Three Poems by George Mostoller

Bottomless Ocean

Lying down in the dark in a bottomless ocean
With the blood pumping in his eyeballs
Tickled by tentacles of octopus thoughts
Grinning faces appear in the bubbles
Now swallowed by eddies of green
Vessels, veins and purple scratches
Like hothouse flowers or phosphorous flashes
The Vitus Dance and Elmo’s Fire
Into the bedroom they slither
Where Teresa’s flames burn higher and higher
And Roman candles shoot and wither
The darkness now pregnant with unfed desire
The air pressing hard in pulse undulations
Trapped under wave upon wave of regret
The sweaty fever breaks in spasms on
Twisted dreams now all but forgotten
Leaving only a nervous malaise
And a slight facial tic

Radish (part one)

my heart exploded like a million suns
when I saw you smile today,
your hair like black night;
your laugh, a red radish,
rang circles ’round my stammering
brain as I vainly tried to entertain
you with some busy nonsense

Grandmother’s Attic

Spiders and roses and powder and lace
a skeleton hand resting under her face
like grandmother’s attic, like an old general store
you look for a little and find nothing more
a rickety framework that somehow survived
in the back rooms of memory, maybe four, maybe five,
a sepia snap of your mother’s great aunt
near a quilt in a trunk and a stuffed elephant,
where the tintypes and tatting not tattered remain
in a dark recessed corner in the back of the brain
a Dickensian clerk works alone in the night
scratching his notes by the flickering light
of a candle whose shadows on the wall quick and bright
with a smell like old orange peel and naphtha, all right,
the memories dancing around this old flame,
and Micawber’s still scrawling the words of her name
when a sharp breath of wind comes and blows out the light
and the spiders of memory crawl back into night.

George Mostoller is an illustrator, poet, and songwriter (under the name Hawk Tubley). His illustrations and poems have appeared in previous issues of Steel Toe Review.