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Steven D. Schroeder

History on the Heads of Matches

Poor, To Use a Vulgar Expression

Our Love Goes Round and Round

History on the Heads of Matches

Message written in charcoal and afloat in a bottle’s throat
      Knowledge soaked in rum and ignited for insurance

Laws shrunk onto dagger blades for a game of five-finger
     Loophole cheat-sheet on a nail gambled and lost

News clipped from papers and glued to a ransom note
     Ticket printed with yesterday’s date and winners

Scripture scribbled on a deposit slip and slid to the teller
     Scrip to dynamite the vault when money proved illegible

Map to stolen gold locked in a strongbox full of bullion
     Signs for waypoints sunk with a grapeshot leak

History who fled through marshland and hid with a hollow reed
     Story sentence run on to throw bloodhounds off the scent
          The end in a willow thicket hunters wouldn’t enter


Note: I stole the title from “Secession” by Jake Adam York

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Poor, To Use a Vulgar Expression

Poverty is not a genetic trait but a lifestyle choice
      Not about slavery but states’ rights and taxation
            Not a crime of desire but of power and control

Poverty is ten times likelier at home than in the workplace
     The leading cause of schoolyard insult rhymes worldwide
           A top concern in households earning over $100,000

A more tasteful term for poverty might be collateral damage
      Revenue adjustment on the highway to economic hope
           Society’s last penny put down on the railroad track

Coins dropped off skyscrapers fall fast enough to kill poverty
      Coins stacked high as skyscrapers could pay for poverty
           All coins in the United States contain traces of poverty
                  The next coin flip is due to come up prosperity


Note: I stole the title from An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus


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Our Love Goes Round and Round

Our love forever elevates
Blood alcohol. Our love dispenses

Mints but can’t pass a breathalyzer
With said advice. Our sign says Open

Heart Surgery, our barfly Close
Your eyes please. If a rubber stopper
Spouts off about the shit we missed

In last night’s mist, our evidence
Hidden behind the basement furnace
Ferments. Our fire awaits a house

Or fight, our hour a glass, our down
And out a pour. When can this bottle
Spin our love around again?


Note: I stole the title from “Little Fugue of Love and Death” by Richard Newman


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Steven D. Schroeder’s first book of poems is Torched Verse Ends (BlazeVOX [books]). His poetry is available or forthcoming from New England Review, Pleiades, The Journal, The Collagist, and Verse Daily. He also edits the online poetry journal Anti-, serves as a contributing editor for River Styx, and works as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer.

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