Poetry » Claire Scott »


You Promised

I pray to the plastic Jesus
at the foot of my bed
with its chipped robe &
glow-in-the dark halo
right next to the IV pump
the oxygen tank
that hisses & spits all night
next to the medical chart
                NPO, DNR
I pray to the plastic Jesus
given to me by my Nana
when I was six & she
was old beyond old
she told me about the man
who died on a Friday
afternoon to save us
I pray for the first time
in decades, my voice
hoarse my words wobbly
in the sterile room
now it is time Mr. Jesus
please do my dying for me
you promised

Timing Trucks

taut & tense
I stand on a bridge
above route 77
timing trucks
w ho o s h i n g
s h r o o s h i n g
on the highway

I choose you
yes you
in the twelve wheeler
Reno Rock on the side
hauling gravel
eight hours a day
you with fat money
in your wallet
you with a pretty
wife & three kids
a perfect house
a picket fence
you will pay & pay
you will have me
in your head
the way no one
ever has
your brain
engraved with
the sickening
under your wheels
& you
yes you
will know
how to live
with a soul-
crushed soul

Trapped in a Laptop

clicked and dragged from screen to screen
stumbling over *asterisks, $dollar signs &
                ?question marks with no answers
wondering what’s the point of ^ or ~
                as useless as bankers or broccoli

hoping @ will hook me up
                despite my skimpy address book
the ! will attract the eye of some stellar dude
                waiting in the wings
hitting Bold to gather strength
                to post a profile
italics to allure
                love lingering kisses
underline for emphasis
                so into rappelling & shooting rapids
CAPS LOCK in desperation
                REPLY ASAP

an OPTION Key that offers few options
                ( ¡ ™ £ ¢ ∞ § ¶ • ª º– ≠)
                no solution for Saturdays spent with
                Twin Peaks & Tequilla

carpal tunnel, searing headaches, terminal insomnia,
impaired vision, coke-bottle glasses guaranteed
to turn off top-tier contenders

men who prefer to fuck & flee
men who approve of fake hair & border fences
men with wilted faces insisting they are thirty-seven

FN+COMMAND+right arrow to reach the end
password long forgotten
drift up to the clouds

This is What You Must Do

if you want to come.
do not tell anyone. not even your cat.
if you must wear a raincoat wear a black one.
even if there is no sign of rain.
especially if there is no sign of rain.
no hat. if you wear a hat you can’t come.
bring only bananas. and a small bottle.
scotch or gin OK. I certainly do. and do.

be careful here. walk slowly.
rotted leaves cover a dusky well.
here’s the thulking buzzard that croaks
warnings all night: kaa! kaa!
nightmares stalking. a child’s sleep.
you may find yourself craving Xanax.
mine were gone after the first week.
no more for a month says Dr. Stanford.
I am really fine. without the pills.

watch for black mambas. copperheads.
can you see them just ahead? no?
this is for your own good
spikey tails. teeth like razor blades.
Dr. Stanford recommends tiny pink
Seroquel. six times a day.
sometimes Thorazine which I bury in the backyard.

see the dahlias. straight ahead.
four red, five yellow. nine. my lucky number.
red and yellow heads swaying.
beaming with promise.
a future without buzzards. or snakes.
a hurry up Haldol future filled with dahlias.
fields of dahlias. swaying.
can you see them? just ahead?

Rosencrantz or Guildenstern

Do you ever feel like a Rosencrantz in your own life
or perhaps a Guildenstern since they are practically

indistinguishable in their monotoned existence
standing off to the side, just a few lines, no grand soliloquies

with “too too solid flesh” or “incestuous sheets”
no noble existential questions: “to be or not to be”

no “out, out brief candle! life’s but a walking shadow”
(oops, sorry, wrong play)

you standing twice-or-thrice-removed, a minor planet
circling Hamlet, like Ceres or the Centaurs

he too busy moping about Ophelia and his evil uncle
dillying and dallying through scene after interminable scene

all in a dither over whether and how and whatever and when
and which day and what way to kill his uncle

you could tell him straight off
kill the bastard so the audience can go home

and yet he gets the limelight
while you

you are banished to a distant orbit
of your very own life