We’d planned to cast a statue in bronze to commemorate the terrible history of spilled milk. But now you’ve arrived and when you stand just so, you seem the perfect embodiment. See how the pigeons flock? Landing on your shoulders, perched atop your head. Finally, we can stop our crying.
No telling who’ll be biting come nightfall. A certain element will ply you with French cigarettes and honey pastries. Do not hear their promises or taste their threats. Musicians tune up mandolins and fiddles. Plenty of heartache being the result. You may be convinced to dance and throw your hat. A perfectly good fedora, lost. In back alleys, drifters beg you to roll the dice for small potatoes and magic beans. Their devoted wives cook the winnings over open fires, spitting into the steaming pots with what can only be described as cruel relish. Dearest midnight moth, it might be best to remain in your cocoon.
The dancer’s undulating navel caresses a sweet and sticky date begging to be eaten by a worthy supplicant. Cumin and saffron. Scented oils. Miles of bright silk. Children roll hoops through dusty streets. No one's seen any of it. All is the hearsay of barroom paintings. Sworn testimony of pathological liars dressed in pith helmets and khaki. Impressions gathered from the rantings of daydreamers gone mad in the shimmering heat of the library’s reading room where cats sleep in squares of sunlight.
Have I mentioned my uncle? He’s a butcher but considers himself a sculptor of sorts. The very tender should avoid his shop as he struggles to reckon the difference between a hog on a hook and a child in short pants. The way he looks at both has gotten him into trouble. He tells us he’s trimmed away his mind’s bad parts and fed them to the moon. He’s invested in fancy charts revealing the secrets of chops, steaks, filets, and the organs considered edible. Uncle devotes himself to study of these maps late at night after washing down the chopping block, sweeping the floors, and frying something thick for his dinner. He taps a finger on his temple and winks to reassure us. But really: who cares if he grins like a devil when he sharpens his knives? The man sells the freshest meat in town. And we love meat.
“Like so many of this nation’s writers of poetry,” Philip Brooks says, “he can lately be found drinking coffee and eating a baked good in Brooklyn, New York. You can spot him. He’s the guy scribbling in a notebook rather than typing on a laptop. His poems have appeared previously in Mudlark, as well as in the Beloit Poetry Journal, The Kenyon Review, Willow Springs, The Quarterly, and various internet spots.”