Two Poems by Robert Beveridge

Cashing In

How you remained awake
as the crows ate you, you
have no idea. It was less
painful than you feared. More
to observe, then, how the larger
crows went for the soft tissue
the smaller ones the large muscles.
Did they have something to prove?
Perhaps you’ll find out when they
get to your brain.
And to think
just last week you were a collector
of remaindered debts, noted
for your skill in the application
of pressure to kneecaps.
You never sold the bosses out.
How you got here? Anyone’s guess.
A bum with a jai-alai habit
can’t afford the firepower.
Chalk this one up to fate, or maybe
hungrier-than-usual birds who may
or may not have had indeed something
to prove.

Doorways
(Metropolis, Part 5)

The doorways we were in before
are gone now; the city, since
we were last together,
has been reconstructed, beautified,
or so say the powers that be.

These new, modern doorways burrow
underneath the streets, carving
pristine tunnels that no resistance
would ever have the desperation to inhabit.
These doorways are the anuses of worms.

They stand like rotting fruit, ripe
and open—inviting to the casual
shopper. One bite, though, reveals
the tunneling rot beneath. The worms
are tunneling beneath the city.

The bums that used to lie
in state, though living, in the shadows,
are mostly gone, the effect
of this beautification,
but a handful of hangers-on remain:

see, that one there, old black man
with greying hair and medals
pinned to his fatigues. I see him
every day, pass him
on my way down into the underworld.

I give him something every day—not always money
a sandwich, perhaps, or a flower
for his lapel. Something
to make this doorway,
this reconstructed, beautified home of his,
a little less pristine.

Even these ugly doorways, though,
can be our home. Clutch your leg
to my thigh, wrap redgold
hair around my neck. Our cries
echo through the city’s subterranean disease.

No matter how the city changes, we remain.


Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Survision, Loud Zoo, and Ghostlight, among others.

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