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Ace Boggess

"Time for a Weepy Lead Singer?"

"What Do You Do When the Power Is Out?"

"Do You Regret Not Having Children?"

"Will There Be Cake?"

"Time for a Weepy Lead Singer?"

                                —AceBot on

Come back, 1990s makes-no-
sense rock, whining from the basement.

Hair-metal ballads, where have you gone
caterwauling since you left us?

I want more sadness while dancing.
I want action, you to want me, &

to be sedated. I want the funk.
It doesn’t matter where crying happens,

where hurt in heat exhausts itself from ecstasy.
I want lonely crooning on despair

with rhythm in my inner tuning.
Your shattering sadness lets mine

seem less real in sharing.
Give me another Kurt & Courtney,

one more George Harrison
expressing how his guitar does what it does,

what all of us do when music stills &
what was best turns silent past a song.

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"What Do You Do When the Power Is Out?"

                                —Cat Dixon, Facebook Post

Look left, there’s nothing;
right, nothing.
Nothing soothes
like the no-longer-whirring
of machines
familiar as
a person’s cough
or sound of footsteps
on the stairs.

There! Quiet
has its ringtone,

Even the storm raging
lurks behind clouds
of forgiveness &
faraway dreaming.

Somewhere be dragons,
not here
in the safe dark space,
in the sudden interment,
calm that cradles
as though we’re so much
water in a bowl.

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"Do You Regret Not Having Children?"

                                                —internet questionnaire       

Man, copper-haired, with rusty not-
quite-beard, rides his skateboard.
Behind, his daughter hers.
She’s young, dressed in black-
shined Spandex & orange parka.

The two ice-surf crusted sidewalks
while streets act rude with cars.

He holds her back at the crosswalk,
leads their roll, cavalry commander
into the valley of death: a version of catch.

I watch them pass, remember
arguing there are no good parents,
just those who twist their offspring
by not loving enough & the rest
who do it by loving too much.

This morning, amidst the slippery,
stinging chill of winter, I offer praise
to whatever god is god of all exceptions.

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"Will There Be Cake?"

                [question asked by Grace Welch]      

All of us age, & tasting sweets,
we celebrate until we don’t.

We order our cakes in layers.
Each bite has a meaning:

this for love, & this regret,
this one for sorrow, & this one to forget.

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Ace Boggess is a freelance writer and editor living in Charleston, West Virginia. He spent five years in a West Virginia penitentiary, during which he wrote the poems that became his previous poetry collection, THE PRISONERS (Brick Road, 2014).  ULTRA DEEP FIELD is his third book of poetry. His other books include THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL WHOSE WISH WAS NOT FULFILLED (Highwire Press, 2003) and the novel A SONG WITHOUT A MELODY (Hyperborea, 2016). He has worked as a reporter, a customer-service rep for a phone bank, a sales clerk in record store with accompanying head shop and adult room, and security guard. His writing has appeared in HARVARD REVIEW, NOTRE DAME REVIEW, LUMINA, MID-AMERICAN REVIEW, RIVER STYX, RATTLE, NORTH DAKOTA QUARTERLY, and hundreds of other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

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