Confessional

Toilet-Paper-Art

     Today I used a piece of toilet paper
(ingenious how the squares are perforated)
           as a bookmark,

     to mark the beginning
of a story in a journal
           I pretended to mean to read soon.

      My own pretensions in the bathroom, I’d guess,
are no more elaborate than those of any other,
           but we prefer not to confess them,

     which is why confessionals nowadays tend to be
outfitted with porcelain & brass conveniences, & vanities
           of granite stacked with prayers, or leastways

     paperbacks (suggestive of prayerful reflection,
a well-regarded, liturgical means of bargaining one’s way out
           of bondage to repugnant functions),

     all to function as a colossal ruse—for truly,
we know no sleight-of-hand swipe performed (however
           adroitly the unrolled squares are wadded

     or folded), nor our most adroit illusions of luxury
contrived of bodacious poses over prodigal devices,
           can justify such unnatural exertions.

     Nature’s call is much like that of the cleric’s behind
his proverbial curtain—indeed, a loaded business
           we can’t but answer.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Who, me? Employ a fallacy of equivocation? NE-VER!

Despair

bedroomdespair

They creep along the crease where plaster’s link
with geometric     terra cotta inlays
slips beyond the statutory pane’s oblique
illumination         Squalor’s dreg-lined byways

evince these shadows’ huddled histories
of furtive ventures through the crevices
where nights yield to darkening that sullies
the dark     & dank     spore-stippled surfaces

despair the light of noon to bare their scourge
No teakwood bed     nor wicker chair     will mask
depravity     as Geishas deftly forge
refinements to obscure the blights of dusk

What’s bent by vice yet breaks for dearth of rest
& makes its bed with vermin as needs must

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Deliverance

Just in time for the Holidays… Hot off the presses — whoops, my bad — I mean, let go by a press that’s gone under (Booo!), but now available FREE for your consumption, er, enjoyment!

Google Images

Google Images

While wrapped up tightly to our necks in wool,
Sequestered in our homes in winter’s chill,
Whene’er we yearn to get our insides full,
A cardboard box in car delivers thrill…

Swelling with exhilarating spices,
Its savory scent comes wafting through the door––
Pepperoni, amongst other vices:
Meatballs and cheese and fat and carbs galore!

We sluggish’ eat while satisfaction grows––
All down the hatch, slice after slice, it goes––
Until its warmth has reached our very toes,
And caused onset of shameful gastric woes!

Oh, pizza, how you vanquish dark, cold days
In deviously insulating ways!

STEPHANIE L. HARPER