Enjoy Being Human

Shawnacy Kiker

Pros and Cons

Beside the still waters, alligator. Like a drip of lemons. Like old men in derbies hauling sacks both into and out of town, Persephone wants you to know she’s changing her name to Prosperity. Grab a noseful of clover and haze. Post-immunization. I want to be an immigrant like rain is.

    (Belt convoy of the 605 at 4:48 pm on a Tuesday.) May, and the village is furred with poles. Hold your head to the wind, east for foxglove, violets to the south. Or a meadow in a can. North is the 5 west is the 210. Five dollars gets you 15 minutes of public massage
at the mall. Tilt nozzle away from face.
Spray as needed.

People River

Select your birth year from the drop–down menu—
Pencil in the name you were handed—
The water is disappearing—
Forests call, terrified mothers
out looking for lost children—
Tomatoes withered on the vine—
Watering can oil slick—


What you are told to want
in other words, this hollow-point life—
glass in the back of the throat
a cone of locusts—
The things that exist
exist because we say they do—
Agreement is creation—


In Borneo, turtles are abandoning their shells
shacking up with aunts, uncles, cousins,
saving electricity—
each other
As many as fourteen turtles
have been known to co-habit a single shell—


Voting’s a joke anyway—
Everyone shall be right in time—
Drop any liquid and it will reveal
the point of lowest elevation—
If we want, we could turn it all stars—


We are taping together our shoes
we are casting our lots, moribund
over the water—
the night is dark
their boots are big—
Cheer up, baby,
you ain’t no fucking flower—


Six hip-handed cops
gas station raiding
a homeless man’s
cart. Pulling out moldy blankets—

like being strangled
and looking away
like that—

It’s not the load,
but how you carry it


traffic suggests
and I carry Vesuvius
like a virus
in a head that opens
jagged as canned beans

I need a train–whistle
blow off
I need to skip track,
Engine says, ditch this
cargo, eat more oats
raw, from the bag
like a horse
say a prayer three times
breathing chug chug
with your big mother
lick a coyote moon
down to its central grain

I just want to come up
for air
I just want
to exist in the world

"It’s great to have you,
thank you for being here."

"It’s great to be here,
thank you for having me."

You are holding your
groping at empty chairs
You are cuckolded
by the number 33
Take it
at a gallop

There is no easy way
to see
in the light.

The Apparatus

its hands circles of thick glass
grows tired of lighting matches
and flicking them into the toilet,
is ready for some serious fuckery

The center is empty, a tower of cells
the eyes have all evolved away
Sometimes it doesn’t
being pierced
in the brain
with a laser
holds the spent matches to its nose
The opposite of a rose is a lit match

When is a predator made of prey

A youth has lost his sister
Half his head is shaved
bald as obsidian

Last he saw her, she was standing
near the slide
He stares at his hands
puts them on the ground, fingers splayed
They take up 1/100billionth of the surface
of the Earth

You can’t see the stars falling
in daylight
the man says
but they fall just the same

The man does not exist
Neither is there child
nor mother

Recipe: Slice the disquiet
carry it
on a tray
to the corner where the light
bites with soft teeth

The tree’s sadness in the courtyard
near the parking lot
is the opposite of television

The rock lizard writes letters home
they amass, unposted
He has decided he will stop
What is the commerce
between faith and hope

I see a woman
disguised as a rock lizard
sing a song into an old can
bury it in the earth

That she will do the same tomorrow
and tomorrow
they are paving the freeways with napalm
and her face
we will cover in boiled lilies

About Shawnacy Kiker

A mother of seven, Shawnacy Kiker holds an MFA from UC Riverside, and is former poetry editor of the Coachella Review. Her first work of fiction, Donald Duck, Surprise! was self-published in her bedroom at the age of four. The work is currently out of print. Her poetry and prose has since been published or is forthcoming in Horse Less Review, Wicked Alice, Thumbnail Press, DumDum Zine, Word Riot, Rip Rap Journal and others. She tweets into the void as @arbitraryjane.

Follow Us: