MARVIN SHACKELFORD


 

We Got Together and Talked About Redheads


Sometimes the flower breaks blue
and open under the sun and I
kiss it,
I kiss it like I mean it,
and its mean taste showers
battery acid. My throat.
Alkaline is the taste of blood.
But only in this plant world
it’s fine, a natural response
to nonbiologic stimulus.
No, no—the angry petals
are full of green,
fully greened
and never wanting
for water.
Lips of the parts
hidden in folds
and unnamable for me,
shit. I guess
if I was painting
this would be brilliant.
The flower would be brazen
and all over its nighttime releases
I wouldn’t taste the way
love trickles and tricks
its way free of being
love.

 
 by Jason Polan

by Jason Polan

 

 

Old Mountain Cat


Her voice takes a tilt of whiskey
and the dance floor dips
us again, press of her body soaked
through my shirttails

She’s determined to run me
with the old mountain cat
of her thighs, and I’m inclined
to agree it’s bad luck--

we could have had something.
In her car the radio fills
with fish, fossils
she’s ignoring, I’m denying,

and the field she drives us toward
is a motel room in reverse,
the parking lot that flanks
any careful funeral home.

We twist hands, slit in her arms
like loud roses in a silent parlor.
How I tell love it’s love,
and then it’s gone.


 

Staccato


You tried to convince me
wise nightclub managers
refuse air conditioning on purpose:

It sells more liquor in summer.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
You had to show me how

flexible you are on your feet,
stoned like the neon fixture of a promise
that lying liquid is your true skill.

It wouldn’t have mattered if you danced
all night, let your breasts
shimmy out of the slim top

you insist you need in the heat.
I’d still feel the hollow staccato
of time signatures overhead,

and when your steps slowed you’d hear
the thrum of the ages, too, and regret
the nakedness of this conversation. 


 

BIO


MARVIN SHACKELFORD 
holds an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Montana. His stories and poems appear in such journals as Cimarron Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Confrontation, Southern Poetry Review, Armchair/Shotgun, and Kestrel. He resides in the Texas Panhandle and earns a living in agriculture.