guest bed.
A BOY AND GIRL IN RICHMOND 1965
Terry Collett Jul 2016
Tilly's uncle's place
at Richmond
was pretty run down
but it was functional

he had invited her down
to house mind
while he
was away a few days

she met me
off the coach
(she'd gone down
on the coach
the day before)

glad you're here
I don't like
sleeping here
on my own
she said
how long
can you stay?

I can stay
until tomorrow afternoon
then must get back
I said

that's something
she said
Uncle will be back
the day after

shall we have
a look around?
I said

no afterwards
she said

after what?
I said

I want you
and don't want
to miss out
in any opportunity
while you're here  
she said

so she took me back
to her uncle's place
and took me
to the bedroom
she had been given
and straight away
she began to undress

come on then Benny
she said
a golden opportunity
while we can

so I undressed too
and soon we were
on the bed
and after a few moments
of foreplay
we were away
and in broad daylight too
no fumbling in some
hay barn or woodland shade
wondering if someone
might see us  

here we were alone
and with just
yes yes yes
and the odd
grateful moan.
A BOY AND GIRL IN RICHMOND IN 1965
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