Three Poems by Jéanpaul Ferro

The Book of Twilights

We sat below the neon-lit palms like we always did when
you were small, a rose and gold colored sky between us and
the lightening crackling down a hundred miles away,
columns and hives of black cloud rising, rising upward like
gods atop the horizon of the ocean off in the distance,

I remember your young and frightened eyes looking up at me
for comfort before you out grew me—

that brittle sound of the clamshell road in the moonlight
on our way home every night.


You Know Too Much About Flying Saucers

I dreamed a hole through her head, where blue
cathode ray spilled out over space and time,

ten seconds of my stare, my eyes pretending to look
at the red Coca-Cola sign flashing up behind her head,
blinking on and off in reds and whites over and over:
Drink Coke—You Dope!

People say we are like Siamese twins, but really
we are more like Tiananmen Square, 1989;
six murdered sextuplets on a Sunday;

You’re crazy. We can’t be together, she says—this is
every time right before we go and remarry down in old
Mexico;

I love the crazy flashing skies over Acapulco, an
emerald stain the way George Stevens got to do it
on film,

both of us with bare feet, dancing under moonlight,
over broken bottles of glass, arms flailing, waving madly;

every day another séance to stop the Nuclear bombs,
all night long as we pray against the missiles landing
in someone else’s backyard—

wet and on fire; a wave, ten thousand surfers going out
from the storm atop another tsunami; I can taste it! I can bury it
in the morning with my foot down to the floorboard;

water, napalm, flying about; I will fly; sea turtles flowing
in my veins to the other side of the earth; my mouth: it’s
got a direct line to Jehovah’s red ear, splitting my own
chest open to get down to that vodka with a straw;

swinging, dancing, spinning, tango atop the cobblestones,
both of us shivering along the gold spires, our souls being
pushed up hard against doors, in heavenly colors, azure-blue,
emerald, until we are falling one thousand years into the future—

down to the ghost of your words as they whisper out to me:
divided together; and so we fall apart.”


The Last University Students

They were driving to Florida, because
all losers in life always end up in the
same state of denial,

fired from their jobs, their jobs that got sent
elsewhere, even their rent money was gone,

and now the impending winter was too much
to bear—

those white dreamscapes of snowy hills lost in
a past life where childhood dreams still lived,

so they went off and got stuck in their own
blizzard somewhere down in Virginia,

white everywhere—even the motel television
had only 27 channels of loving white,

the bed sheets had this bourbon stain right
where they lie naked in each other’s arms,

snow against the windows, body against body,
only the steam from the bathroom in between them,

he goes to lick the red diamonds where her thighs meet,
she kisses all of his anguish through her silent rage,

black before them, black all the way behind them,
he tells her to dream of a palm lined street,

she can only think of her childhood neighborhood church,
her priest—every second of him living and dying from behind
her,

soon their hotel bed shakes them out into the cold,
where they lie in a field like two wounded deer run
off the highway,

the apricot sky swirling, drunk, up above them,
Florida a million miles away, this new world of
theirs too damaged to go into,

every numbness ebbing through them, swelling, wrists
aching, sinews stretching, a plan for escape?—but it’s
dead now;

yesterday just a yellow word on a black book jacket
set against a blue script—a new marketing genius for
Internet suicide;

soon the snow drifts burying them under a clean white
coat, lasting up until springtime and on into the summer,

into the dimensions beyond that, into delicate memory—
something perfect, frozen, silent, all the potential that you
and I used to possess: an old America that only the dead know
now.


Jéanpaul Ferro is a novelist, poet, and short fiction author from Providence, Rhode Island. An eight-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has been featured on NPR, Columbia Review, Connecticut Review, Contemporary American Voices, Arts and Understanding Magazine, Emerson Review, and others. Hislast two books, Essendo Morti – Being Dead (Goldfish Press, 2009) and Jazz (Honest Publishing, 2011), have both been nominated for the Griffin Prize in Poetry with the latter also being nominated the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Prize in Poetry.

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