Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monster Gardens

by Scott Keeney

Anything but ornamental
we pegged each other
as a memorial
in nine utter parts—

eyebrows raised, lips
held tight, no need,
light heart, to spell
or spill things out.


A couple of sphinges
staring at each other
as if to carve an exit
into eternity—

What if Paul Bunyan,
having lost his Babe,
caught a woodsman
by the legs and
ripped him in half?


The castle built
on the elephant’s back,
the guide
banging the drum,

the legionnaire passed out
in the elephant’s trunk,
the empty eyes
and missing tusks.


yell, centripetal eyes, the moss-
winged dragon climbs
dog and lion
to seize the sky
from the idea of God.


Inside the mouth of hell,
that two-toothed Moloch,

the stone tongue forms
a picnic table.

We sit down to eat
the sandwiches we brought,

smile at each other
and our rational ways.


The sun is rising.
The nymph must be sleeping.


You who have travelled the world
come here and rest in
this bench like a basket
as it sinks into the earth.


The rotunda,
the owl.
We enter,
we who.


Come back when the sun is sleeping.
You know she won’t be there.


A mermaid with a shoe on her head—
we weren’t supposed to stare?—
with wings like sugar cookies and a tail
that slipped back into the ocean
some thirty miles away.

Now when we see Neptune
with his Age of Aquarius beard
we understand what he is
going through.


Cerberus wanders the Sacred Grove
with his detachable heads
that fall to the ground
whenever one barks.

Ceres will stop and put the heads
back on, but Venus—
those snouts
have torn her forearms off.


The temple brings boredom
compared to the Graces
embracing their bodies
in the cavern, the source
of all obscure thought.

Scott Keeney’s works have appeared most recently in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Everyday Genius, Gobbet, On Barcelona, Stirring, and UCity Review.

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