Collaborative Poems by Juliet Cook & Michael Bernstein

Yes It's Done Burning thru canyons of news feed, a vortex on each pallid tongue

until a percolator explodes and then magma seeps out

its mottled gold gorging on the horizon, gnawed ruptures

in the sprawl's dull chill, because we can't tell

the difference between hot and cold eruptions

and it keeps burning. Gurgling inside the remaining

brain tissue. Spat out in clots that spiral up,

dodge radar, shred x rays at the rim of space,

then decide some planets look like inferior disease in need of forced lumpectomies.

The gluts are removed, repurposed,

each knife bearing down on the wriggling topography. Somewhere, an ocean lurches into its inception.

Somehow, a carrier pigeon evacuates itself out of the cut guts,

starts flying towards that ocean. We can't quite tell

if the water will be loaded with more unsettling remains

or something to save.

Exothermic Birth I am sand. I am a filament for carnal lightning. I am the impossible

green of reactor fires. I am a hammer to the Faberge egg of reality.

I am a carnival horror show ride that was meant to be safe

for children but keeps snapping their necks

or breaking into their little heads accidentally

invading their brains with imagery that is not even

PG-13, I never will be. Or else I'm lying. I'm lighting

my hair and entrancing a freak show nose bleed.

Blood shimmering down from the top of the rafter;

maybe all it wants to do is serenade you

with a recurring nightmare. With a tire fire in each fluttering eye.

Your sleep drenched in the slaughterhouse,

in mechanisms of dank decay. A woodpecker treating human eyes like tiny trees. Branches growing more mildew.

The starlight atrophies, the earth's arc wilted in an immensity of rot. The streetlights shatter but then start flying.

Geared to shred all flags, screech thru

millennial skies incandescent.

Pour out all the rotgut and replace it

with more rain, with new witch eggs falling

from the sky out of order and blazing.

In the Backroom

First, warmth. Then the shudder

of pock marked buildings.

Then decimation, the barometer gone slack.

Then the lumping together of the broken

body parts. Then a duck

duck goose game interchange.

Then neckties. Then tulips.

Then tiny circles tracing your breath

into oblivion. Then the weeping Minotaur,

the utterly purple sky. Then neon. Then obscure,

vulgar prayers. Then forceful confession

booths where those inside wear straightjackets.

Slobbering behind that booth, but which side?

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at Michael Bernstein is an American writer and musician. His first proper collection of poems...this is an x-ray...was published by Writing Knights in 2017. He currently lives in Wisconsin.

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