personal history

little gertie tugging at her leash
            close by the fucking elbow-dip bars
rows of oleanders in himmel park stretching to sky

bang, there he was back at the old family scene
            up in the attic with plastic cushions
                        stained in vaseline history
screaming downstairs continues
            YOU   YOU    YOU     AYE   AYE   AYE    ME    ME    MEEEE

those adorable spaniel eyes glowing
tucson’s glare ripping time wide open

railings alongside those cracked attic stairs
luring him to try making slight dips
            if he did enough dips would
            tony scultrito leave him alone
            in the middle school playground
                        but tony kept whacking him so he went home

squeezing the cat
            between his knees with spasms
            of pleasure not knowing why
                        a writhing cat excited him
meow, she runs off leaving him sweaty

they’re still at it in the kitchen
            MEEEE      MEEEE        YOU      YOU

beneath a giant sycamore the bearded guy lies
            a dog’s heart beating softly on his chest
            the craziness has gone

some lean kid effortlessly does elbow dips

inhaling freshly cut grass the old guy is amazed
            in a no-nonsense sort of way
to still be around when so many of his betters
            are back to basic carbon

the dog holds no animosity and the air accepts
his exhalations with clean neutrality

Burgess Needle’s poetry has appeared in Blackbox Manifold (UK), Concho River Review, Decanto (UK), The Centrifugal Eye, Clockwise Cat, ken*again, Under the Radar (UK), Kritya (India), Iodine Poetry Journal, Prick of the Spindle, Flutter, Origami Condom and Red Fez. Diminuendo Press published his first poetry collection: Every Crow in the Blue Sky. Big Table Publishing published his second collection: Thai Comic Books.

Needle taught English in a small Thai village for the Peace Corps, has been a co-director of the Southern Arizona Writing Project, co-published and edited Prickly Pear/Tucson (a poetry quarterly) for five years and was a school librarian for thirty years. He lives in Tucson.

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