Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.


Passing Around The Chainsaw

In our first department meeting in the cusp of the new school year, when I pass around the chainsaw to see who handles it well, you grin like a raptor and touch the grisly chain and lick the oil from your fingertips. Ladylike in delicacy, murderous in substance, your expression fouls the room. The others leave, cursing me for introducing this weapon to the agenda. You hum a little mourning […]

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A Gangland Haunting

The corpse of a woman strangled by Whitey Bulger in Southie decades ago has returned to indict me. For what? you ask. For haunting West Broadway bars, for sex in parked cars, for shuffling through eight-to-four workdays without the faintest ambition, for watching fires from a distance, for hearing and admiring false chords. How much timid breathing can a man respect from uncanny distance? No wonder the corpse follows me […]

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I press the broken bottle of my love against your throat and dream that you’ll scream “Cut me deep! I want to lose my head!” Above the rain and traffic lights, the homeless nut our parents prayed to Sundays cogitates: so much thought lost or misdirected. Hiss of tires, a whiff of garlic grilling, crates and drunks both rotting in our alley. Kiss this wound: my mouth. It’s bleeding you-know-what […]

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Bluin’ the Blues

The trumpet, a special gift when I turned sixteen, lies neglected (and only recently rescued from basement storage) in a corner of the family room. Never abandoned in any move, it claims a special spot in my heart, if not on my lips. Silence blares from its valves accusingly whenever I walk by.     Craig W. Steele resides in the countryside of northwestern Pennsylvania, not far from Lake Erie. […]

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Olenus to Lethaea

You asked love weightier than blithe indifference; I have attained—no more pursuit of giddily withheld affection. The keening flame is tempered, tamed. That bath is cold which might have boiled. For you I have abandoned friends and concubines, for you embraced this fate of clot and calcify (not to say impotence). I whisper in obdurate ears, kiss hard as marble lips, and so commence the sacrifice you will not sense. […]

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