archives winter 2009




So you dropped my ass at the clinic, but still
deny you’re involved in this mess?  I picked
at my fingers, bit the inside of my cheek
to get at the blood, to remember we’re all

just meat. Especially you. You fled our little
accident.  Well, fine.  Happy motoring, but now
that I know now what tiger’s in your tank, don’t go
around blaming me for the death of our futile

marriage. You lied. The proof is in the vial
Armando—handsome nurse, by the way,
so your type—labeled carefully that day,
chatting breezily and flirting all the while.

I should put you two in touch. He’ll
help you with your crummy condom technique.
Of course, I can’t vouch that he’d be discreet
about your—err, status. Relax, you said. I’ll

be careful, you said. I keep remembering all
those blue jellyfish on the beach, how creepy
they looked—surrounding us. Listen, baby:
Get a life. Grow a spine. But please, don’t call.


Mud Garden

Scissor River’s cutbank’s no safe place
to dig in, take a stand. Each spring
it falls: wet cascades of stones & mud.
Caving tunnels spew keening swallows,
panicked plosives stammering from dirt—


When the first doll washed up headless
in the weeds, I knew I’d found my calling. Green stink
slimed her neckhole. I sloshed her hollow body
empty on a rock. Named her Miriam the Fair.
I grew adept at finding more. What some call theft,
I call a knack for reeling in the orphaned of this world.


One night in Houston I found a boy
who superglued toy soldiers to his Plymouth Duster.
I thought his kind of love might save me
from the mess of sex. He said I was his G.I. Joe. We kissed
like pans banged together. Our limbs akimbo.
His mother dressed him as a girl till he was eight . . .
I longed to keep his chipped tooth in my pocket.


All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
clomp over the drawbridge to fight
for an idea of honor. Back in the castle,
women flutter, sculpt turrets of curls and glitter
their cleavage in gowns that shimmer like dragonflies.
Heads up, girls—Spies in the trees turn out to be boys
who want not to have but to be . . .


I met a lesbian who hated men,
declared they should be herded up and shot. Like what
we do for meat. How’s that? she leered, and flashed
a handgun from her handbag. Her bumper
sticker blared Thelma and Louise LIVE! Mother always said
we’d reap what we sow, but I thought she meant sew,
and bent harder to my craft.                                               


Needles and pins, needles and pins,
you won’t get the chance to see Mother again.


A boy saves plastic bodies without cocks.
The notion of his own is blurred. A car’s a kind of body
dressed in metal: encrusted with soldiers, a fortress 
to climb inside like a coat of arms
and legs and heads and torsos locked in place.
Dear Pilot,   tell me:  where
do you touch yourself?


Bottles buried upside down:
green and amber bottoms shine like dull boys’ eyes. 
Pennies flattened on the tracks
then strung from trees tinkle you will marry poor. 
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, what’s that
in your reliquary? —My babes. My fruitless ones.
Little arms all in a row.


Tearoom Song

Anyone could pick him out in a crowd:
the visible faggot, the obvious queer,
he sashays, flirts, makes gestures rude and loud.
He never sneaks; he’ll step right up and sneer
at those who bolt.  He’s fit: his fists punch air,
his gym-toned biceps bulge and strain his black
T-shirt.  The businessman, the janitor,
the copy boy, the clerk: all know he’ll suck
them off.  The men’s room’s full of eager cock:
they want to shut him up. They want his mouth.
A few will feign disgust, but they’ll be back.
Most men can’t help themselves.  But truth cuts both
ways: some hungers never end. And so again
he kneels to serve them all his slick attention.  


Ron Mohring is the author of Survivable World (2003 Washington Prize), The David Museum (chapbook, New Michigan Press) and, most recently, Touch Me Not (chapbook, Three Rivers Review). These poems are from a new manuscript titled Flagrancies.  His micropress is Seven Kitchens (see Links).