Two poems by Kelly Morse
I’m a Mamapapa Calling for You
In my twenties I tried to behave like an alien,
investigating electric blue kitchen walls,
the hotpiss drift of neighbor cats, brambling
flights of drunk, wooly bees, my boyfriend
and his roommate in their toosmall apartment
under Bowie’s eye.
My brain hurt like a warehouse, had no room to spare
All summer was bake cakes and fuck,
scrounging clams in the riverbank
like spare change with blackberry-stained fingers.
Fondling in the convertible, sunglassed and leery,
Independence Day and I’m a sailor in tightwhite
pants and a smile –
I’m a mamapapa calling for you
And Arnie, skinny body nettled vivid
from surgeries, traceries I wanted to touch
but didn’t, the low-slung pink
towel clutched one-handedly
while stirring tea, those small rooms, his
The church of manlove is such a holy place to be
I missed you, Arnie; missed you like a bus,
the dinnerspecial while I order the usual.
Space oddity. What was the origin,
those raised ribbons of flesh. I never asked
for that, of all the things I did. The needle folds
into its mechanical nest.
Nobody Leaves Anybody in Winter
Nobody leaves anybody in winter.
Too many layers shift foot to foot on doorsteps.
Our lonelinesses trail behind,
absurd camels on red leashes:
unkind nip, hot snorts in small rooms.
Every motion bulbous and too early
for the season.
No such thing as striding forth, nothing
so bold even with carrying out
Your love whistles
off-key in the cellar,
hollers olly olly oxen free
amongst the old apples and smut,
sets the camel to bellowing.
Give it a kettle to pace in.
Hum the spindly narcissus forward.
Kelly Morse grew up in the high mountain desert towns of Idaho, but has since drifted as far as South Africa, Spain and even the exotic East Coast, where she received an MFA at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Brevity, PoetsArtists, Alimentum and elsewhere. Currently, she is working on a cross-genre manuscript that explores linguistic and worldview gaps between Eastern and Western cultures after living for two years in Vietnam.