I’m reading an Official Detective Stories magazine from 1959.
Southern California’s Finch Scandal: I’ll Be Dead for Christmas, The Marriage
Counselor Racket. On the cover, a Hollywood blonde in a white lace dress
mostly off her shoulders, straddles a ladder that leans out of the picture.
Something to the left of the photographer must be frightening.
Her hand grips the wooden rung, gives away her age.
It’s the photographs that draw me in, the faces caught mid thought, the polite
killer, the innocent victim posed holding a tennis racket, then under
a sheet, feet sticking out. Who killed the Torso twins? Mr. X? Mr. Y?
Dismembering people near Gadsden, tossing bodies around the countryside.
Oh, how can I read Roethke or Lowell after this? There is mystery
on every page. Everyone is dead or dying.
I run back into the house to find my book on birds.
Olivia slouches on the couch scowling at bills.
Did you call Boise?
No. But there’s a giant bird on top of the house.
Are you sure?
Yes, it glared at me with hungry eyes.
No, are you sure you didn’t call someone in Boise.
I don’t know anyone there.
Where’s my bird book?
The newsman said jays were falling from the skies in Tangipahoa parish.
It was here between Frost and the Everyday Fix-It book.
West Nile Virus.
It was looking right at me.
Who did you call?
It said my name.
Do you love her?
As big as a dog.
Do you still love me?
I want to know what it is.
I want you out.
towards the door.
Dialects of Lust
Dialects of Lust
Clumsy in love
we tangle instead of tango
bump heads, almost fall
out of bed
as though we haven’t
been doing this
in my ear
on a foot
tugged until anything erotic
heaps in the mess
of sheets and we
not in sweaty bliss
Eugene & Lillian
Truth is everybody is going to hurt you:
you just gotta find the ones
worth suffering for. — Bob Marley
oakish. He goes on
about Bobby Donaldson,
the Goodman drummer.
in her dresser drawer
next to the vaginal cream.
He tells others
he keeps her
on a short leash.
he just doesn’t realize
Jim Zola is a poet and photographer living in North Carolina.
But that might be a lie.