Unpublishable: Five Poems

Mark Leidner



[Wind blows my tanning bed open,


then blows me out of my tanning bed,


then blows my tanning bed       over


onto me,             and I hide under it.]







[You pull your favorite book off the shelf


and carry it across the room         and spend


an hour or two                     trying to toss it


back into the shelf                   from there.]







[If they ever really did              clone dinosaurs


and built a real                                         Jurassic Park


it would be funny                        if a tiny, little


asteroid       arrived and destroyed      only it.]







[Ventriloquists caravanning through bogs

carry their dummies above the waterline

until their arms cramp up.

Driven insane by a new kind of rain,

scorpions sting the crowns of their own heads.

Seeking permanent escape

from unnecessary bankruptcies

celebrities promote perfumes derived

from martyrs’ funeral pyres.

Voluntarily confined

to office buildings, unicorns

poke elevator call buttons with their horns.

And angry at everything

everywhere angels break harps

over each other’s backs

like wrestlers with folding chairs

to the tune of handcuffed composers

battering harpsichord keyboards with their foreheads.]







[The sun sumo wrestles the moon.

The wind stiffens only to droop again.

Out of the unedited gutters, along the roofs

of the neighbors’ houses, gout golden gladiolas.

The neighbors are always lawyering up on each other.

Most adults molt into hideous, money-winged children.

Friendships ending are blamed on the wind.

Time tightens; books empty.

Frost prospers. Seals loosen. Only luck

lifts statue eyelids

with its rumored yields.]


Mark Leidner is the author of Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me and The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover.