Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Boy

Boy   I never touched your skin, so in my mind it is scaly, pallid, dry with impending death. Your eyes couldn’t open, they tell me, but I know both were unbearably blue, the kind you see in a too- beautiful summer sky, like the day you left us. That I do remember: how the whole landscape was wrong– sunshine, chirping, full trees, gentle ripples on the water.   You […]

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The Innocent Betrayer

He’s an indicator mineral, shares the riverbed with a golden girl. They carbon date, waltz, consummate, find strength in their clastic braid. His dull clay arms envelop her, shield her shine from prying eyes. But when they’re pulled apart, sifted for significance, she sinks to the bottom of the placer pan while he’s washed away, his silica spent, discarded, no longer capable of protecting her nuggets from the prospector’s assaying […]

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At the Baptist Funeral

The congregation sways, claps. The choir’s robes shimmer, golden waves of grace. Dazzling. Angkor Wat at high noon. And I’ve imagined such a moment my entire life. What it would be like to swim with this tide, to take part in its monumental flow. Twenty thousand leagues away from my norm, from my terra form as a jutting jetty. A lonely niplet of loam gasping for air beneath an avalanche […]

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Craving the Gravure

Craving the Gravure   Relentless, her appetite for life in black and white. The way she devours Victorian images like doily-bordered chocolates, one after another, until every plate is cleaned. Even period woodblock stamps she licks to slivered ends, their ridges etching her tongue red and blue, a slick metaphor for the era’s purple prose and postcards of families cinched in their parlor best. The black-bulb view of virtue is […]

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the boy’s own scrapbook

high jump a copperhead chase cows cross country   carry a dead skunk down the grassy lane throw up at the finish   lose another race with death to your grandmother’s house   fumble the snap you got nothing   hum baby hum throw your father a curve   put your dukes up circle the room   make a free throw the crowd goes wild     Barry Basden lives […]

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They Say You Finally Have to Forgive Everything

They Say You Finally Have to Forgive Everything My uniformed father’s smile resembles the Mona Lisa’s, as unknowable to me as ever, his cheeks rouged like some downtown whore’s by an assistant in the backroom of the All-American Studio 40-odd years ago. They say there may have been another woman and a child–my half-sister. Still over there somewhere. I’ve found out things, but never a hint about them. I take […]

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Rusty Dreams

Her earlier visions of happiness were Far different from the reality Of that purgatory place she inhabits; Less than what she dreamed it would be In the infancy of her longed for independence. Her personal trailer park of abandoned aspirations Rusts alongside the books she never finished and The toys that sucked the family budget dry.   All those years ago before she left in a frenzy Of hope and […]

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My Parade

My Parade I remember that Thanksgiving day winter-white dress, so short with its fur edging and ties with fur balls at the ends. I twirled them in tandem, waiting to watch the parade pass by from our apartment window.   I remember my father’s conflicted face as he laughed at my finery while my mother lay still and silent in a darkened room, waiting for the pain to pass along […]

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Awakening to Mourning

Awakening to Mourning   “There’s nothing good about goodnight when it means goodbye.” ― Jeff Thomas Dad worked at the Atlantic-Richfield refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. On the morning of August 16th, 1963, when I was thirteen, he left for work before I awoke. I never saw him again, except in photographs and memories. Neither of us knew that last “good-night” was our last. There was an explosion at the […]

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Thank You and a Call for Visual Art

We wanted to take a moment to thank all our Melancholy Readers for their attention to the e-zine, as well as for their praise of Susan Rooke’s poem “All Hallows.” We know that she is thrilled, and we are as well! We hope that you will continue to stick with us, read, enjoy, and hopefully submit. We want to see your name in our submission pile! A huge thank you […]

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