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Six Poems by Alex James Williams

Updated: Dec 13, 2022


Jest


The worker sits

on a wobbly legged stool,

on uneven cobblestones,

whetting their playfoam sword

with a pet rock.


They are guarding a plastic lunchbox,

with a fiddly clasp,

In that box is a juice pouch

with no straw

What other wonderful things?


Two faces,

bathed in light

the color of fools good,

smizing at each other,

opening their lips in o-shapes.


Gibbons at the zoo,

one of the gibbons

is just a scared child in a costume;

the other is a scared gibbon

with the strength to rip out a boy’s heart.




Organic


Inward facing feet.

The villagers swarm punchmeat,

kick his shins a friendly blue.


A wilting grin toward the battering line,

absent are the eyes of neon signs.

Sagging, hope-parched sweat sockets,


tremble with window-shopper’s amazement.

Grant the weary their sedation,

too much smiling makes the boots heavy.


A pint, knuckledustered into a clear bag,

“WHY WAS MY LIFE BAD!?”

Goes the ancient harvest scream.




Recycling


Like a magician, I find myself pulling

beer can packaging from the blowhole

of a bottle-nosed dolphin. A woman passes by

and shrieks at me “You killed it, you psycho!”


Reems and reems of plastic rings in a volume that at first is shocking,

And then so funny I get a stitch from laughing.

And then for so long that an onlooker turns to a friend and says

‘Someone should really do something about this’ and walks away.


I keep pulling and pulling until it’s all I’ve ever known,

the feeling of flimsy plastic cutting into my fingers,

the heavy body of the dolphin pressing down on my legs.

There is a rhythm to it, that I start to recognize as a song.


I hum the melody.

A crowd of people gather briefly

to give me words of encouragement

and criticize my technique.


I am pulling, grasping, tugging,

And I have forgotten why.

I look into the dolphin’s kind eyes for an answer,

The eyes have been eaten by maggots.

The thing has been dead for some time now

It’s fin has drooped and then putrefied

Now runs down the side of its blubbery body

Like honey in a cereal advertisement


I am pinned down by the carcass

I lay back, the black salt waves lap around my ears.

The cold sand flat against the back of my neck and

my legs are rotting now, too.


It is just me, and the dolphin, and the plotting moon.

The tide is rising. I am humming the song and the lyrics are

‘You killed it, you psycho!’

If I can just find the end of this then I know the dolphin will live.





You love it


A poorly-tailored skinsuit soufflé,

ancient prostitute, wizened legs splayed,

aching turned hum in her rheumatoid hips.


The bearings on the throat taxi begin to rattle,

A bunch of bullied throwing metal at the non metal;

The real soldier is saving their paintballs.


Building internment camps

out of the same elastic facts

as the squeaking maw of the nest-fallen chick.


“THERE’S BEEN A MASSACRE.”

All the boxman can muster

“It couldn’t have been me.”





Country Club


I


All of the chart-men compare their charts,

whilst a monitor made of crushed bones

produces a reading.

A long white coat scribbles,

then we are to be measured.


II


“Why they will be 5 ft 6 when fully grown”

oh dear

“Why they might have an Ulnar rotated slightly off

and well you know what they say Jacky boy,

rotated ulnar very bad for the golfing”

and Jacky boy throws up onto his chequered trousers,

crumples further the crumpled brown paper bag in his hairy fist.


III


The impotence has been passed on,

now no longer a boy,

just a pale, uncoordinated burden on the expenses.

In my day you would gun down a whole forest of strangers

before acknowledging how thin your wrists were.





Can’t tell me nothing


I am the god of sideways

wrapped in a stolen bath robe

bellowing a TED talk in reverse


You are just a bad origami Jeff Bezos

The 7th best sea

Criticism like a stringless harp


My shaving foam castle needs the battlements

repainting, We all become formless

Just calm down would you?


Hard to sell god with crumbs down your shirt

No afterlife for me

An icy tomb - but in the popsicle sense




Alex James Williams is a writer and poet whose writing focuses on absurdity, masculinity, and class. His work has appeared in Skin: Poetry and Flash Fiction, The Writers Cafe, It’s Complicated, and the Columbia University School of the Arts Anthology. He is from the United Kingdom and graduates from Columbia’s MFA (Fiction) program in 2023.

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