Authentic African Musical Tiger Says

In a moment a pain, crying and praying, my god brought me this. The radio playing mysterious drums and me… I had to look. Authentic African music surely… with a tiger on the cover. A tiger.

Hard to pain cry and SMH cry laughing at the same time.

And if that weren’t enough: That look in the authentic African music tiger’s eye: “You… Hey you… Hey you there lady, crying. You! Authentic African musical tiger says, RELAX!!!”

And buddy, you’d better fucking relax.

-M. Ashley

Dear Poetry Book Inside Flap Writer (poem)

I forgive you for being a pompous
Windbag and using words like “nexus”
That make us, and you, feel smarter
Than we are. I forgive you because
You’ve got to sell windy books
Somehow to equally windy people
And breezily walk the edge of
Overblowing it without, oops, I
Overblew it! You had to prevent us
Muffy and Buffy poetry reader
Types from seeing too much of
Ourselves at that blustery
“Nexus” of blew and blow
And putting the book down
And closing our handbag flaps
And whistling as we walk away.

-M. Ashley

A Drink with Houdini (poem)

My wine glass is a coffee mug
with handsome Houdini painted on,
tied up, cuffed, dipped upside
down in cold water. He’s got a face
like he’s sure he’ll get free, like
if he doesn’t, he’s sure he’s at least
immortal enough to be reborn one day
on a mug in the next millennium.

Houdini’s wine mug is tricky.
You pour the cheap stuff in
behind the antique-colored, faux
posters, and the wiry escapist
slips his bonds without a twitch.

Or, to be more accurate,
the bonds slip him. The handcuffs
disappear, the straight jacket undoes,
the lung-crushing water drains
into the polished black scrim
that works the inside of the cup,
into the pulse-lulling red
that sloshes behind it.

The bonds dissipate, almost,
and slink their way down my esophagus—
a rain of deconstructive intoxicants
to ensnare the presto hands
and abracadabra body
of the guilt I carry, at the bottom

-M. Ashley

Missing Frank Bidart (poem)

Oh my poet-y friend… how I have missed thee.
I have missed myself defacing your books with
Purple ink notes like, “Love it!” and “Scary.”

Remember that time I humiliated myself on a
Plane pompously overblowing poetry to a
Stranger who turned out to be a PhD in poetry

My nose in your book
My ass on my shoulders
Me talking out of it

But then you were there for me
For that—for my ass face too
And my starry eyes for you.

-M. Ashley

Yogi Poodle (poem)

My poodle does downward dog
Ten times a day at least
Farts a slow fart
Presses her narrow chest back
Yawns with a long lolling tongue

Lord Shiva—First Yogi—Master
In a curly coat showing us all
How life and farts should be done

-M. Ashley

Caramel Vodka Cocktail at 3am (poem)

Dreamtime craving for alcohol
when you’re not a drunk
means Bacchus is having a crisis
of consciousness tossing
the nymphs and turning
the maenads out of his bed

thump
thump
thump

they hit the floor and

tap
tap
tap

he comes to your window

because you have your own bed
and won’t sleep with him in it
gravity isn’t a threat then
and he has the whole carpet to himself

because he enjoys thrusting
his head under your box
spring and tying your
mismatched and long-
forgotten shoelaces together.

Also, he thinks you’re fun to drink with
mostly because you don’t much,
don’t have the stuff for proper cocktails,
and while you’re craving his liquor
he’s craving the sexy way
you pour it into a diet root beer
shrug
and drink it all down.

-M. Ashley

Poetry Goals (poem)

I would love to swan around and
say dusty things about poetry and
have everyone give a damn and
have groupies who show me their boobs
and read at Carnegie Hall to 53,000
screaming teeny boppers in poodle skirts

and all that other shit
that real poets do
and don’t actually do

but always do
in my sweaty
jealous
glory hogging
little mind.

-M. Ashley