Alan Britt, Summer 2017


(After the Tom Larson Blues Band)


Flesh is verb.

Slide guitar, adjective.

Preposition, heartbeat.

Nouns exude soot from Philly
incinerators, adorning
bronze AM rush-hour.

New Jersey Turnpike . . .
anaconda daydream . . . .

Feral nerves like rest stops
agreeing to agree & disagree
but less like Gérard de Nerval’s
apron strings lassoed around
a sewer grate awaiting someone,
anyone, to intervene.

But flesh is verb, & slide guitars,
well, they do what slide guitars
do, which is vibrate the earth
like a heartbeat in estrous.





Acrid tears carve rivulets
into our last encounter with the thing
that haunts us.

We steer crossovers over access roads
& quicksilver arteries
straight into a catatonic bliss.

Love buried beneath the reeds
remains beneath the reeds,
reeds snorting Everglades’ heartaches
one amphibious bubble at a time
below a pool of barometric oil.

Striped cherubs bob the surface.

Dragonfly navigates the mangroves
& alights two centimeters from a wild orchid
out for a stroll—three-day stroll,
it turns out—as four days never arrives
for this blissful orchid.

Orchid lips compressing oxygen
into chalky asbestos shingles.

Orchid lips kissing the waist of the earth
like it was a rainforest.

Orchid lips agreeing to a prenuptial amounting
to a silkworm forced to flash I.D.
before languishing inside its cocoon.

Orchid lips of foam scudding blue beach sand.

That’s all—a little faith—a little faith
goes a long way.



In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. In 2013 he served as judge for the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, his latest being Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published in Romania: 2015). He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

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