Brent Bechtel

Words Are Whole Afternoons

I grumble, deep in a waitress
as she declares the late-night radio
to be full of magnolias and cocaine.

My hiking jacket droops
to touch the French border,
en route to a pier,
where we nod off and ignore
the fact that we drift here.

We will have one last walk with pleasure,
since my lips are sky — feel the hours,
refuse of urbanity smudged on your sleeves.

I have been eyewitness to your name —
a flawless, brewing pot of coffee.

The First Six Hours

Policeman threw the author
into the hands of Siva at five o’clock,
and we were published far to the west

The scene before the doorway
darted around wounded and bandaged rocks,
where the righteous stood

Horned and glorified

Worshippers gathered under plague
and mourned the injured dictionary,
binding their own feet
in hopeless ritual,

Chanting in unison:

“Free love is like a barking dog,
and there is no human condition —

For I am the woman and the herd
in this world of common clay —

This land ploughed by the devil,
whose rod was driven into language,

Such that scholars fled into the groves,
and the marshes were consumed with fire.”

Brent Bechtel is a poet, artist, and advertising consultant currently residing in Greenville, SC. His work has appeared in several publications, including Exquisite Corpse and Maintenant (3 & 14).