Juliet Cook & Daniel G. Snethen

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to misfitmagazine.net

Hagfish Slime

I know we get older
or die but
I don't see myself
wising up
as my skin wizens
into adoring witchy shrivels

or joining a club
of old experts
or adhering to any
standard bumper car game
or crone group
or clone group
or group talk swim team.

The closest I'll get
to becoming stuck
in a sort of container
is a fish being carried
through a thundering fair.
A slimy hagfish
on top a hot funnel cake.

Screaming instead of
quietly swimming
as they try to swallow me
or throw me away
or place me inside
where they think I belong today.

My only group is the un-
popular poets who don't brag
about their book sales
or haggard entrails
or latest lines of wisdom
in between rotten polished toenails.


Juliet Cook and Daniel Snethen

Broken Balloons Seep Out of Our Mouths

The coppery colored carab meandered the wetland meadow
in search of something delicious to eat. He broke
a balloon, not realizing whose mouth that balloon
had seeped out of or why.

The balloon popped. The balloon laughed.
The balloon screamed inside the carab's mouth.
The balloon hideously sobbed.
The balloon morphed itself into a substitute teacher.

Some of us eat when we're happy.
Some of us eat when we're lonely.
Some of us barely eat at all. Some of us hate
our own bodies and want to replace them

with meandering carabs, with flying cherubs,
with balloons that fly away. All of us
will disappear eventually.
Even the coppery carapace of the carab.

Time does not heal anything.
Time only destroys
and even the memory of what once was
will disperse into oblivion with the shifting of the wind.

And the carab contemplated all of this
as he slowly ceased to be.
He wondered if he ever really existed
inside anyone else's eyes.

Cosmic Conundrum of Camel, Cherub and Leech

The khaki colored crippled camel stared into my emerald eyes.
My eyes created insubstantial evidence of how much I hated
yellow flowers for no apparent reason other than color,
shape, and popularity status. The camel kept on staring,
informed me that his preferred colors were purple, grey, maroon,
and just because he always had khaki on,
that didn't make him a business man or a soldier.

He used to be a saint, tortured by amputation of his tail.
Then he grew a phantom tail. Although others cannot see it,
I can hear it sing. It sings like the bobolink in the bog.
It sings like the cicadas in the cottonwood copses.
It sings like the proverbial fat lady at the proverbial ball game.
It sings like an angelic choir
of chubby cheeked cherubs.
But it does not sing like Cher.

There is no cosmetic surgery for cherub humps
or camel humps until we expand the leeches
into quadruple their current size so they can suck
all the unwanted fat off our faces. Keep your mouth shut
or they'll swallow your tongue. You won't be able to sing anymore.
Electroshock therapy will be the voice inside your head,
unable to come out until your mouth is replaced
with a leech the size of the camel that started it all.
In other words, it sings like a predatory wormhole.

From candy-colored clowns to khaki-colored crippled deities,
it ruled blindly from celestial cosmic cities,
visible only to those who are truly blind.
It ruled the vacuous voids of space.
It ruled the entire massless sum
of nonexistant matterless antimatter.

It ruled everything and nothing,
including the space between our ears.
It ruled the predatory wormholes
connecting liposucking black holes
from even beyond the unknown boundaries
of the unknown universe,
expanding and contracting
the boundaries of the unknown universe.

But mostly it ruled the fat sucking leeches
and the khaki colored crippled camels
and the chubby cheeked cherubs
they voraciously preyed upon.
This ruler is your candy-colored giant
worm factory on drugs that turn all of us
into invisible cogs, blobs, and humps in a malformed machine,
trying to scream, "Which came first?"



Juliet Cook's poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. Her two most recent poetry chapbooks are red flames burning out (Grey Book Press, April 2023) and Contorted Doom Conveyor (Gutter Snob Books, July 2023). In October, she has another new poetry chapbook Your Mouth is Moving Backwards, forthcoming from Ethel Zine & Micro Press.

Daniel G. Snethen is an educator, poet and naturalist, native to South Dakota. He spends most of his summers studying the lizards, insects and birds surrounding him. Snethen has spent the last 27 years teaching at Little Wound High School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Western South Dakota.