an online magazine of fragmentary writing



Spring 2010 :: Current Issue

The Secret Poems

Rane Arroyo

(selections from unpublished manuscript)

Fragment from Introduction: “The Secret Poems” are almost meditations except for the fact that they are mostly invested in life experiences in this world. Poems have been culled from articles, my own dreams, scrapped poems in which certain lines refused to return to obscurity, observations and many other sources. I don’t think of them as collage pieces or pastiches, but rather more like snapshots, diary entries, or shared tattoos.

Poem instead of a cathedral

Right Brain flees all versions of Brazil.
I’m safe on the 20th floor. Suddenly,
a black helicopter with grasshopper eyes peers in.
Far off, a church glows like a candy skull.

Helpless Poem

A wedding party falls
into a pool of mud.
Owls lift the bride’s
thin veil of moonlight.

Quiet Poem

One can turn a piano into firewood,
but firewood never becomes a piano.

Ill Poem

A two-day fever, a river in my pillows.
Sun and moon try on each other’s clothes.
Stones in my dreams envy my soft skull.

Greek Poem

While he slept, his soul had sex
with statues. Who isn’t some
magician’s underpaid assistant?

Pittsburgh Poem

No one ran to the window when the bearded youth yelled, A helicopter is dropping roses.

Mysterious Poem

There are bird shadows in the mirror while we share a bath to talk about our bills.

Fragile Poem

A mirror, lace inside an ice cube.
A nude drowns in a reflecting pool.

Poem borrowing my leather coat

The wind arrives looking for someone who’s
been dead for years. How to break the news?
My shadow, when it’s outside my mind, is
a low, strange cloud. Do orchids implode?

Poem without malice

The monastery wore fog while
we drank tea without a tealeaf reader.
The sound of holy men pissing all night
echoed in ways that prayers don’t.

Poem spending a day in the country

My skull is sky’s doorstopper.
It’s true: turtles no longer exist
in my adult world. A ring of keys,
a dancing atheist’s tambourine.

Riot Poem

Will no one break into bookstores for books and not the cash registers?

Poem that won’t go to sleep

Strange zoo, why are you now my heart?
The 3 AM train arrives from the country
of the Clock. Statues will never dance.

Indiana Dunes Poem

The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen
was crying in the shower for reasons
that no mortal can be allowed to know.

Poem Sure Of Yes’ Beauty

Birds give the wind tours of their nests.
Please, wake up when the moon weeps.

Urban Poem

Who has thrown a mattress into
mysterious weeds? It’s a dead cloud!
It’s God’s broken trampoline!

Alpha Poem

Friends keep dying
our of alpha order.
We seek keys to doors
that are already opened.

Unapologetic Poem

My desk is lit with a vase of daffodils.
A nearby murder changes our weather.
Snow drops its pearl necklace, again and again.

Poem sent by angels

Dream: a glass cathedral is sold
as a magnifying glass. Cowboys
in chaps offer evaporating books.

Penthouse Poem

You say, For clothes, let’s wear moonlight. But
I’m the poet, the one who’ll remember
this moment as you roll apples on the floor.

Poem in the witness protection program

Mountain, be my dog, protect me from
holy men touching my body as if opening
a safe full of sheet music for their weddings.

Poem choosing the right bad boy

Why are holy books filled with the winged
and not the gilled? I’m more seduced by
the smell of old books than young lovers.

Poem drinking with an ex-lover

In stolen alligator shoes, he dances as if
burning diaries. Let other sponge bathe
prophets. He writes novels in matchbooks.

Chicago Poem

Melodramas are the disguises each era
must wear to return us to nakedness.
Decades are not as honest as our ten toes.

Poem sent as a gift to a suitor

The rain is a blind sculptor, a waterfall taking baby steps.

Poem refusing to RSVP

Writing isn’t like pulling a rabbit out of a hatchet.

Poem wanting to say yes

More shotgun weddings with store-bought cakes.
Darkness will not respect the restraining orders.

Blind Moon Poem

The ice caps are melting. Statues in
former Soviet provinces are being
melted to make bullets. Black limousine,
if you have wings, use them now.

Territorial Poem

The Laughing Buddha steals my bubble bath without remorse.

Experienced Poem

Corruption is the book that falls apart before anyone can finish reading it.

Dancing Poem

He threw tarot cards from a helicopter to see what music looked like.

Wise Poem

When is disappointment not
the pier built in the desert?

Poem Suffering Spring Fever

I want to get rid of black
from my wardrobe, this week.
Old men criticize wonder
because it was never theirs.

Poem wanting to be overheard

Fire is a difficult secret to keep.
My body is a book used for
fuel. I like skinnydipping
in Chinese fortune cookies.

Burning Poem

Once one has been naked with
someone else, details are what
we get to keep: that taxi blasting
voodoo salsa, the blurred birds.

Memphis Poem

The rooftops look
like hats flattened by
18-wheelers hurrying
towards black plains.

Laughing Poem

The snail conquers the mountain
and becomes a Buddha, poor darling.

Poem written on George Washington’s birthday

Gray birds, gray skies, gray windows.
The day is a corpse too big for a grave.

Poem confusing myths for facts

How cold caves are.
No wonder we hide
our monsters in them.
They’ve tasted our blood.

Poem with a guard dog

Happiness is what thieves seek, what
they suspect you’re hiding somewhere.

Poem Smuggled Out In A Seashell

Two lovers wear identical
T-shirts: “100% Natural!”
They also wear the slow sea
as if blue ankle jewelry.

Poem Too Big For A Sonnet

Not all hummingbirds must become
hallucinations. Seeing is holding
the sky without ever touching it.

Poem rejecting all saints

What good is a liberated body
without a bird perched in the heart?

Poem sure of itself

In the brain is stored a mirror’s last lantern.

Sentimental Poem

Mowing my lawn, I stir
fireflies so that they look
like cigarette tips seeking
lost mouths to adorn.

Confident Poem

Why not allow Spring to
turn us into geodes?


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