William Carlos Williams, Mechanical Vampire-Bird, Plays Vegas — Raul Clement

1.         So much depends on the neck
of the swan. If you can wrap your hands
around it and strangle the warmth,
if you can butcher up
the breastbone and laugh while it bleeds,
if you can spit on the next
pretty duckling for those before,
you’re king of some new thing—
another blood-Jerusalem.
It won’t help you, but it will
make you feel better.

2.         Let’s pretend you’re a marionette.
Let’s pretend I wound you up,
and listened to your dizzy bird
talk. Let’s pretend we took
the last taxi home, tore off the sheets,
and I bit your neck
until it bled. Let’s pretend
we were vampires, lived in a coffin
with only each other and the dark
centuries. Let’s say I killed you before
you awoke. Let’s say whatever
needs to be said until we’re human

27.         And twenty-seven was the number
that won us our millions,
a house in the hills and meals
for three. I bet on other numbers,
slept with loose slots, while you screwed
in mobiles, planned playmates
for a daughter we’d never
have. I watched the black
drop to red.
Twenty-seven fell thirty-four,
fell zero. Soon it was midnight
and you were calling
my number.


Raul Clement’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in many journals and anthologies, including Blue Mesa Review, Coe Review, and Surreal South ’09. The Doors You Mark Are Your Own, a novel co-written with Okla Elliott, was released by Dark House Press in 2015.