Two Poems by Ray McKenzie


‘Wilhelm Scream’

How do we know what dinosaurs sound like?
No one has heard a dinosaur’s cry, and yet,
Spielberg has everyone convinced.
Can science determine lungs and larynx from a skeletal fossil,
project vocal range from supposed organs?

Life finds a way.

Maybe I’m too hard on Spielberg,
too hard on a generation’s imagination.

After all, I pretend to play the drums–
air snare solo,
fills high on the kit,
thighs tense and toes tapping–
as I take my morning shit.

‘Jane Says’

After Jane’s Addiction and William Shakespeare

Alas, poor Jane! I knew her well, Sergio; a woman
of infinite breast, of most excellent wig: I have
wanted her on her back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorrent her lack of life is!
My television is hidden from it.
Here hung those funds she saved for trips to Spain.
Where be her tears now? Her
pocket dinners? Her naked baldness
that set the table wanting her to go?
Her blows, meant to break free from loveless being?
Not one now to mock your old habit? Crestfallen?
Now get you to St. Andrews, tell her
they want her, let her rebuff a standing debt,
for now to this Right Here she cannot come;
make him laugh at ‘I don’t owe him nothing’. Prithee, Horatio—

Do they all look this way, once they’ve passed on?


Ray McKenzie’s poetry has appeared in Mannequin Haus and New Pop Lit, and his prose has appeared in Fluland. He Tweets @TheImmortalDrab and is locked in the throes of a David vs. Goliath struggle with the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure.

‘Smith’s First Book of Poems Too Good for Snappy Headlines’ by Ray McKenzie


Has anyone ever told you a story that failed to impress? They probably tried to save face with something like, “you should’ve been there” or “you’d get it if you knew So-And-So”. Among the stories told in this collection, there is not one such failure. This book takes you there, makes it so you know So-And-So. This book is the barstool, low lighting, and neat whiskey that facilitates—nay, necessitates—good storytelling.

Unruly is a spirited introduction to Elysia Lucinda Smith, who she is, what it means to be her. It chronicles the halcyon days of youth, and juxtaposes them with the challenges that, upon reflection, make us who we are. In terms of VH1 programming from the 90s, this book is equal parts Unplugged and Behind the Music.

Unruly gets you familiar with Elysia in a transparent way. I wish more people I know would write books like this so that I could keep them on my shelf and give them a read through at my leisure. If I’m a creep for wanting to keep my friends on a shelf like one of those Christmas elves with the spindly limbs and the painted face, then so be it. If I share a few lines, maybe you’ll understand my obsession with Smith’s work.

Continue reading “‘Smith’s First Book of Poems Too Good for Snappy Headlines’ by Ray McKenzie”