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Six Poems
by Ellaraine Lockie

Sheís nude in the kitchen
Her solution to icing-spattered silk
When he walks through her
to grab a beer

Ghosts of an earlier time
when he'd do a double take
Drink the beer later

Lukewarm then
like their worn-out bodies
She craves that kind of power
Ability to flick a switch
and generate instant thermal energy
Spontaneous combustion

Until she became everyday invisible
Familiarity-fostered immunity
injected over years of routine
Dangerous as the disease
it was meant to prevent

Extramarital epidemic extraordinary
As oblivious to him
as her immaculate clothes

Previously published in "Rising" (England)

Fear in Fast Food Places

Maybe homeless
Definitely dirty, hairy
Not the Clint Eastwood kind
His eyes bore a hole
in my burrito
At the local Taco Bell
Where for two forty-nine
with free refills I can linger
in clichťd author fashion
Penning my potboiler fiction
But Dirty Hairy's gaze
hazes my vision
of bestseller success
So I order him up incognito
his own license to loiter
A cheap and philanthropic price
to pay for poetic productivity
But Hairy's stare persists
Seems to trail my burrito
through its digestive journey
With x-ray eyes radiating run
My response a knee jerk jump
Back to a time when I
deemed myself indispensable
Mother in fatherless family
Business built around me
Volunteer roles to perform
Every one an excuse to play safe
Founded in feminine fears
So I'd hightail it home
To cowardly custody
of three guns and a guard dog
But the kids are grown
The business is gone
And I don't need a gun
to sight aim on Hairy
until he re-focuses
Freeing me finally to write

Previously published in "Crossing the Center Line" (chapbook), Sweet Annie Press

Homecoming Parade

Months of dieting, mincing meals
last minute hair coloring
and teeth whitening
Disguise divorce, drunkenness
family dysfunction
and anti-depressants

Thirty-three scattered classmates
collectively comparing Christmas letter lies
Thirty-seven years surface shown
like the new outfits we wear
Fear of exposure camouflaged
by Calvin Klein and Levi Strauss

Small town Montana's fashion statement
Soon worn threadbare
with point-blank questions
and reluctant replies
That relax into honest answers

Truths revealed by youthful bonds
Unconditional acceptance wrapping
itself around inflicted wounds
that knit fabric back together

Mending impossible in city
support groups with strangers
Healed in a way that won't happen again
Until the next high school reunion
When the progression marches once more

Previously published in "Crossing the Center Line" (chapbook), Sweet Annie Press


I love you too
An utterance I abhor
Words worthy of a plastic parrot
whose battery button's been pushed
Cursory command performance
bending in predictable bow
Insecurity sanctioned
So don't depreciate my declaration
with perfunctory follow-up
Give me naked silence
Not security blanket cover
An original response
instead of automatic echo
Or just accept the gift
with gratitude
Because I love you
isn't a petition
pathetic in its plea
And a peck-on-the-
cheek phrase
is the kiss of death
A battery run down with
distorted foghorn drone
Deafening in final effect

Previously published in Taproot Literary Review


The forget-me-not words withered
after you said good-bye
Forever without fare thee well
or Godspeed

But how can I hate
When buds of recollection
haphazardly blossom through
concrete cracks in my heart

Hell bent to border memories
with mounds of bright blue clusters
Undomesticated and out of control
in the desert of desertion

Previously published in Ibbetson Street

I Pledge Allegiance

A hundred times to L. A.
over fifteen years
And always
the feeling of foreign
Like Iíve jet lagged
through a throng of latitudes
Into a land
of encyclopedic disparity
Located somewhere
between National Geographic exotic
and National Enquirer grotesque

Homegrown tossed
into the Hollywood Bowl
of big time travel
Spun beside silicone breasts
bleached blondes and BMWs
in other-worldly wealth on the West side
Garnished with conspicuous
consumption and grams
of high-grade cocaine
Ingested in houses
that host guided group tours
Where my bottled water wonít blend
with movie industryís oiled opulence
Congealed in its counterfeit
attempts at real existence

Found authentic on the East end
Where I canít mix
with multi-lingual incoherence
of a melting pot stew
Fear steaming from the sight
of street hustlers serving dirty-
needled dope to teenagers
And semi-automatics to Hellís Angel types
Alongside houses the shape
of shopping carts with addresses in alleys

Adjacent to an occasional artist
co-existing behind caged windows
and 2:00 a. m. clubs
Feral in a savage jungle
Where Iím a safari spectator
Subject to jeopardy in traffic jams
freeway shootings
and Rodney King scenes
An alien in my own country
Unconnected to anything outside
resident daughters and Disneyland

Until an American flag peeks
its post September 11 tribute from under
an oak tree hovering over a crack house
Tiny stars and stripes on a six-inch
stem transplanted beside
empty beer cans and cigarette butts
Other flags flapping frequent freeway fraternity
between the BMWs and dent fendered heaps
Horns blaring at Honk if you
love America bumper stickers
Slogans similar on flagged T shirts
slipcasing the fake breasts
Compatriot cats and dogs
dressed in red white and blue collars
I buy a flag-contoured cookie
from a street peddler
without food poisoning worry
And Iím suddenly at home
Tierra natal, bayan ko, la patrie

Previously published in San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly

About the author:
Ellaraine writes poetry, nonfiction books, magazine articles/columns and children's stories. She is a well-published and awarded poet who has received eight nominations for Pushcart Prizes in poetry and has four published chapbooks: Midlife Muse, Poetry Forum; Crossing the Center Line, Sweet Annie Press; Coloring Outside the Lines, The Plowman Press; Finishing Lines, Snark Publishing. Ellaraine also teaches school and community poetry workshops.

Her nonfiction books are All Because of a Button: Folklore, Fact and Fiction, St. Johann Press; The Gourmet Paper Maker, Creative Publishing, and The Low Lactose Kitchen Companion and Cookbook forthcoming in 2005.

© 2011 Word Riot

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