Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Permafrost, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.
Garden Scene with a Watering Can
After the painting by Paul Klee The garden blooms in peaceful excitement. Watering cans, shy, diffident, reside ready for their quenching duty. An empty sky-blue work bucket, its handle resting in repose, announces the day’s work complete, waits to catch the cat’s contented purr purl from its perch atop a patio table next to a lounge chair we want to inhabit—we who, with hand shovel and hoe, grow art in our backyards—slip off work gloves amid earthen smells and trembling leaves, put-up our feet and dream a wild palette of color.
Ars Poetica III
A poem leaps off the page grabs me by my shirt front rips off a few buttons and smacks me straight in the nose blood my blood splatters all over my desk oozes out of my printer keyboard keys hopelessly sticky and stained This is when I know I’m alive dead poets dance across pages laugh and weep speak of grief spring forward fall backwards horse hooves on cobblestones heart monitor’s beep beep beep cars speed through the night an ear gentle against the ground listens for an absent god suicidal teen’s feet inch closer to the overpass edge a lake laps calm as a loon’s call at dawn cancer ward cries sweaty sighs of entwined lovers silence loud as a stanza break sights seen in my midnight mind all the songs sung in psyche’s dark tunnel go ahead give me your best shot I’m ready for another round
Instructions for Golfers
First, wash your balls! To play the game with dirty balls is to dishonor it. Then place a ball on a stick that’s convex on one end and jam it into the sward. Grab a club that has a big block of wood on its end and grip it as if you are ten years old and making a secret handshake with a friend. Now, wiggle your heinie like you would if a swarm of fire ants jumped into your pants and began to omnivore your privates. Gaze down the fairway at a tiny flag on the horizon—squint and aim for it. Whack the gleaming ball and watch its antiseptic flight into the ether as birds, bugs, foul, and all legitimate nature avoid its rude trajectory. Hop into your motorized wain and pretend, over the roar of the engine, that you are both engaging nature and exercising in it. Breathe deeply the gaseous air and smirk at your comrades as their carts crisscross what was once a placid grassy plain. Congratulate yourself on the masculine dismount from your chariot as you make the heroic decision about which club to use for your approach shot. Oh the tension as you survey the 3 iron, the 5 iron, and choose, with trembling hand, the 7 iron. Wiggle your keister again as you prepare to abuse the grass-besmirched orb that, only moments ago, you so gently bathed. With the courage of Custer at his last stand, watch the ball bounce toward the tiny flagpole on the green. Look down and notice you’ve uprooted a six-inch swath of turf. Grab a clump of dead flora and further molest it with your cleated shoe— tell yourself you’ve healed a cosmic scar. Return to your cart, open the cooler in the back, and pop the top on a cold one. Marvel at the mix of fermented cattle feed that slithers down your throat at only half past 8 this morn. Nature is grand, you think on your way to the matted surface of chemically stunted grass you call the green. Crouch down, and extend your putter from your crotch toward the hole. It’s so long! Imagine your ball as it travels the slope and curve of the soft sod and sinks deep into the abyss. Stroke your ball. You love to stroke your ball. Watch it meander toward the hole, kiss its lip, but fail to enter its sanctum sanctorum. No matter, only a quick spurt from your putter and poof, your ball disappears into that tiny dark continent. Sigh with satisfaction, wipe your brow, and repeat these steps 17 more times. Once home, refuse your wife’s request that you shower before entering her boudoir, certain that her amorous reluctancies will willingly succumb to the manly musk that pulsates from your virile visage.