Corey Mesler

Love in Wonderland

The owl has
another question
but nobody
listens. I
don’t want to be
holed, he says.
I climb the
back stairs
to look into
the crippled girl’s
window. I
can see her petty
coats and
the beautiful
of her thigh. I
love it here
in the
Appellation M-
where God is
a suicide
and my tastes
run to all things
wild and for-
bidden. Night
is full of
sounds. I sit
under the owl
with the crip-
pled girl. She hand-
s me a letterbox
in which
her vagina beats
like the virgin’s heart.

I Will Make This Poem

I will make this poem of nouns, hard with shells like nuts. The winter is on us now and has us wearing things of brown and black and russet. There is a scrim of ice, like a theater curtain for a show closed years ago, on the dog dish. There is dust on the television, its screen is fogged and the men and women inside are talking in muffled tones as if their secrets were as baneful as Pandora’s jewelry. I cover myself with the multi-colored Indian blanket we bought in San Antonio the afternoon of the day we ate by the ambling river and exclaimed simultaneously, this is the best guacamole in the known. That was long ago. Still, you are here with me. Still, we live in this rackety-packety house and keep warm with blankets and hot tea and sweet linctus, and we remember, on good days, how it all came together, the rushing in of things and events and emotions, like waves, like waves pitching us onto this coast, denuded of sand and brine, made of dark brown wood and silvery gadgets and heartbeats like the rhythm track to the song we’ve been making all these years, the one we sing now, the one that begins….I will make this poem.

The Way the Angel Execrates

            “Instead of parsley/Swear loudly into it.”

                        –Charles Simic, from “Soup”

It comes out in twang
like a country song
fabricated by Old Scratch.
The angel uses blue words
the way I apply despair.
Once in my ear she said,
fuck, as soft as twilight,
and I carried it around
inside me for days, a re-
strained & very personal egg.


Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published six novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002),We Are BillionYear-Old Carbon (2006), The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (2010), Following Richard Brautigan (2010), and Gardner Remembers (2011), Frank Comma and the Time-Slip (2012), 2 full length poetry collections, Some Identity Problems (2008) andBefore the Great Troubling (2011), and 3 books of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009), Notes toward the Story and Other Stories (2011) and I’ll Give You Something to Cry About (2011). He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His fiction has received praise from John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Smith, Frederick Barthelme, Greil Marcus, among others. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He can be found at

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