Thomas Zimmerman

Nightmare Sonnet #15

You’re driving home in icy moonlight, straddling
that flat roadkill skunk below your moaning
tires, lapping mulled guilt oozing from
the cleft your marriage makes between your eyes.

Pale girlfriends curse within your house’s walls
and gnaw the nails on which your artworks hang
like weapons. When your rub your demon lover’s
scars, she rolls her Rs, and your reflection

bobs, a shrunken head in her saliva-
slicked incisors. Then it’s kiss, kiss, kiss,
your torsos grinding, hot gears misaligned

and belching putrid smoke—just like the stars
tonight. The blind mad god that built the engine
of the world is giggling at its wreckage.

can do

memory of a cartoon caption

hung-over morning
you sprayed paint in your armpits

then tried to deface a public monument
with a can of antiperspirant

Warm Ghosts

Star-crossed, cross-gartered, thinking hard about
dead bards. There’s music on and coffee left:
my dendrites and my synapses spark stout
as fuses treble-twined. My daydreams heft
the borrowed stories hammered into forms
beguiling and sublime: of villain, fool,
and queen; of women bucking culture’s norms;
young lovers reuniting; kings’ misrule;
heroic ambiguities. Hot blood,
cold tears commingle, pool to flood the worn
boards of my psyche. Words, words, words: the thud
of charged and fractured hearts; I’m healed, then torn,
then whole, then wounded fresh again. We’re just
warm ghosts: the verse might live; the rest is dust.

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