cruise Tom’s Celebrity Cruise

You leave your pants in Venezuela, a gift to some come-lately soap opera star. Your Zen-waist trousers end up in a TV commercial opposite an old girlfriend, Serena, or Jaren maybe, technically stretched between business and pleasure. Your new girlfriend makes love because there’s no rapture for the wicked. Sundays you do it on the rooftop, with a New York Times and orange juice. It’s a predilection for bi-polar barmaids with Vegas showgirl cousins that drugs you—mermaids singing through shark’s teeth. Tomorrow you’ll board ship for Costa Rica, luggage lighter, colonialist prick a compass to even saltier melody. The closer you get to the U.S. the more you screw like a maniac fist.


Jupiter Moon Birds

We used to put on the night pretty & play until early, lace & slow-burn graveyard shifters.

We were impossible to forgive, all our voices bitter, spoiled buttermilk to the tongue,

because we were loud secrets, even unto ourselves, spilled or spit out, cut & pasted

like dirty paper stars on black particle-board, bad high school science projects

bereft of serious logic, rational only in the way Serenity taught us to love three a.m. cupcake bakes

& swirling gin.

We scavenged each other’s floors. We were sick with sex & red knees & rancid breath.

Like all drunks we came to solemnity.

I found Serenity that way— gold-sequin sneakers, candied cherries, voice a smooth Guinness black,

found her in daylight, exhausted, the bottles, too, in the orange orchestrations

of an up & down sun, & in the dozy stutter of planets a feeling spread like absence,

only it wasn’t absence, but somehow little tides & pools of promise, of dream confessionals,

somehow halfway to waking, to whisper, & we were walking like birds on a Jupiter moon.


About the Author: Michael Dwayne Smith has two full-length books in the bullpen: a poetry collection in collaboration with surrealist comic artist Evan R. Spears, Happy Good Time News (Devils Hole Press), and a collection of hybrid poetry/prose, What the Weather’s Like, Only Stranger (looking for new publisher since original deal fell out… hint hint). Post-hippie professor and editor-in-chief of Mojave River Press & Review, he’s been awarded both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction. His work appears in excellent journals like burntdistrictWord RiotStone Highway ReviewdecomP>kill author, and the Cortland Review. He lives near a ghost town in the Mojave Desert with his wife and rescued animals.

Poem Songs: "Cortez The Killer" by Neil Young & "Maintenant" by Rupa & The April Fishes

About the Photographer: Elisabeth Cox has been making art since she was old enough to sneak crayons into her bed during naptime. Though a Seattle native, she currently lives with her two cats and works from her home in Champaign, IL. You can find her geography art at