Volume 14 • Number 2 • Fall-Winter 2022-2023

Neil Flory


a yellow/orange cat named Florida you know like the land of the glittering
orange groves wasn’t it doldrums of that time in Florida when I couldn’t stand
up on my skis and the boat dragged me such lamentation through the river for
seemed like six hours maybe a week or something akin full bland blah of a doldrum
afternoon and we drove around around the falling-down seen-better-days town
listening to free jazz at top volume brazenly confronting one metaphysical
contradiction after another with brassy dissonant non-syllogisms of the kind
you just unleash wild and snarling right in the middle of the major main-drag
intersection man look how they just rip everyone’s tires to flailing ribbons yank
axles clean off in mid-turn clatter clang slambam like demolition-derby
pandemonium oh but look out for the hidden pathways of pervasive black cats
in these pock-marked backstreets around every turn seemed like yellow/orange/brass
emergency of a new ontological conundrum leaping out and the streets went on
forever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever
ever ever oh but so much weary wane after a time wane/diminuendo strength
of dissonance fading to warmer hues of chalumeau clarinets and gentle subtones
what were the clashing chords anyway what’s that chart wait but then snap my
skis caught the right resistance I jolted upright standing bold and brave and whipping
wet speed howling otherworldly yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa and five
seconds seemed like seven lifetimes of brazen blasting unbridled
fresh-off-the-vine euphoria

The Thousand Crows

shut up you stupid idiots you imbeciles just look what you’ve done just shut
up shut up right now she shrieked at the thousand crows scattered about on
the bare brown earth beneath the shattered silver sky hanging in forlorn pieces
scattered about in so many weary splintered pieces but they paid no heed just
kept screaming and screaming caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw caw
caw until the distant wandering trees began to gather again their many fallen
leaves caw until tiny rivulets from everywhere began to pierce and split the
surrendering dirt caw caw caw until the liberating thunder seemed inevitable
until the sudden wind returned in howling triumphant velocity until the massive
golden flashes overhead (now undeniable) announced a new electric sky about
to form

Neil Flory’s poems have appeared in Fleas on the Dog, Superpresent, and other journals. He is also a published composer and an improvising pianist. He lives in Western New York State, teaching music at Jamestown Community College.