Richard Carr

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It’s easy to dance with Nihilism.
I mimic his moves

and spin off my own variations.
We generate some heat,

and when the club closes,
I bring him home.

It’s a different story in the dark.
We struggle to comprehend each other.

I fill myself with wine
and talk like I’m in love.

Nihilism kisses me forcefully,
and all my illusions are dispelled.

At the moment of greatest intimacy,
I am alone.

I turn on the bedside lamp,
a hateful lamp,

and straighten my legs and arms
for the long night ahead.


Subversion scratches her arm,
making bloody
leaning crosses, limping stars,

and animal welts across her wrist,
knowing no matter now deep you dig,
flesh is bottomless.

Subversion wears a long sleeve,
a curtain on the stage of the pale ballerina
floating face down on the calm lake.

When called on in the classroom,
she answers with her eyes only
and receives the maximum punishment.


Falling in love
with the explanatory power of some books he read,

Intellect took the vows of chastity
and poverty.

Emotion pursued a modeling career.
Walking across the quadrangle with infinite deliberation

years earlier,
they held hands innocently.

When the afternoon turned rainy
they shared a pot of tea,

looked through the café window together, studying
the footsteps of determined pedestrians in the downpour.

A loose umbrella tumbled through the street.
The hours dwindled to a drizzle,

and as they walked back to the dorms
the clouds parted

and a sprinkling of midnight stars
touched them with revelation.


Richard Carr's writing has appeared in Poetry East, Exquisite Corpse, New Letters, Painted Bride Quarterly and many other journals. His poetry collections are Grave Reading (Unsolicited Press 2014), Lucifer (Logan House Press 2013), Dead Wendy (FutureCycle Press 2012), Imperfect Prayers (Steel Toe Books 2012), One Sleeve (Evening Street Press 2011), Ace (Word Works Books 2009), Street Portraits (The Backwaters Press 2008), Honey (Gival Press 2008), and Mister Martini (University of North Texas Press 2008). His chapbooks include Butterfly and Nothingness (Mudlark 2004) and Letters from North Prospect (Frank Cat Press 1997). A former systems analyst, web designer, and tavern manager, he currently teaches English in Minneapolis.