Poetry: Selections from Peter Mladinic

A Though Z

A is for asshole, b is for bayou,

under the willow by the bayou.

C for caress, for Charlie in produce

with his red apron and black tie.

D for Dangerfield, Rodney,

I can’t get no respect. E, eagle,

the American eagle, the Tanzanian eagle.

F for faith. G for Gizmo our Maltese.

H for highchair. I, I think Bernie Kill knows

about style. J for Josh, K for Hemingway’s

“The Killers.”  L for lug the corpse

over the grass and kick it into the river.

M is for maybe, N nothing, O oriole,

P put down that knife and let’s talk.

Q Queenie slammed the door and flew

down the stairs. R for runt,

S sound as in Long Island Sound, T

temptation, U a U turn can get you a ticket.

V vagina, W words wound, X for Xavier

Cugat was a bandleader. Y you don’t know.

Z for zest, as in I wash with Zest soap.

Rock Firepit

A canyon—I couldn’t see till I got to it.

I looked down at green treetops, rocks and

a stream, birds, paths through the trees.

All the while on top where I’m standing

everything’s flat, with rocks, mesquite,

and cacti with needles low to the ground,

and the mesquites’ thorny branches

waist-high.  Those branches good to throw

in a fire pit once the flames get going:

Take a match to a teepee of twigs and dry

grass, sit in a metal chair outside the circle

of rocks and the branches flaming.

White House / Death House

What’s a little self-promotion, some me-

time.  Danny Rolling for President of Hell.

Some believe in white privilege.  I believe

in poetic justice.  While you have neighbors

I have fellow sufferers.  Sure, I was smacked

by my state trooper dad.  Sure, I stabbed

and even took off a human head, posed it

and sat in the bedroom where she died by

my hand, as did others in Gainesville.

I camped in woods.  I strummed a guitar.

Like Manson, I wrote songs, like Bundy

I slaughtered in Gainesville.  Ted Bundy

for President!  Bundy in the White House.

Me, Danny in the Death House we have

here, me and my fellow sufferers.  Michael

Franzese, who did time, said if one innocent

is killed, the death penalty’s not worth it.

But what about self-loathing savages,

sub-human scum such as I?  What was

coming to me I got, then some.  I’m here,

burning eternally.  Here with Ted.

Twiddling our thumbs, our souls suffering.

If even one innocent person… what about

the non-innocents?  What was good for me

should be also for them.  My constituency,

fellow sufferers, believe as I believe.

White privilege or no, put Danny Rolling

in the Death House in 2024.  What we have

down here is like your White House up there.

Strapped to a gurney I was injected.  Ones

who thought that too good for me were

right. I should have been killed, brought

back, killed again and again at taxpayers’

expense, but the dumb bastards showed

me a kindness I never showed that lady

whose severed head I posed on a bureau.

Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available now from Better Than Starbucks Publications. He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA and is an animal rights advocate.