Post Road Magazine #20

Will of the Stunt Double

Eric Morris

Let me be remembered a headhunter,

a drama queen, a love-struck stalker.

Anything feigned when I had the chance.

I hereby leave, halfhearted, in my stay:

a fire retardant flak jacket, a limited edition

B-side movie reel. Like I, they have decreased

in value. I have nothing less to offer

than my role as a snake charmer on daytime TV.

I bequeath to whosoever, a photo album

from my stint of driving a high-performance

Mercedes off cliffs with bloodlust and bravado.

For my daughter, Mercedes, who time let unlove me,

my army fatigues from a valorless HBO war

that went straight to video without a sequel.

Is sympathy demanded from onlookers,

the countless takes not stricken from record?

Viewer, did I leave tricks unturned?

A cartwheel through a pit of crocodiles?

A belly dance with a necklace of razorblades?

A controlled, live-action sequence burn

in Escape from Alcatraz (the unedited version)?

My heroics, spliced together, go unremembered,

cancelled after the low-rated second episode.

My trapdoor is never just a stage prop.

My rehearsal a lifetime without spotlights.

A lifespan rumored to have stage fright.

The will to disappoint. I will disappoint when fired

from a cannon across the Grand Canyon.

There will be no encore unless you forgive me.

Once a Boy

Eric Morris

Once a boy knew how to tie
       his extremities in a half-Windsor.
Warp a human frame with no need

for an emergency blanket, the half
       moon of a tortoise shell. Too many
limbs to account for, like the steel ribs

of the imploded replica Eiffel tower.
       The supercell made a contortionist
of the skeleton, obscured a line of sight

from the Shoney's to the cut-rate blood
       bank we all came to love so well.
That sudden blindness in the stead

of wanting to be violated just a little.
       Still, congratulations were in order:
to the heavens for making the world

bone cold with all their omniscient
       presence. Once a boy understood how
to resemble a gun swollen in a pocket,

a rabbit's foot pressed into the palm
       of someone else's hand, a thumb tack
lodged in a foot spreading tetanus.

To the echo-friendly hallways of the vacant
       grammar school. How the years filled
with herds of faceless children huddled

in a near three-point stance, no longer
       waiting to kiss their mothers at night.
To the obsolete phone book parted open,

all the yellow pages spread like coffeed
       teeth. Tornado alley left this burnt prairie
like a barren bowling alley with the pins

strewn as if rooks glistening the board.
       Once a boy learned the hard way
that no meant no. Unless there was reason

to believe none of the lawn flamingos
       would be standing come daybreak.
All that pink scattered like a piƱata's

entrails, abandoned naked and vulnerable.
       Once a boy went coma-silent when
the western hemisphere buttoned up its

floral blouse and left the world to wonder.
       A place incomplete, the lack of public
baths, altars for sacrifice. A creature left

wanting, like a collie with three legs
       and a deflated basketball. A person who
knew better. Once a boy before

the elements made dents. The need for
       more than a subtle hint. A boy could almost
remember what left him here in the first place.

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