Glen Armstrong

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has a new chapbook titled Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) and two more scheduled for 2015: In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.)

1963 –

We never knew love lives
          or monkey shines.

We never got around to hammering
          out the details.

We were told to
          watch our mouths,

          unless our mouths
          were somehow televised.

          There were better ways to go blind.

We were your sweet, sweet bippy.

          A failed zero

I was twelve or so when I got the news
          that Manson had his sights

          set on our little town
          should he get paroled.

It was hard to trust anyone.

The DayGlo babysitter’s letter
          of resignation

          had each “i” dotted
          with a long-lashed
          eye of Fatima.
Featured Image: Diagonal of Personal Ecstasy (the Diagonal of May 25, 1963, to Constantin Brancusi)

The Girl Who Liked Scary Movies

She was seven when I was twelve.
She was clever when I was water.
She took baths when I took showers.
She was X when I was the Science Patrol.
Her green Crayola was the one she loved best,
the one that ran away from her the quickest.
Godzilla was green and Frankenstein
and most of the rest of what she drew
had a jagged green outline to signify
the otherworldly:

A top-hatted granddad
with a knife and one eye.
     An undead parakeet.
       An army of radioactive boyfriends.

She told me that she had eleven daddies
when she was little,
but that her real daddy
was moving back home . . .
even though he accidentally killed a turtle.
She was drawing a green lightning bolt
when I was drawing a map to the treasure.
“But that’s a secret I’m not supposed to tell,”
she said, shaking her green crayon at me.

We didn’t see each other for years.
She was exploding when I was driving.
She was developing a reputation when I was an anarchist.
She was combing her hair when I was asleep.
She was mentioned when I was listening.
And though I still haven’t seen her
since she lived down the street,
I dreamed of her last night:

She was quietly raising her daughter,
while I was a forensic detective,
reprimanded by the chief for outlining
the bodies with green chalk
instead of the approved tombstone white.

And in that Silly-Putty place
between dream and daylight,
I was in love with her for a moment.
      Though she never recognized me
      as she searched for quarters in her purse,
      I was lurching toward her
      from an entirely different world.