Conor Bracken is the author of Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), selected by Diane Seuss as winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine's Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, 2019). His poems and translations appear (or will soon) in places like 32 Poems, BOMB, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Waxwing, and elsewhere. An assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review, he teaches English at the University of Findlay.
THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO A MAN
is pity him.
The drowsy daffodil
of his exhausted cock,
the padlocks of his hands
wrung open and equably useless--
is all you have to mutter
to crack him.
it must have been to have the god of his parents
be a flame
that incinerated each desire it tried to anneal
and how sad
for him his parents never noticed
the ash heap rising in his chest
and how they didn’t care
enough to muzzle
their god long enough
to ask him why he kept
the ash alone inside him and sometimes cleared in it
the vague angelic shape
of the first man
who forced himself on him.
to never have the chance
to say it was to see
if the wind is still
too weak to blow the ash away
which it always is and isn’t
that pitiful? Poor man,
his little boyhood
so much stronger than he is.
Wrestling him into thinking he
is the sole half-troubled maverick
to swagger from the ship
wreck of his past, extracting as he strides
from the ad-hoc leather scabbard
of his body the splinters
he will drive
under the ocean’s rough unvarnished nails.
Heather Myers- A Rainbow, Just For A Minute
Donna Vorreyer- In The Encyclopedia of Human Gestures
Conor Bracken- THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO A MAN
Ben Purkert- 2 Poems
Emma Bolden- What Women's Work Is
Chelsea Dingman- Lockdown Drill
Raych Jackson- Pantoum for Derrion Albert from the Plank
Elliot Ping- in the eighth grade
ii. dance moves
D.A. Powell- Sneak