Literary Orphans

Three Poems
by Eugenia Petty


Calendar of Jubilee Saints
January 12th—Jack London
Sailor, oyster pirate, hobo

February 19th—Copernicus
Turned the world upside down, again

March 20th—Holderlin
The archetypal Mad Poet

April 9th—Charles Baudelaire
“Be drunk always, with wine, or poetry…even with virtue.”

May 22nd—Gerard De Nerval
French Romantic Poet, suicide
He walked a lobster on a blue ribbon through the streets of Paris.
“It doesn’t bark, and it knows the secrets of the sea.”

June 3rd—Josephine Baker
Genius saint of the body electric

July 9th—Nicola Tesla
Scientific genius; died penniless, alone with his pigeons

August 30th—Mary Shelley
British anarchist; daughter, wife and mother of anarchists

September 23—John Coltrane
Saxophonist magician, prophet

October 13th—Lenny Bruce
Acerbic, edgy stand-up comic; defender of free speech, free life
Hounded to death by Thought Police

November 12th—Israel Regardie
Prophet of infinite consciousness

December 29th—Rainer Marie Rilke
Saw Angels

O Typekey Divider

Wine Cooler
I remember labels of white and gold ink embossed syrups
their perfumed oils; grenadine, daiquiris, mint
I came to call them my viscous fluids
ingested jism
the rot gut ethyl alcohol of life

I was in Rite Aid with Leon and the woman said to the man with the hickey on his neck “$6.29 for a sixer—God that’s steep!”
Leon just smiled remembering the twisted metal of cars he’d walked away from
leaving the trees as testaments
ropes of iron on elongated trunks
like necks wearing the carnage as jewels

We map the veins of roads we’ve tumbled down
stoned on 200 proof glass hammered fuel

Ales and malt liquor
chilled deep in ice chests
of Vietnam Veterans

Peelings of potato
scavenged from cellars of Ukrainian harvesters
are squeezed onto stove tops
distilled in dank kitchens
with sores and rheumatism
incisions and scars

Huge abscesses
covering hepatic tissue
are the brutal tattoos of need and habit
the corner store King Cobra neon reminders
of the spirits we seek
the chemicals we balance
the smooth cool grace
of a wine cooler in spring

O Typekey Divider

Inconceivable how blue and green balls of glass
last in nets of heavy depth.
The concrete impact of water,
like asphalt, like stone,
as the body falls from the bridge.

. . . . Alison…
the only person I ever knew
to jump from the Golden Gate.

I know now Ginsberg’s feelings perhaps
. . . . for deploring madness
Yet how can one forget
. . . . one’s madness

Locked in a mirrored room, spray painting,
I found it difficult to remember my dreams.
Small growths, like sea sponges
distend my frontal lobe.
The warm fur of some beast born inside my brain
weaving insidiously beneath layers of tissue.

I have a small cyst behind my left earlobe
that expands and contracts with sebum.
It is the creature in my brain.

I dream now of animals in cups of water
by my bedside in the morning,
ochre lizard,
bronze otter,
silver eel,
and incandescent jellyfish,
like mysterious liquid balls of glass,
tethered to the bosom of the sea.

O Typekey Divider



Eugenia Hepworth Petty is the Art and Photography Editor for the online journal Newport Review. Her poems and photographs have appeared in a variety of journals including The Sun, Monkeybicycle, In Posse Review and The Pedestal Magazine.  You may find her work at

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Felicia Simion

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