By Ace Boggess

I don’t feel villainous
until lasers clack like pool balls from my eyes,
hands devolve into vicious claws:
get out of my way.
I look back at fantasies from childhood &
watch them turn, think,
So, I’m the bad guy here?

I separate atoms of vehicle & driver
in front of me on a slow day of stern, serious
traffic lights. I melt vault doors
using my flamethrower arms.
Mind control? Don’t ask.
Really, don’t. Plato: the invisible man
makes himself king—who could stop him?

Here I come with my narcotic breath,
my army of others like me,
eager to strap you to the gurney,
teach you sleep in bleak transcendence,
let you learn to love suffering
until we beg for mercy from ourselves:
Oh, great & horrible brute, what have I done?





Parking ticket on the car behind:
green flare from toxic algae bloom
against the plane of a glass stream.
A ticket to what? The carnival
where stilted clowns try not to tumble?
Papier-mâché exhibit at the museum
fortified with origami castles?
Maybe it’s the ticket to some film—
slowly paced & poorly plotted—
on the subject of how time passes,
each minute meaningless as life &
the end of life & whatever order
we place upon it in our cities
with their structures of brick,
their caved-in sidewalks of brick,
parking meters begging change:
I did, I say. I will, I say. I can’t.




Ace Boggess is author of the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016) and three books of poetry, most recently, The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road) which is available here. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.