Featured Poet Alan Britt


A panel of dysfunctionals
with diesel-stained straw framing 
their eyebrows while top buttons burst
their sheaths, a maligned panel that crawled
from the swamp only to be recognized
on cable TV, at Wegmans, PTA, & 7-11, 
a panel sporting serrated flaps
resembling gills behind their ears.

I sometimes dream about flaps
behind my ears.

Still, this panel of citizens from the King 
of Hearts dodging Nazi tanks squealing 
flaming nightmares, this much maligned 
multitude of misfits finally flashed hidden 
dorsals along their spines & declared in
no uncertain terms would they pander to 
or be sucked into a neon existence however 
much neon attracts, entrapped inside a neon 
existence as opposed to, say, Gulf water 
spurting coquinas all over the string section 
of Prokofiev’s Allegro ma non troppo or some 
concerto cooked up by an orchestra for 
no special reason other than to celebrate 
air billowing opium & jasmine perfume 
from a nearby house of ill repute, a Victorian 
house filled with wolves disguised as songbirds 
& piano keys shattering ice just before 
the proverbial applause pulls the final 
curtain down, then silence. 


Wolfgang flirting with Haydn
before feeling the fangs of life
for himself then curling violins
like sinews around his bones.

Wolfy, as we came to love him,
was a restless soul in search
of anything other than what he 
was used to; then one Autumn 
afternoon he auditioned young 
Ludwig, & despite his ailing liver 
& tragic monetary affairs, he
dazed like a chameleon sunning
himself on the volcanic crags of life
before dropping a deuce as young 
Ludwig executed Wolfy’s complex 
arrangements on queue before 
sneaking in several variations 
of his own.


You laid your lamb’s wool cable sweater
across the maple arm of the Lake Worth
condominium sofa that we swoon
discovered was a nest filled with Spike 
on the box plus the British Invasion 
soaked in fresh squeezed orange
juice diluted by a healthy helping
of Smirnoff.

Kisses like zebra finches.

Kisses like primordial oysters sloshing 
the Atlantic shelf & into an event
horizon that we had no words
for in those days, but today
I have a few words; today I have
something to say, & what I want
to say requires utmost secrecy;
what I mean is that what
I want to say has been said
by poets & crooners eons before,
so, I’ll conclude with a coda
that’s haunted me for years—
that night with one sandal abandoned 
atop our beach wall, other sandal
a magic coin disappearing, 
& I’ve been waiting to say 
this for a long time. 


Ah, there you are.


That other sandal, left or right, was nowhere 
in sight, just an orphan dazing atop a lemon 
& gesso Lake Worth balmy beach wall.

So, let’s dust off Spike, 
inhale the British Invasion, 
& prepare for a round of bougainvillea kisses,
kisses that taste of anise & lime,
kisses huddled like manatees 
beneath a sudden Florida 
February chill, kisses like gold 

& vermilion-speckled concentric Klimt 
circles flickering the condo ceiling,
& kisses molesting the wrinkled pages
of the Old T to vaporize its 
haughty veneers & pile them
upon the maple arm of a Lake
Worth condominium sofa.

There’s orange juice in the fridge,
fresh squeezed plus a vacuum sealed 
bottle of Smirnoff fresh from the freezer
on a Formica counter tucked away 
in that Lake Worth condominium,
owners of the condo diving for exotic 
sponges off the coast of somewhere, 
diving off the coast of somewhere.

About the contributor

Alan Britt served as judge for the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award in 2018. He was interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem and has published 17 books of poetry, his latest being Ode to Nothing (English/Hungarian: 2018) Crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge (English/Romanian): 2017; and Violin Smoke (English/Hungarian: 2015). A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars he now teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University. ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/media/avfiles/poet-poem-alan-britt.mp3 ALAN BRITT, 233 Northway Road, Reisterstown, MD 21136, USA (PH: 443-834-8105...EM: [email protected])

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