Juliet Cook: Three Poems
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
Her Mother Took Her to the Next Door Neighbor’s Pig Roast
Her ugly middle aged belly bloat is her own damned fault
because she didn’t listen to her mother.
Her mother told her that if she didn’t stand up straight,
she’d get a pot belly and her mother was always right.
The way her belly looks now makes her think about the pig roast.
Her mother told her that if she didn’t stop frowning,
then her lips would get stuck in that frowny faced position
for the rest of her life. If she smiled, her lips might stay tight.
If she frowned, her lips would loosen and be easier to rip apart.
Her loose lips would have an apple shoved inside and then a sharp spit.
All she was worth was being stuck
in one contained space, with the wire threaded through,
with her pig tail cut off and given away
to the highest bidding dog.
With her butt torn into pieces by the snarling crowd.
Her mother told her that if she didn’t smile for this group spread,
her ass would be spanked until her nose bled
and saturated her bad apple. Her blood red apple
would be knocked out of her poisoned mouth.
Her silent burnt flesh would be devoured. Her small remnants trashed.
In this diorama, Bob is cut into pieces,
repositions itself inside different damaged brains.
While bobbing for apples, she screams
at what lies underneath the core.
Her flickering power lines will bleed into the void.
Some will see the red apples as ball gags inside her mouth.
Some will see the red apples as representations of Hell.
Some will say Hell does not exist. The apple is an underground planetary lair.
Those below are running in red circles.
Those above will soon fall down and turn red.
In this diorama, a mental conflagration
is connected with the speed of the ceiling fan.
It turns itself off and on, grows into an over rotating form of abuse.
A repetitive malformation in which
her arms are forced behind her back in bed again.
Her sheets are ripped off to strangle her.
Underneath it is crawling with non-existent insects,
waiting for her to fall asleep and open for them,
buzzing her into a non-existent heavenly whore.
She locked me in the car, told me I had to listen
to the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” on repeat.
She told me I had to learn to smile
all the time, even if my smile was fake.
Who tries to lock someone else inside her own tiny space
of rights and wrongs and toned down emotions
and tell someone else what their face should look like
while being forced to listen to a popular song
that I told her was not my own style?
She doesn’t understand my style and I don’t understand her.
She wants me to stop worrying, stop thinking
my own thoughts, stop feeling my own feelings.
Stop being yourself. Be me. Be me. Be me.
Be the pretty cheerleader dream I want you to be.
You came out of my womb, I think
you can at least try to get my dance moves right.
Bend your legs into the correctly proportioned shape.
Place your arms in the right position or I’ll lock them
behind your back and then cut them off.
Acknowledgements: “Her Mother Took Her to the Next Door Neighbor’s Pig Roast” and “Cheerleader Cop” appeared in the poetry chapbook The Rabbits With Red Eyes, published by Ethel Zine and Micro Press in 2020; “Cheerleader Cop” also previously appeared in Black Poppy Review. “Invaded Core” previously appeared in DIAGRAM. “Her Mother Took Her to the Next Door Neighbor’s Pig Roast” previously appeared in Barnhouse Journal.
Photo credit: Darryl Shupe
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juliet Cook's poetry has appeared in lots of print and online publications. She is the author of quite a few poetry chapbooks, recently including "Another Set of Ripped-Out Bloody Pigtails" (The Poet's Haven, 2019), "The Rabbits with Red Eyes" (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2020) and "Histrionics Inside my Interior City" (part of Ghost City Press's 2020 Summer Micro-Chapbook Series). Her most recent full-length poetry book, "Malformed Confetti" was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2018.
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