Four New Poems by Juliet Cook

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Your Fault

What do you think might happen with a man who doesn't feel

like he has enough control over his own life? He takes control

of the woman in his life. He grows increasingly drunk and angry.

He screams at the TV and sticks up for Hitler.

He yells at your twenty pound dog. You carry the shaking

pup upstairs and let the man keep screaming out hostility.

At least he's not screaming at you.

You go back down for some water or to fix yourself

another vodka & coke, to tone your nerves and convince yourself

this is all normal. It isn't. It's all your fault. He comes into the kitchen and glares at you,

raises his hand above your head like he's threatening

to punch you in the face. He punches

the cupboard above your head, breaks another hole.

He acts like it was just another joke. You try to convince yourself it was because he was drunk, but you were drunk too.

When you drink, you don't scream at other people and punch things

and then claim you were joking. You don't forget what you did

the next day. When you tell him what he did, he apologizes but

then laughs and does it again. He thinks it's everyone else's fault

or at least it's not his own. It must be yours again. He doesn't care

if your dog is having panic attacks, the dog must be haunted or else

the dog has collapsed into a seizure to show you a part of your future.

My Mask is a Vibrant Seashell that is Breaking Inside

My mask acts more confident than I really feel.

My non-masked self wonders what if I'm not

as smart as I used to be.

What if I think I'm expressing myself well

but I'm not making much sense to anyone else.

What if I over evaluate my own depth when I'm shallow. What if I under evaluate my own depth and then drown.

My mask acts like I don't really care what other people think of me,

because I'm going to try my best to be my real self no matter what.

My non-masked self thinks I'm nothing special,

nothing different, nothing unique. I'm a repetitive mixed up mess

and what's underneath the shell isn't quite dead yet and it hurts

when people don't like me, it hurts when they crack open my shell

without caring, and suck down my half-dead sea creature,

then make their own art out of my broken remnants. Even if I ripped off my own mask to show all my blood, some people would suck that down too,

then move on to their next meal

and part of me would feel like it was all my fault. My mask acts like I don't care even though I do care.

Cicadas often trample each other How can I make cicada wings stay

on a canvas?

How can I make anything stay

except for acrylic paint, yarn, paper words

and then I either give it away

or throw it into a field of broken draft horses.

Or keep it inside my own space

and keep looking at this thing I created

that nobody else understands.

Wings and body

are most vulnerable

when they are still soft.

If I want to make them last,

I might have to harden them,

cover them with more wet red,

and then watch them dry.

(this poem's title and the first three lines of the third stanza were derived from on online site called Cicada Mania, Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world)

Rapid Transit Witchery

1. Everybody wants to take one side or the other. Nobody wants to try on my pajama bottoms,

but they'll tell me my ass is grass

because it's not the same size as theirs.

They are trying to narrow us down

into small covens,

in which anyone who doesn't pick a side

or shape will be set on fire.


Anyone who doesn't agree

will be surrounded and run over

by heavy duty lawn mowers

and sealing foam

shoved down your throat. You cannot be you anymore. You are nobody special. You are another rabid animal

spewing your own shrapnel

and you need to be contained

and then converted

into their pack of rabid animals. 3.

What if I don't take sides? What if I view them all ravage each other? I watch the bleating goats

turn into bleeding ghosts

with invisible skin and sounds that are no longer heard.

In my dream, I am foaming

at the mouth like a rabid dog.

I wake up in a panic,

bark it out onto the page,

and then I evaporate.

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at