Thursday, July 28, 2016

Poetry By Chelsea Rawlings

Chelsea Rawlings poetry has previously appeared in The Wolfian.

“Driver Wanted”

Whistlin'
to the terminal,
he hops a Septa
smoking to a butt
to the stub before a long haul.

Going nowhere,
taking obese women
with oversized, flowered hand bags,
and thick rimmed eye glasses,
to the park,
the grocer,
the post office,
and home again,
and again.
Criminals loitered the back
of the bus with urban jargon,
McDonald's wrappers,
and used condoms.

Pay the fee,
it simplified his brain,
the monotony,
dimensionless
weighing down time.
Through
rain,
and
snow,
and 
sleet,
and
pollution,
and
politics,
and
bomb threats,
and
racial discrimination,
setting the bar
for his stress level.
The pressure of his foot
on the peddle amplified
the discord.
A kid crosses the street.
‘Step on it,
end it,
before he winds up like you,’
behind a wheel;
cab, bus, or train,
shoveling people
like dirty snow to their destinations;
without blinking,
or questioning
their fate.

On a Monday,
He drove the Septa
off The Delair Bridge;
laughing hysterically,
puking over the bus schedule,
smoking a butt down to the stub
flicking off the no smoking signs.
He chauffeured
the criminals, handicaps,
prostitutes, bike riders,
senile, middle aged hags,
into the polluted waves,
without segregation.




“Happy Birthday, Whatever”

Yesterday,
there was a party.
They sang my praise
with ulterior motive.

Someone bought beer,
and someone brought drugs.

I obliged.
They talked
about sports,
or apparel,
or dog vomit.
Their drab voices
were elevator music,
and I was going
down.

Today,
they don't know me,
don't wave when I pass.

I am
a ripe garbage can
on the basement level
that sits there
for days without a bag
to collect their droppings.

I am
made of the material
you can't recycle,
but wouldn't want
to anyway.

I am
a mouse
feed to
a snake.

I am
so yesterday,
it might as well have
been last year.

I am
the blurry picture
in the negatives,
or the tobacco remnants
lining the inside of your purse.

Call me, ‘Nothing’,
because it is
better for both
of us this way.

You don't have to try
to remember my name.
I don't have to pretend
that you like me.

Next time,
don't bother
trading steamy
expressions with my boyfriend
across the room
on my birthday,
just fuck him
on the table.

I'll even
try to hold back
the tears till
the party's over,
or they ask me to leave.



“White Chaos”

Winter of '06,
couldn't tell the difference
between the snow and the blow,
as it was both in mass quantity.
An avalanche of white chaos
spewing from the mantel piece.
And when we needed fire
to warm our frantic bones
we turned to the stove
baked skin and apple pies
that no one ate.

We trimmed away the cut
from the powder and our egos,
making sure all we inhaled was clean
and natural.

In our secured crew of fiends,
there was Lane, the Land Lord,
puking monotonous tales he doesn't recall
telling before.
His mind wraps around cold case memories
clings to past glory,
keeps buffing his sports trophies
which reflect the shadows of bags packing
themselves in under his blue eyes.
He reached out to me
but I had not the heart to tell him
that I was sinking too.

We went in rounds
like a confession class
for recovering alcoholics
only we had just begun.
The crisp blanket of white
was our excuse to stay in for the night,
for the day,
and on, and on.

Spilling religious lore into our laps,
threatening our inherited beliefs
shaking a fist in the faces
of those who spite our habits.
While we pushed God further away
unintentionally,
like our dinner when we were finished.
It was not as if we did not want anymore
there was just no room for it in our lives.

The numbing drip took hold of our lungs
held hostage in the moment,
and we forgot yesterday,
let go of our promises we had made.
I told my legs to stop shaking
it was my only hope for relaxation,
but there was no release,
no calm after the storm
just endless racing
and craving ravenously for more
until the crystals stopped falling
and realization fell in chunks of hail
instead.



“Fuck it”

That sex was as good
as smoking a Cuban cigar
after twenty years of
resignation.

You know,
I'm surprised
at how some lovers can
withstand each other.
I prefer weeding through
the contestants like, “Survivor”,
finding the worthy one,
then skip the thirty days on an island,
to hump his brains out
on the shore instead,
seaweed tangling hair.

Here’s an instance,
can you see me?
All day legs drawn like
a wide neck V,
on a bench catching more
birds than men.

All day,
people have trains to catch,
dead grandmas to visit,
cops to run from.
Or do they not notice
that I don’t have panties on?
Why else would my legs
be flapping like dry
pancakes if that wasn't my aim?

He comes round the corner
like he'd been stalking me
ALL DAY
and didn't exactly know how
to approach me as a smut
or a saint.
He sticks it right in,
on the park bench,
like a cheese pie
sucking up the sauce,
like a smoothie
without all the chunks,
like a rail of cocaine
to the brain,
no snot in the way.

It was a clean route
and it took all day
to make that man cum.
I doubt even now
if I can tell you his name,
but I can tell you
the inches,
the centimeters of
angles,
the thrust velocity,
and what I named it.

Bout time
I had that cigar now.
I asked for it
so many lines ago.



“Atrocious”

A gnarled grin, rancid of tobacco,
rolled or the green seldom sold
between clean hands
greets a stack of ones like Pisa in crippled stance,
like the waltz he makes from
the table to the stage to deliver a one,
A single dollar to justify the means.

His staggered laugh
leaves residue, hot on her breast.
Atrocious it wreaks of last night's unrest,
but commonly accepts
her trade of innocence.
for a haggard stage.

In a trance of yesterday,
She plays the pole
an instrument
constructed from hand grenades.