Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Twenty-six
Summer 2011
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Two Journey through Poriomania*
           *To walk about in a distorted state, feeling an uncontrollable desire to dance and finally collapsing from total exhaustion

Crystal Hoffman

They would accept the role
of court jester much too quickly,
work towards strangeness consciously,

accept their serpentine nature wholly:
fire tongues, scales, venom,
inability to wear shoes, and all.

They would accept study by anthropologists,
critique by evangelists,
accolades from horticulturalists—

let each one watch them
dance like ten mad dryads,
tear heads off unrequiting lovers

like bacchanals, and consume each
literary trope like a new escape and let it
flower from their unclipped fingernails.

They would paint their flesh a new color each morning,
use old world salves made of the teeth of titans,
frog bellies, rosemary, belladonna, moonshine, and blue.

They would end each night by running
through small dead coal mining towns,
breathing on bedroom window panes

to write new names for each sleeping child
on foggy glass, and when the children wake to learn them,
they wipe the panes clean, fly away, and chuckle.

They would be accused of worse things:
inviting too many ghosts with a shot- glass
beneath their fingers, making love without intentions

to anyone who asks, letting boy pull them out
of portraits and place them into black
But, unlike most myths, they don't have to keep their hands

clean, because their feet are made
for prayers. And though they move over earth
looking closely at each beautiful thing,

they know it’s not them. They are not beautiful;
they never were beautiful. And that does not
end them, because when beauty passes
into strangeness is where they find God.

About Crystal Hoffman

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