Chris Pellizzari is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(USA). His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including
COUNTERCLOCK, Eunoia Review, Allegro, The Lake, Tipton Poetry Journal,
Gone Lawn, The Main Street Rag, I-70 Review, and SOFTBLOW. He is a member
of The Society of Midland Authors.

The Drive from Chicago to Chattanooga

New car rental smell.
Promise of new hotel room smell
and sleep in the distance.
Somewhere outside of Murfreesboro now.
Rain on windshield washing away waitress perfume
in radio country songs.
I am sleepy.
I want to see Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain.
Let freedom ring.
Freedom is new hotel room smell in Chattanooga
all to myself, no wife and children to
change its channel.
Lay me down a blue soldier dead above the clouds.
Lookout Mountain,
clouds cool my forehead like cold hotel towels.
Promise of new hotel room smell ahead.
Sleep for hours and hours.
Pay for the room with two Grants.
Grant captured Chattanooga.
Soon I will too.
In a few days, a march towards Atlanta,
a march towards the sea.
Tonight, a hotel room with a view of Lookout Mountain in dark rain.
Let freedom ring.

Anne Sexton Suicide

She is wearing a fur coat in a garage to protect

her unconscious vagina from death.

Death has been drinking and his breath smells

of whiskey and carbon monoxide.

She looks at her long model legs for the last time.

How many men placed their hands on them?

She thought of all the first times.

Anglo-Saxon conquistadors planting flags on her kneecaps

and burying treasures in her shins.

Will she give birth in the afterlife?

Who will they say is the father?

What angel would admit it?

What devil would deny it?

There is an awful rowing towards God in that car.

One final attempt to outrun the posterity

of the psychiatrist's tape recordings.

John Berryman Suicide

A man walks alone on a bridge in Minneapolis in January. His heart, howling like a mad dog, needs to be taken out for a walk. It needs to relieve itself and see its tail wag one last time. His breath spews drunken language. It rises and wavers like smoke signals to a tribe long since exterminated. "Extro-terma-nated," he slurs. Once, children tugged on his beard to see if he was really Santa Claus. He has lost all his gifts for those children now. He looks down. "Snow is very temp-ting," he slurs. "White snow is deep snow," he says, a little clearer. These are his last words. There is no one around to translate them, so he jumps. He is John Berryman.

A Song Enters the Room

The song quietly removes his shoes before entering the room. His voice does not mingle with the crowd. He introduces himself with cool handshakes as he dims the lights. He finds the coziest sofa, sits, crosses his legs and takes out a cigarette. He makes eye contact with the most beautiful woman in the room. He asks her what language she speaks and when she tells him, he speaks to her in that language. "You doubt my presence because you are still young enough to believe God is the sound of running water," he says. "No, I don't. Wiggenstein said silence is truth," she replies. "He was not entirely correct. Silence is not always truth. It lies to the deaf man every second of his life," he says. He looks past the woman and orders her husband, the slouching small man in the back, to sit up straight. The song, his own conductor, commands the man slipping under the weight of his tuba to pull himself up and live.

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