I.   Even so we danced
       in the moldy shower
       crushing soda straws
       in our damp pockets,
       screaming wet sex
       at four thirty A M
       arctic lips marching
       brushed against blue steel -
       sticking, seeming

       eternally adhered to pocket-sized gold -
       emblazoned icons of the once-virgin mother mary

II.   I locked the door,
       and as you sang a
       baritone death sonnet
       my eyes found my
       grandfather's old zippo,
       hidden yellow rubbish in
       a poorly-stained cabinet.
       I wanted to tell you
       I had never fallen in love
       but your boyfriend was out
       buying a cheese pizza

       and would soon return to find me fingering
       an old brass lighter in the orange twilight.

III.   I'd purify your dreams like water,
       drinking red men with
       walking sticks like rifles
       as sagging wives moan
       in the pencil factories
       over nonsensical images
       of death and green ocelots.
       For even my fantasies
       are now cockroach infested
       my supper carried off
       as I petition you

       "stay out of the light while I spend
       the ammunition of your redemption"

IV.   I like being a cliche,
       so run away with me
       and we'll sit on cloudy
       beaches watching sunsets
       (as your lover sits next door
       eating cold cheese pizza)
       I will write you bad poetry,
       listen to bad country,
       writing tabulated lists
       subtracting advantages
       from my waistline.

       Together, we could watch bombs fall
       like heartbeats, as meaningful as death.

by Alex C. Nielsen

Alex C. Nielsen is poet-in-residence at the Collingwood Arts Center in Toledo, Ohio's historic Old West End. He's the kind of guy who would leave a woman pregnant overseas, probably has already, and just doesn't know it yet. Your closet is probably bigger than his entire apartment, but he's okay with that. He's currently too busy sleeping to meet women, but he's open to suggestions. He also runs Inkstained Dagger, a small broadside press with a lot of feeling. He can be reached at ISDpress@gmail.com.