11 | susan lewis

this is when (cavebound)


1. This is when you model your pet tricks,

my fine, demonic muse. Tainted & otherwise beg I, never choosy. For what’s to do but breathe in toxins & perseverate, that is follow our fearless leader, another aging aunt with violet hair, violent if inviolate. Now validate or quiver, she counsels, sharp as sticks with her poisoned pointers striking easy mark my words, when I make them. When I make them fly.

2. Beyond good & other fairytales,

be they Grim or gleaming in fool’s micaceous glory, faux glam like spam & cluttered, heart-clutched in banal vanity while mass-hysterical pump-hyped hopeful friends & romans lend us their capitals, grand & tawdry as Suki or your favorite figment—

3. Wandering, now,

unless you know what’s good for. By “good” you might mean “know,” & round & round like no tomorrow, when you could use a hug or something stiffer. Share & share alike, meaning more to explain before the untimely end of this awkward juncture. Or send forth brains to clash & conquer. Try logic or match the manufacture of thick air & other secrets known or somewhat flavored. By “known” you might mean weighty beyond this flighty scale

4. Or slay me sweetly with your stiletto’d stalk,

track my trials on this trail of tendered triumphs, trick me, trap me with your treacle treats. Why announce or complain? Why wax & wane? When all is semblance & your temptress tricks more feeble flickers on the dusky wall?


false promise


1. Someday, when all of this is over,

& other parlor tricks. Like smoke to ash. Or ask & ask again. Sporting craftwork & roughened fingers, skin raveled & unraveled, a living shroud for lonely bones. Penelopes still, tough & stringy, lax in demand. Patience-blind, industry-distrait. Til a boat bobs up on beach to break the boring beat.

2. The ties that bine

& wrap your neck like barber poles, bitters hopped & bothered + a head for days numbered to last until they don’t. Bear with me & sip the gist of aught that ales you, pale & wondering that no birds sing. Like mead to the measured temper, tempered to the point of melting, down & out of patience if not patently amused.

3. Like JK’s sparrow scratching

out its mute message in the desiccated sedge. The virgin negatively capable as any benevolent trickster dropping knights & wights like breadcrumbs to mislead the studious lost. Sacs of testosterone sapped by the succubus whispering walk this way

4. while the good girl waits

& time stops & goes on gendered tracks. Or


susan lewis is the author of How To Be Another (Cervena Barva Press, 2012), At Times Your Lines (Argotist, 2012), Some Assembly Required (Dancing Girl Press, 2011), Commodity Fetishism, winner of the 2009 Cervena Barva Press Poetry Award, and Animal Husbandry (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her poetry and fiction have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in a vast number of journals. She is Poetry Editor of The Mad Hatters’ Review and co-edits The Mad Hatters’ Review Blog. Her website is susanlewis.net.