the poetry that matters

James D. Autio

James D. Autio is a visual artist and poet in Minneapolis, MN. James' writing has been accepted by Drunken Boat, North American Review, Venereal Kittens, Naugatuck River Review, Thieves Jargon, and other fine journals. James is the proud recipient of a Vermont Studio Center fellowship and numerous awards for his plays, poems and essays.

   Moonpie and mumbly peg. Numb to dock-sound
with mumenshantz on a quicktime loop. I’ve a sasquatch thumb
   in a felt bag with a drawstring cord. Lord, lay your sweaty palm
upon my tenderer and grunt a holy wyrd. Balls black
   huge heavy. Crotch jockey smuggling bowling sphere
through customs’ drooping lid, ricket-legged. Someone struck me
   with a candlestick in my pantry. I in paper, wake later dazed
and shaved, have been shiv-stuck and sorted, junk knocked about
   and volcano pathway tied in a not. Though hurt in pankey sack
expand to suit the wooly thumble. Fortunate I was to rise,
   writhe, day to lay and pill bottle in grubbed-out clutch.

Pang I do and dig as poon.
Prick a pear belly too. Just
like a bear: just like licking sweet honey
drip seep slow as snail on a log. Adjust.
Catch a glisten faint in you.
Ride on waves of molasses drub.
Adjust. Lick another, linger in demi-plié
In piano pound song, we three
be pan seared. We wake with glass grapes,
the crowded house, smoke such bitter bark,
and cobble out the loafer pair. Later,
funk & wiggler be in sapid lips
munching icebox plums, and me,
out past the boathouse swimming bare assed in foam.

Mean while awashed in the putty
and petty in pruitry, we labour
to stave isolate, in a way me as dandy
and here you tapping on the glass,
treading brine in the other jar. Don’t
you know me by now? What.
With no stitch of close, embryoed
via softshore float and stuffed
under a two-tin lid. Me, boy. Maybe
were it not for the jarring, we’d even be
umbilicalled. Yet we too are kept a feel
as pulp mash for the screening trough,
await on artisan’s whim, even
made of stern fibres to scrub along
the complex curvature of our inner housing,
but not likely to loosen the lid up top. Still,
flipped and fetal like the chance de maldoror
in a doppelgängered image suggested
by glass, rain aside and mouths wide.
You see me naked, fluid move
in my amniotic drip. You might wish
to rush to crash and hoist me to your flowing dug,
fill me with milk, let me sup
while you lug out the Luger with eyes can.
Instead, we flatten pliant heads
that may the better be full. And hope.

At Back Stair
Lead you to the empty room, paste
                grim ace upon the rack,
talk of fish spoon in the pantry sack.
Like you, I just want l'oven,
                c'est les autres, and
slump loose from the pomple noose.
That back stair is string and winds
                piltdown from the amberbach,
dribbled from the honeycove and built
to resin with hard visage
                intact. You’ve a hand
in my larder. I’m plagued
by such scenes and heights, tread worn
                smooth to the tipple edge,
riser hide a black and tan.
Drawn. In bas de l'escalier sans
                Suess soul, nevertheless
absolute and elsewhere. The blinder
bite abate in lined slicker, hat brimmed
                in narrow and frizzed
in drizzle. It seems that
mayhap doppelgänger be my me
                knew by.
Now I wrap in mac at the corner lamp.
I’ve poison the child, turn
                                and key.

Frusen Marionét Snätchen
Within the confines of the cracked frame tintype aged
yellow against blackened iron and furred foray of the sweetest fuzz,
I see the grim reflection in pieces of sheen
showing what little remains of your handformed face.
You’re hollow-eyed and ad hoc soirée with a pick a bird
lurched over doilied highback. I count down the pearls
served as fingerstep buttons dividing your forged torso in two
and at twenty seven they all but call for commitment
to peel you free from your stiff linens. Your lips,
tarnished brass and ice, house the slightest rise
but little hint of smile while easing back into cheek curves
with the scooped-out slope as though mold-pressed
from dollmaker’s putty by the master’s calloused hand.
Your face has surly felt the searing sting of slapback,
been pummeled and puffed out to suit the role of your creator’s choosing.
From where I sit, a sadness permeates the years between us.
Linger. I’d snatch you up if I could. I would make you a cookie
and climb inside your tintype world. Pull off a crusted edge
and press it between your icy lips. Let it melt your tongue
with the tiniest hint of warming steam like the first breath of Spring.
I’ll stick my hand up inside your backhole and help you chew.

I’ve a billowed even ill-spent smudgepot
near where the fishes let opaque tresses
loaf in the foxglove pith. Many marionéts,
steeped in caprice, may dance on taut string and given rein
feast on your wife’s dowry, slurp up the last
of your stew while she’s lying in her bath, lip-sippling
her third absinthe with warm water sluice at the fleshiers. 
Even I ease past your foyer swags and with a spongy tissue
lining the rind, tip the clay baby upon its drooling snout.
Unlike a foolish bridegroom eager for his flick of the delicate,
I coax out the maisonette with a swaying chamber pot,
squiggles for stitch in the plumb, while close-eyed,
my lashes slack flan as though under acid wax press
and seeming my freckled blessing skew. I cub the brass
back against the harder pew. Swaddled. My purer self
backslid into layers of woolen clothes while below
the shifting surface your wife’s submerged, naked,
shy, wide-eyed and so ill consider. Lip blue. You, black
of core and perched high over lurched and harried hoofbeat,
I’ll breathe the life back past your wife’s glaucous sores.

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