He is a champagne cork shat by the devil.
Star drop of semen in the jagged
of a broken glass bottle. To push,
to lay, to beat the chest’s hair
into matted lumps.
To crumble wet clay into small pellets
that dash in crooks of the wooden
Better to burn. To drink rubber liquid
until your hot head blows cold.
Better to pull purple vines
from the rotting trellis. The Inquisitor
waits, brush hairs hang on the easel’s
Face glistens like larva, halo
of white heat. Sculptor,
carve a mask, this lost year
into a flame eating paper. Rat nibbling
an ankle as the robe’s knot frays.
These arms are purple cylinders. Stand
so close to breathe in the fine dust of colors.
Charles Kell is the author of Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Kestrel, Columbia Journal, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He is Assistant Professor of English at the Community College of Rhode Island and associate editor of The Ocean State Review. He recently completed a PhD at the University of Rhode Island with a dissertation on experimental writing, criminality and transgression in the work of James Baldwin, Rosmarie Waldrop, Joanna Scott and C.D. Wright.