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,
and it can never,
no matter how often engaged,
or terribly missed,
be truly kind, generous,
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.
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
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.
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.
–Art by Mario Mencacci