The Elevator Shift in Your Head & Other Poems

The Elevator Shift in Your Head

responds only to the voiceprints of your three favorite movie actors

active between 1920 and 1933.

Even if they change. You consider

how much of that time film was silent, yet Max Schreck will get the job done every time

(and Willem Dafoe won’t) so

whatever it is that keeps the supply of dead thoughts on their way to the basement has got it goin’ on, babydoll. You contemplate your one person fan club’s next it girl

nominations, step outside, are swept away by the crowd.

The Illustrated Sleeping Beauty

You put down the book

(sick of spankings, it seems)

and announce, “I want

another tattoo.”

“Do you have the money?”, I ask,

pausing my pen in midstroke of the Queen's hand on Beauty's bare buttocks.

“Sure,” you say,

searching for your lost

bookmark, “it'll only be twenty-five

dollars.”

A hand in sweeping motion is much harder to draw than a pair of wriggling buttocks,

not to mention that much less fun.

“Okay, let me get my keys.”

Later that night, after I've kissed the new yellow rose inside your thigh

time and again,

I turn to a new page in the sketchbook and begin to draw you,

perfect in sleep.

When the party is over hours later

than expected and your secretary is the last one left and won’t get out of the swimming pool.

When you happen upon an eight-track of old radio dramas in the junk

shop but don’t have a player, decide

to buy it anyway. When you don’t

believe what you have is wrong

but you know the police won’t see it that way. When you hear the term “also-ran” and the first thing that comes to mind is your best friend’s marriage. When that happens even when your best

friend has never been married. When your mama’s air conditioner is set to sixty-eight but the room never gets below “oh, hi, Mark.” When

the plumber arrives to dress the deer

but brought the knives he reserves

for working with linoleum. When

the cute waiter asks you the names

of the last three books you read

and you answer “shantih, shantih,

shantih”. When you get up the next

morning and your secretary is

still in the pool, but now she’s been joined by the waiter. You pick up your guitar. Today is the day you learn how to play “Melancholy Baby”.

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Cough Syrup, Penumbra, and Lowestoft Chronicle, among others.