Friday, October 23, 2015

Poetry and Stories By Lucio H. Cooper

Lucio H. Cooper’s work has been featured in the Sand Canyon Review, the Burning Shore Review, Gap Toothed Madness, San Diego Poetry Annual and Ashley V. Blalock’s text book, Studies in Art. He currently lives in San Diego with five little neurotic dogs that are slowly destroying his home.

10 Stories

1st floor,     Donald whittles small figures of gnomes in his bedroom, squinting in the fading light, the power company shut the juice off from the wires, the cold air starts to slowly invade from the west, the mix of salt air, and poison, cars stretched out like a sick film, oozing and invading the walls, creaking and bucking, an unwelcome scented-intruder. Donald’s crooked back bends over the small shapes. He lives alone and off of social security checks, since she died from a car crash. It was his birthday, she was going to surprise him with a new set of chisels, expensive handmade ones from Germany. She had saved up for them for a year. The police found them along with a bloody torn card that said-
I love you, I never want to free myself from your heart. I can’t sleep at night when I think about how much I love you.                                                             
                          Your sweet little mouse.
Some nights Donald would whittle all night, tiny shavings on the ground, perched like a disheveled gargoyle on a stool under candlelight, until the red lines of sun awoke from the heavy inflamed cloak of night. 

6th floor,    young David begins to shower his jasmine plants, he unplugs the top off of another cheap wine, he screams at the interior foam of his brain to shut up, the salt wind corrodes his mouth coated in saw dust, his eyes close, he gives his guts the sweet juice and lets his toenails linger in the slanted-weak-sun, red-sore torso, muffled moans leak through the ceiling, his teeth grit as imagines licking the sweat from the ceiling, he spits off the balcony and yells for the traffic to-

7th floor,     Sandy vigorously towels off the fresh Jasmine perfume from her body, keeping all the flowing beads of twenty year old skin locked deep inside,     for now-
rubbing her hair in a wet towel, she misses phone calls so she can lay naked on the couch, pressurized juices sealed tight for eight hours, quiver and slowly leak out under a Cinemax glow, breathing hard into the black folds of leather, blond hair spreading underneath an arched neck as sweat drops to the floor, eyes shut tight, red sparks flowing faster and faster as she imagines thousands of eyes-----watching-     their heavy breathing keeping pace with the machines and tubes gasping in the night.

9th floor,       Mrs. Merrwood, her Siamese cat on the edge of the balcony. They both wait for the halted, boiled fumes of the city traffic to quietly subside under their feet, she says her husband died ten years ago, as his heart gave way to Jack and cigarettes, she said over and over again how much he loved her meatloaf, he always kissed her goodnight even if they fought,
She takes out his old suit and irons it every night, warm sweat on the collar… tucking and un-tucking his bed, two half full glasses- one on each side of the bed, whispering his name when all there was --------dead silence          trapped in the weak tomb, of five hundred square feet---
10th floor,
Is empty now, nothing but dust weakened by the lonely sounds below of Mrs. Merrwood,
quickly waiting for death to steal her from the same dream she has every night, 10 stories, her husband, the invading sounds of the building that made it feel alive, razors of starlight across all those lonely eyes, convalescent, dragging the wet tubes of the ICU, down long corridors, the nurse pulls the cords around her bed and steps on tiny wood particles, fragrant plants now wilted in the corner-
saturated cold oxygen fills her lungs. 
Her chart reads
S. Merrwood-
The nurse closes the door and finishes her rounds. Whistling and probing the locks, suffocating death rushing into her face and through her-

Donald and David close their eyes in the enveloping blackness….

Dad’s Urn 

Can’t visit an urn and talk to ashes 
buried under a pile of hoarded shit 
your statue suffocates in the frigid corner 
where spiders weave 
steel wool and dust settles in the cracks, 
my crazy aunt 
WHOM stole your ashes and will not 
give you a final resting place, 
WHOM always talks about 
and that’s it, that absurd bitch,
living like it’s the 1930’s, 
while millions swell in the bank 
in their own SICK FOAM. 

You know she is so damn cheap 
she reuses wrapping paper at Christmas, 
carefully snipping the scotch tape 
like it’s fucking wire connected to a bomb, 

rather than turn on the heater,
day or night, she scavenges the neighbor’s
trash cans for paper to burn and warm clothes to wear,
a vulture shedding misery
like asbestos telephone mute and rotted 
                                          on holidays….

She’s sick and needs to be committed
she even showers with buckets 
around her to save the water 
  as black mold  grows and breathes like Lungs 
 on the Yellow Rings of the Tub. 

Meanwhile dad, your arteries formed hard, 
black ice, and she did nothing
when you asked her for help all those years, 
your warm body growing cold 
on Mammoth Mountain. 
My eyes as hard as 
then Shattered and Wet, 
when I pulled the plug on you that night in Reno…

Candles and spilled wine

I felt the sun wrapping around my neck, pressing its boiled thorns into my frail neck, I breathed heavily and shifted the weight of my pack, I kept walking for thirty minutes and kept each one of their faces fixed firmly in the back of my mind, now in front of me was a small creek, its skin constantly polishing hundreds of small rocks, a large holly bush gave the creek some shade, I noticed a gigantic black fish carrying a rusted sack of tiny brown tubes on its back swimming in slow circles, the yellow light separating slowly under its belly like stars reflected on the tip of a hospital scalpel, 
“I yelled at the fish, NICE FUCKING DAY HUH!” 

               “nice of you to shine like the stars on frigid hospital glass, 
you move like I.C.U. machines, breathing ice into the tubes of that filthy lonely water!”

He said nothing but swam away leaving a brown cloud in the water, I closed my eyes tight and let the blood red sun slam into my eyelids, I opened them and the fish was gone, 
leaving only black and white negatives in its path
Now if you must have me here, 
I say, I say, 
are their negatives of me 
in this vortex nightmare? LOOK CLOSELY-

Blatantly beating myself into submission, I reached into the sack and took out the pictures, one Polaroid of my dead father, one of my old deaf dog, one of Diana, one of the old house still drying from a fresh coat of paint, I looked at those photos hard, looked at them sideways and flung them at the water with a quick snap of the wrist, and when an hour later, when the polarized fumes of the sun erased me, I left those images to boil in their own depressing acid,
Now I packed up my things and headed quickly east where I knew I would feel the intense punishing power of the sun at its cruel zenith, black birds shattered the quiet like a paper bag exploding -   one hundred black heroin needles collapsing in the breathing-hard-sun
I left fast moving dirt behind me and I made sure to stop and scream every ten minutes, to punch the paper trees slowly dying in my path, I walked faster, faster, 
my heart couldn’t keep up, my words exploded at full volume, 

“My name is David! I carry all their pain like razors in my mouth! I digest all their sad loneliness! All their failed goddamn dreams!”
I suddenly stopped and picked up a rock and flung it at the trees, it sliced a small tree in half, pouring its acid leaves and formaldehyde sap 
into the wind, 
I say, I shriek-
“My name is David!”
And I didn’t hold his hand when he died, I robbed the last juice from his breath, I was too busy being hunched over in a low light shit hole, just another bar stool scarecrow disappearing rapidly like a putrid cloud of Alka-Seltzer in a cracked glass.

Her name was Diana- 

we fucked when I was just fresh larva under her nails, and that house, 
that damn house I lit in wax 
burned into the earth and became a flattened tree with barnacles, 
the neighbors helped me search the ashes and found nothing 
but a half melted hair clip, 
I stood still- letting the wind pour into my face, letting the dust break away and reappear, now again I moved fast, shoving the bushes to one side, running deep into the blackening bushes until blood dripped from the tips of my toenails, I reached a parched hillside and sat down, and lay there twitching and letting their voices fester 
                                  the breath of night
                                  dragged me off to sleep
                                  under the shredded veins 
                                  of an old 
                                  camphor tree,
                                  swinging in the gallows

Power Line 

In this cloudless night 
where starlight is cloaked behind 
a thick film of rotting smog, 
a solitary seagull lands on top 
of a power line…. 

On its own, 
nature is a disgusting site, 
because it is so scarce in the 
filthy loneliness that WE collect 
in the city, 
in the overturned shopping carts, 
in the cigarette butts 
scattered like broken teeth, 
in the alleys 
where homeless sleep 
with roaches
in their hair…. 

I am that lone seagull, 
watching all the madness 
unfold all around me- 

mute and petrified I fly away 

Just another Damn day

In the drifting curtains the flies have sex and leave greasy dots on the windows
The dogs are outside sunning themselves on woodchips heads resting on small pieces of shit
The birds are languid and limp enough to drop dead from the trees, bellies full of weed killer

Ninety and alone
The neighbor old Ms. V is probably lying face down in the weeds over there, fallen over, crumpled bones shattered and spread over dry earth, the creaky rusted play set moaning in the soft wind, moaning to cover up her tiny voice praying to god with a mouthful of dirt…
A man in a wheel chair rolls by and lets his dog shit on my lawn
Mr. Trash truck side swipes and knocks over my cans. The mailman tosses my mail in the bushes and peels out in the driveway, a girl with big tits and two Pit Bulls walks by pulling on leashes large enough
to hog tie a fridge

The earth is brittle and I need to attach IV’s to all the trees and bushes,
Gophers are spreading cancer assholes full of dirt-
            pushed up poison pellets from all the holes
look like thousands of green cigarette butts 
tweaker Pac Man in the vomit and weeds,

so I went to the pet store and bought
an enormous bag of snakes
                          To Kill Em All
Medusa’s hair electrocuted in the sun light
slithered up the trunks of skeletal trees, 
and flooded the holes with radiation,

fat beer can 
swollen in my hand,
I squirt my chest with the hose 
and collapse 
under the hot shade-

            in toxic clouds 
                                      burning dirt
                                      in the dry San Diego wind…

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