Ace Boggess 3 Poems


raven wings

with colors splashed on back

the blue of electric lemonades

flames detailed on a racing car


it circles the planter pink to pink

straddling petals bee-

like sucking pollen


it circles my head

as if trying to work its way in

an inky spot on my retina


Grace tells me the lifespan

of swallowtails is about two weeks

whereas monarchs go six months &

make it all the way to Mexico


I don’t claim to apprehend such things

any more than I can tell the difference

between Picasso’s scribbles & his masterpieces


I know that I like what I see

especially his series of blue guitars

lovely but crooked & off a bit


like the swallowtail’s wings

or maybe it’s the world that’s off &

the butterfly’s the only normal thing

Chemical Spill in Charleston, West Virginia

I can’t pronounce the poison word

or swallow water without drinking


rot O glorious rot

cleansing rot with rottenness


the anise scent of absolute truth

there & not there: a great invisible


someone said it tastes like cough syrup

which is liquor without the fun


love without the getting-



Waiting does the knowing for you.

Any minute now: the lights

through Venetian blinds

burn sulfur flames against your walls.

Cops will come, you tell yourself.

Remember bloody socks

Raskolnikov imagined that he wore?

Already your fictitious steel

cools against your wrists & ankles,

clanks at your waist

like some Victorian notion of a ghost.

See how you anticipate it?

Can’t sleep for fear you’ll miss it?

Your own arrest? That cruel penance?

When the first flash blinds at 2 a.m.,

you feel relieved that finally

it’s over—you’ve been caught—

until you look outside to see

the yellow of the city sweeper

cleaning your street of filth that isn’t you.

Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

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Chuck Von Nordheim

Caitlin Thomson

Ace Boggess

Dane Hamann

Rachel Nix

Charles Kell

John Grey

Kyle Heger

Vincent Frontero

Lauren Suchenski

A.J. Huffman

Mark J. Mitchell

William Doreski

Richard Luftig

Sharif Shakhshir

Kyle Hemmings

Freya Gavin

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