Literary Orphans

Three Poems by Chris Crittenden



the apple is a prize, a high,

a plucked one-eyed giant’s crave.

Eve’s curse.  Snow White’s ball-gag.

that it is round and luscious

makes it a breast.  that it brazenly calls out

makes it a painter’s fetish.


its crimson orchards seduce fierce,

storms of fruited rain.

moans sometimes mistake such torrents

for beds of rose petals.

the apple is the sun on a suc-

culent horizon.  it possesses

the moon when the moon suc-

cumbs to darkled blush.


it is lips opening to taste,

and a kiss eager and round.

it hypnotizes hunger,

ensorcels appetite.

and it can never,

no matter how often engaged,

or terribly missed,

be truly kind, generous,

or faithful.

O Typekey Divider


i was

yet another replicant of us all,

symbolized, as we were,

in film as zombies and traffic,

and the pulse of revs and honking

that crept miles to see the show.


we all smoked fumes and smog

to suffer a bronchia of tar

while my testicles and vaginas

propagated office cubes.


it was a cannibalistic business,

eating each others’ dignity, killing

our slim chances with forks

of money that spiked or dipped.


the shock of it ricocheted

through ear clips and cellphones,

commandeered the hands of men–

the one they used to masturbate–

and the women’s little pda scepters.


i gazed from inches

into the half-coy desire of every face;

watched our thrills fatten on electric blood,

preying on some victim de jour

caught in a two-inch screen.


no part of me/us/it was able to avoid

the changing rooms of nerves,

the fashioning of the tight fabric,

the packaging of our flesh.

O Typekey Divider

Midnight On the Bridge

near a dunce-cap cone of light

an occasional car

slingshots down bottomless



the drivers not urgent

to find out how roofs

fell to populate the earth:

how some noble ideal had crowded itself

and shattered.


a mind is a molecule,

the city sick with them.  so many swarm

that only collective purpose

combines to matter.


the chemical pulls

that bond us in grids

are also the traps that encase us


you can write about it on paper, on your arm,

in blood, or into the ghost-ocean of a screen.

god did this for a reason,

you could state.


but the ekg

that the angels watch,

while listening to prayers,

is the New York Stock Exchange.

O Typekey Divider

Chris Crittenden writes obsessively from a struggling little town, fifty miles from the nearest traffic light (though he winters in Los Angeles).  He blogs as Owl Who Laughs, has a PhD in philosophy, and is pretty well published.


O Typekey Divider

–Art by Mario Mencacci