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E.W. Everett

Four poems:

Langley’s Body: under the influence of Homer Collyer / Dedicate / 51 Steps: under the influence of Rosalind Franklin / Downing Street

Langley’s Body

Organs pickled in jars
possible bookends; a maritime future.
Bicycles oiled, polished for June,
and carriages must remain for a daughter’s ghost —
under cardboard castles, Susie tip-toes at night.

Buckets are to be left in far corner
by doors bound for Mount Morris.
The dressmaking dummies,
Bergman, Gardner and Lamour,
must be spoken to gently.
These beauties — accustomed to uptown circle skirts
hanging slightly away from the leg,

Blackbread pellets — Langley’s remedy.
Hemorrhaging, detachment
in retina, also through doors.
The Times once sang to me,
while Willie the Lion chipped at ivory Collard,
much flare through orange peel mornings.
Lastly, the Tin Lizzie, tucked behind the stairs,
a trembler coil lacking –
she convinced us to a summer out west.

A playground anew,
Cypress Hills; more southeast than I have known –
a detour in route, from six feet of own, to six feet again.
The rest can remain,
as to Langley’s body found,
then leave us
beneath, alone.

The Same.


The depressions of my brain
etched by keratin hoof
in cerebral dirt –
track,  1957.  
My father –
horns hidden by Dobbs,
scales under Mcalls;
commission of a salesman —
clenching hard to hard luck.
Myself in short pants and fumbling feet.

I followed. Up.
Toes, teetering, mocking the bench.
Tiny Loafers idolizing White bucks,
and, they were off!

Renegade and Bold Ruler
beating the turf,
the stomach of Belmont.
My chest pounding,
unlike the six o’clocks
of eight years of evenings.
I squeezed the program –
with the creature by my side,
an echo of the whip, skin not my own.

Dedicate behind
head and head with Gallant
turning for home
Bold Ruler advancing the stretch.
Gallant and Dedicate, up through the rail,
four beasts knowing the stake –
my legs, ribs, my back.

And the three leveled off another 16th of a mile where
Dedicate took the lead-
my October savior.

The nine-time loser, in his win of my year,
ran not for the line –
but for the hand of my father,
resting gently, the first time,
on my head.

Fifty-One Steps

A.      No Forest of Arden, forced forward
reverse, revolving in pattern,
contorting backward each rung.
Every strand of the prize in black and blue-
print, engine of fingers
gripping tight to the rail.

T.      Unlocking remorse,
(men under the stairs)
            if Ganymede had coded
the ray strung exposed —
evolution applauding,
crystallizing in prose.

G.     But the string would have snapped,
bases blotted, erased – and
back on the shelf, in cupboard to store.
Arsenal sketching  on corkscrew terrain,
gender glued gently on canvas binding the tale
of six feet sprinting to ribbon in coil.

C.     The verse was not blank —
and the strings doubled tight, threaded
lip into lip.  Pairing always the same,
the edged sword not dull,
slicing feet with the climb,
 twirling, tripling the year.
And so lesson in cipher,
digging deep under slide —
when unzipping Frankenstein
             X .  does not mark the spot.

Downing Street

The wet pink duplex,
aligned soft-side by side.
Neither living solely on the first
or on second floor.
But the steps worn from travel.
He spends most days on first
I suppose.
Nights on the second
When split in two,
his back aches from the climb.
But from sidewalk,
the home looks secure.
I deliver his mail,
have done so for years,
I now know which letter
belongs on which floor.
I slide them through shoot,
where he licks the envelope,
or tears it apart with his teeth.
The duplicity of the tongue.

I knows this route well.

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