Glen Armstrong's recent work has appeared in Conduit, Digital Americana and Cloudbank. He
holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing
at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits Cruel Garters, a poetry journal.

The Bedside Book of Silver

My hands were naked revolutionaries
bathing in the R�o Negro,
their machetes cleaved into trees.

There was nothing civil about me.

Now, to shake my hand is to live
in a grand museum,

each of my silver rings
a liberated link
in a silver chain.

Notice the moon and stars,
the Aztec Labyrinth.

The circle of skulls
never connects

But nobody sees the seams of my rings.

I adjust the flame
at each of my fingertips.

History books skip the silver rush,
the push and slurry
into and of mountains,

the deals brokered
with handshakes,

the making of bangles and baubles
that make

their way to the Dixie Flea Market
where a free market system thrives
against black velveteen.

In a series of transactions,
the hand becomes a nation.


Spinning soda straws to gold.
Weaving cherry stems into syrupy trees.

The gypsy with the gold-capped tooth is back
and madder than Hell.
She's building something:

Sex machine.
T-Rex machine.

Dear Madame Ruth:

Let us compare bone machines at your earliest convenience. Enclosed, please find America in all of its former splendor.

She was still a congenital dreamer.

A runaway.
A beatnik queen.
An odd girl with strange ideas,

some of them spinning,
some of them broken:

A crow smoking a cigar.
A box where the unspoken hides.

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