Charlie Brice

Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His chapbook, All the Songs Sung (Angel Flight Press), and his fourth poetry collection, The Broad Grin of Eternity (WordTech Editions) arrived in 2021. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta ReviewChiron ReviewThe Paterson Literary ReviewThe Sunlight PressImpspired Magazine, and elsewhere.

Hot Poems to Go

I hope my poems form a crispy crust
of couplets, tercets, and quatrains
and possess the tangy liveliness
of tomato sauce laced with garlic,
with metaphors worthy of the most
smooth and tasty mozzarella cheese.

Could my iambs and trochees surprise
my readers like pepperoni and Italian
sausage shocks their tongues? Will my

anapests appeal to their pallets in the way
that anchovies attract their appetites?
Will the chomp of onions remind them

of my line breaks, each stanza a new
slice of the poetic pizza pie? Will
my poem’s meaning be as inviting

and familiar as the aroma that rises 
from that steamy Sicilian dish? Could
my words warm a room like that?

Treasure Hunt

While walking through a farm field in Buskupee, Poland, 
	carrying a metal detector, Pyzemyslaw Witkowski 
found coins used in 845 AD by the terrified inhabitants 
	of Paris, coins used to pay off Viking marauders 
from destroying their even then beautiful city. How
	those coins wound up in a Polish field remains

a mystery, but what intrigued me about the article, 
	in today’s New York Times, was its mention of 
Charles the Bald, grandson of Charlemagne, who ruled 
	part of the Carolingian Empire in 845 when the Vikings
threatened Paris. Here I sit in my backyard with a cup 
	of Russian tea, amid day lilies and roses of Sharon, 

serenaded by robins, catbirds, and chickadees, ruling over 
	my tiny kingdom while bald. Yes, I too am Charles the Bald! 
Aging has ushered so many indignities: Ten years ago my opposable 
	thumbs became opposed to removing plastic coverings on 
containers, unscrewing bottle caps, opening jars and attaching hoses 
	to faucets. Then my ankles went: one of them will quit on a walk 

and I’ll have to ask my sweet dog, Mugsi, how we are supposed to get 
	home. I won’t neglect to mention how I woke up one morning 
with a stiff neck that never went away or all those “marbles” that roll 
	around in my back when I stretch. While I wouldn’t want to lose 
all my marbles, are they supposed to be in my back? And, of course, 
	there’s my hair, the individual strands of which have been bailing out 

of my skull, skydiving onto carpets and floors and clogging showers 
	and sinks for years. But now I’ve discovered a king who celebrated
his infirmity. Yes, now I am Charles the Bald! But I could also be 
	Charles of the Worthless Thumbs, or Charles of the
Unfaithful Ankles, or even Charles Who Has All of His Marbles. 
	I like that one. That’s something I can be proud of. 

Ceci N’Est Pas Une Mort

After Perspective: David’s ‘Madame Recamier,’
			a painting by Rene’ Magritte

He was present when they pulled his mother’s body 
from the sea, her nightgown ribbed up over her
matted mitten, his first home, baptized by despair. 

No one knows what pushed her over the cliff 
on that dark night. Was it what endeared or what endured, 
illness or money, or merely the psychosis of everyday life?

Her coffin rests upright on a chaise lounge, 
ready for a nap or a psychoanalytic session. 
Her nightgown puddles beneath its death-cauldron. 

Who could have fathomed the depths?

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