city of flaneuse, in crayolas
with lines from the Rolling Stones
Peach that used to be flesh-colored Indian Red (extinct)—now comes in colors head scarf in magenta, jogger barbie pinked comes dogwalker in aqua that’s marined comes behind the stroller raw-complected umber comes grayheads keyed to lanyards, lilac whiffed on walking sticks now comes scent of White Gardenia comes golden light that ponytails the runway forest greened comes laser lemon (like me) holding hands with dandelions now comes black girl marching, sweating affirmations See the sky...bluetiful!
don’t get excited, angels
tripped out of our minds we trashed the Paradise Motel rubbed our asses naked on the foggy shower stall that gave commandments like the voice of god on meth gee whiz those arches in St. Louis the dusty Texas plains with tall trucks smoking all the way to Needles where the Caddy starting knocking to the twang of Janis Joplin and we conked out on the off-ramp just outside the roomsto lit where Harry T. McBride lorded extra for rent a b&w tv with an antenna got seasick with the swabbies washed up from the Queen dusted in 2B with Okies popping Dramamine fucked up with the lowriders on reds setting jelly traps for roaches humping on the bed that dropped out of a closet til I puked up pink—kill it kill it kill it said the voices in my head
Kathleen Hellen’s collections include Meet Me at the Bottom, The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin, and Umberto’s Night, winner of the poetry prize from Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared widely in such journals as Arts & Letters, Conjunctions, The Evergreen Review, Massachusetts Review, New Letters, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Superstition Review, West Branch, and Witness, among others. Hellen’s awards include prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, as well as individual artist awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. She has served on the editorial board of Washington Writers’ Publishing House and as senior poetry editor for the Baltimore Review.