Two Poems by Monica McClure



Sounds like Oz

Sounds like someone’s dream of a home
Buried in chaparral set crooked on some

Dry old caliche
Where the sky burns as if in pain
Where your irises pale
From contact with historical talcum

El Chapo built that really cool fucking tunnel
Up to the door of an empty Arizona hotel

With its smelter-bought Tiffany glass desert mural
Copper become marble, flesh become rust

For $142 a night I could feel gone there
Queen of the Night blooms once a year
Book a weekend to imagine the first sip better

Last night I dreamt a baby was born
And I took all the bullets out of the guns
So I wasn’t ready when they came

Two Republicans made it safer to kill wolves
And for 14 million Yemenis to starve

You’re born a visitor and made a prisoner

Not long ago
For five weeks I didn’t feel alone once
But now the gone thing is absence lodged inside
A periphery I contain
Like a disease with a pioneer’s name

Because you’re lucky if you can forget
the never-had, and God help you
If you make anything up, ever

My breasts looked amazing
Milky cheeks on waving wheat
I was a happy home
With so much square footage to spare
Then I was a pregnant wolf at a dog fight
In a ring my own bloodlust walked me into
Like always

Sometimes I want to be worth protecting
Which would mean carrying
Something younger towards a more distant death
And even then
Someone has to want your
Blood on their blood:

My father’s family buried their dead
On the stomach of two hills they call
The twin sisters

And there are twins on that side
And there are dead children on that side
One died from dysentery when
A coyote corpse poisoned the well

My mother’s mothers’ twins died
In a sharecropper shack
And it’s embarrassing, this proximity
To common American experience
With no grand mythology of decline
With no story about fleeing
And rebuilding wealth taken
By a foreign regime

But you see noone made those twins up
We named them Delfino and Lilly
So, no, we’re not guilty

Everything the eye touches is condemned
And my Google eye can touch it all
Touch that zone no one else will get close to

Finger the dust
Did you lose your mortgage?
Shovel the rock aside
If your money broke again
Again it breaks into needles
For the cows to choke on

Tell your heart to border patrol
Let the cartel know you moved into WeWork

And my corporate dowry
Well, we’ll see!

We’re sleeping at Amazon because
I took the bullets out of the guns
And I wasn’t ready when they came
For my baby
I wasn’t ready to kill anything but myself

Trace all potentialities in neon
Slick down a pallet for more gentle beasts
And wait for the crackling sign
To diminish the truth of night

And I’m sorry to say we are guilty
Of being always here



Money is a garden
Poverty a genetic disease

I have enough
Roses for a wedding
in my bank account
But every morning
I piss blood into a well
I don’t even dare see

The problem with salaries
Is they present hope

I’m looking to buy some land
In a place where I once would have
Pulled up the grass
Like it was a soiled carpet
Just to spit on the lowly worms

Getting older is a return
On someone else’s bad investment

$3k per acre to tend
To my ancestral maladies
But fuck it whatever

As every poor person knows
Desperation is more useful
Than a lucky break

Somebody has to
buy the farm
So the others can raise babies
And I’m rich now

My company has given me
An investment portfolio
With three men to serve
As managers

When I saw their names
In blue hyperlink
I wondered how soon
They’ll die

Last week we were driving
Across the steppes of Texas
And I caught the term
“Landman” in my breath
Where it’s stayed like some silent thing
You expect to slip out

That never does
Not even the moon moves when it rains
As I expect it does, rain
But we’ll let the Chinese say

A review of “Wet Moon” reads:
“A known stop for sex trafficking. Do your research.”
When solace is slavery painted
The color of midnight
These rumours are true if not accurate, I think,
As we drive on past what can only be
A sex toy store for those
Without mailing addresses

My retirement plan says I’ll need to
Close a gap of $5k before age 35
And I think of an old currency
Those 3.5 clients

But I’m no longer my own agent
I belong to the land and it belongs to me

I belong to my money and it belongs to this tree
You belong to my dreams
Which belong to a god
That slithers through the weeds
Of our money and its needs

I belong to a landman
And that landman is me

Monica McClure

Monica McClure is the author of the poetry collection, Tender Data (Birds, LLC, 2015) and the chapbooks, Concomitance (Counterpath Press, 2016), Boss Parts 1& 2 (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016), Mala (Poor Claudia, 2014), and Mood Swing (Snacks Press 2013).

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