Issue 1 - Alumni


Messiah boiling off the backwash, courting soft
Cornered canals: brazen, arrant, tepid shower;
Messiah platinum, like the bristles of a brush
Buckling for the weight of the many lying down;
Messiah from the dust, burnt, coughed from the fat sun,
Yellow of a cusp of silk, messiah, alive,
Cantankerous in choler for a reddened brown
Embarrassment; Silk shaded in a neon dawn
Messiah, lofty croaks of frogs in taut evening
Glisten, softly played guitars across winter storms
Come ’round; messiah, still in the cerements still
Imagining the bones moving beyond the skin,
Tin daydreams shuffling to an idle, messiah
For everything (and we know it) hauling knuckles
Across the limestone and crouching along the gusts
Of the sidewalks; messiah begging for the strife
Of masking forgiveness from messiah, stranded,
Glamorous rocket ship: applause and a lighted
Walk-way; thimbles full of magic, messiah so
Cordial, approximate, placating the sorrow,
Benediction, formal thought, re-education
And drought at the base of their watchtowers and rapt
At the race of their pendulums swung, messiah.

Creeping from beneath the oak entreating, bereaved,
Wresting uproar ’round prated April, glorious
In gleaned infancy: messiah the pilgrimage,
Whiskey without water, heavy smoke lumbering
The paneling for the fan blades, messiah drones
Moan the chorus, messiah wore on roundabout,
Bound in a cannery, messiah the loyal
Draft from a trough, messiah interrupting flat
Plethora of fantasy, arms crossed on stained wood,
Chipped paint, and the aura of those rhododendrons,
Enthusiastic armfuls of rain, messiah
Donation: three ferns and a kick plate denoting
Messiah, formless in form, bleating casual
Meningitis, serving stutter to the spirit,
Honey and cloves: simple noise, white, of a beehive;
Messiah and you’re called out looking past them all,
Responding past the shouts, messiah, substance shot
Up, beaten, feet flat, longingly so, sacked and stacked
Along bade beauty raided, bent upon the knee;
Messiah waterfall, tumble down, messiah
Partly forgiven, the bone twisted, unbroken
Messiah insidious and preoccupied
With the prefix; messiah in print: repugnant.

In clemency, minted clover coalescing
In spent maple, messiah, in the flash of lights,
Like a silent film sliced up and sewn together
With amplifier cord, plugged into a fireball,
Spinning in the center of my fist, messiah
Strictly prohibited, without merit, without
Proper identification, permission’s end
And the seal of messiah bitter with moist bread;
Messiah with kid gloves on a bent rhapsody
Sending the guards through the moat and on up over;
Messiah cannot, all included, pass by for
Individual misjudgments breathing a stowed
Sympathy out basted lungs, messiah, more now
Than ever, messiah my god, calamity
Unfolding perfect English, tuberculosis;
Messiah so we bury the old discussions
Of usury, new cars in new colors, our aunts
And their cats, the songs of sleep and climb, messiah
Emphatic, rubbing smoothly and smoothing over
The arrangement, folded in wrinkles, so estranged
From the pulse beneath, messiah, stranded, questions
The scars, shouldering the immediate breaching
From behind, pulling the stray thread from the cracked holes.

Beneath a warm blanket, smoldering the engine
With a spray bottle, messiah stuck from the grave,
Declaring war in the red light, and messiah
Natural and unmitigated; messiah
Stupid, standing ferocious, calling forth about
The spade, shimmering simmer over a cauldron
Of pell-mell, messiah, snidely hooded over
A kettle drum, pounding errant sincerity,
In solace for nudity’s pelisse, messiah
Rustling over a sneaking fog, having just missed
Loquaciousness curled about clarity’s shoreline;
Messiah for the hunt, pernicious and gnarled teeth
Glaring, lips bloated, lobes swaying, stay messiah;
Methodology analyzed like a portly
Forgotten gentleman saving these pills for when:
Messiah the messenger licking stamps, matching
Addresses and notes crumpled in an attic box;
Damp-heated notion of a personality
And the brambles blown afield, mown down messiah,
The ridged mountains skulking the bones of the dried up
Messiah to the stick and stick nest messiah,
Skin scratched beneath the raiment, then you’ll carry them
Flatten them, trample them damned on the stark wet sound.

Christopher Smith received his MA in Literature and Creative Writing from Hofstra University in 2007.  His poetry and translations have appeared in The New York QuarterlyAsheville Poetry Review and Diner,among others. He teaches creative writing at River Valley Community College in New Hampshire and serves as Principal of a private Catholic school.