a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
The world is a virtuoso of yuck.
I try to scrape the current scene
off my arms and the bottom of my shoe.
It won’t budge, but only lingers,
even spreads over my exposed legs.
The great conception that was the world—
what happened to it?
Devolved, it has melted, is melting still,
becoming a raw substance
fundamental as water, a dirty waterway
rivuletting along like a deteriorated stream.
I like what’s new, but this regression
reeks of the old I thought was done for:
rejected and outgrown.
I cloister myself, refusing the streets,
the plazas that join mediocracy
with crime, decay, the disreputable.
I cower in my basement,
thinking the despicable too blind to spot me.
Yet there it stands, the trashiness of today,
peeking into the crawl space,
its lips dripping saliva
as it prepares to attack me
like a virus or a bacterium.
It wonders if I’m vulnerable enough
for it to inflict me
with its weapons of malaise.
I wonder if its strike is fatal.
Austin Alexis is the author of the full-length collection Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, 2014) and two previously published poetry chapbooks, both from Poets Wear Prada (Hoboken). His poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in Barrow Street, The Pedestal Magazine, The Journal, Paterson Literary Review, African American Point of View and elsewhere. His one-act monologue play “Do Not Call” was performed in a festival at Theater for the New City. His micro essay “Race Realm” is scheduled to appear in Cooper Square Letters.