Poemland Security had sealed Fred Longworth's file. Alas, someone hit SEND when they intended to punch DELETE. And as a result, we've been able to secure a few details from his poetry  résumé. Over the years his poems have found solace and sanctuary in numerous zines including Pearl, Spillway, Stirring, Comstock Review, California Quarterly, Tule Review, Rattapallax, and Ignatian Literary Magazine.He continues to work on his three unpublished chapbooks: Wrong Words in the Wrong Order, Insensitive Poems for Barbarians, and Cheap Talk. He lives in San Diego, where he makes his living restoring vintage audio components. 


Advice to Self in Guise of Other

Feel your body
how it speaks to you in words
that are not words,
the way the voice of rushing water
finds the ear of the riverbank,
or a troupe of sycamore leaves
tap-dances against the silence of the woods.
At this very instant,
your thighs are chatting softly
about the contours of a chair.
Your shoulders tighten and release,
as they babble about the argument
you had this afternoon.
And your heel is becoming friends
with that bit of stone that slipped inside
your shoe. Hear the voices one by one,
or draw their tongues together
like the chatter of a mountain trail.
Now, I’ll be quiet, so you can listen.


Cheap Talk

Today I hate my poems.
Tomorrow I will fall in love with them again.
Today I sink into anemia.
Tomorrow I'll teach a fire how to dress its flame,
or a sunset how to paint the clouds.
Everything I write oscillates
between tongue-kissing Susie on our first date
and divorce court.

Today my poems cower in the basement.
Tomorrow I will tell myself a lie, that my poems
are the flapping wings of the Butterfly Effect.
Someone will read them and say "Oh god!"
and she will tell her friends, and they their friends.
And the world will climb out of the cesspool
and stand naked in the primeval sunshine.
Even this is more cheap talk.


Where a Picture Has Been Removed

You know her by the tipping
of the scale, by letters sent
with thin sheets of a heart folded inside,
and by the rusty hinge that waits
beside the street, yet does not howl.
You know her by the tarnished pin
that sits inside her jewelry box.
You know her by the theater ticket
that was never stubbed. You know her
by the phone tag, and by the toothbrush
that finally is discarded in the trash.
You know her by the shadows
in the photographs, by erasures
on the calendar. By an earring lost
behind the sofa. In the end, you know her
by the outline on the wall.




Fred Longworth



2012 Fred Longworth

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