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The Gauloises Blonde and four more poems.




She smoked her loneliness as
if hungering the char, hard eyes
marked to the painted moon.
Yesterday kept for days on
the hundred yards of roadway,
where she fell back into the fire-
fly light, weaving spiral-whirls
where the air murmured freak
like the tongue of philistine.
The Gauloises blonde walked
half the morning on the soles of
that autumn gone, searching
comfort cornerway by wisterias,
hanging off the fleeting guile
like an unbuttoned shirt. Now all
that remained lay wandering.
Wandering to, wandering from,
wandering back—to be forgotten
so she was forced to remember
that already she will have lived
a hundred years, sifter of cigarette
loss, voyeur of this world’s malaise.


After Kurt Vonnegut

In the end, I was dust enough
to always be the little weight of
darkness, panoramic through
the grey, snow melt. In the end,
I missed me lustering for want
of my drowned sailor in the sea,
shaped into sand the stench of
our love. In the end, I felt some-
thing once as a whisper about to
give beneath psoriasis of need,
like I’ve worn dull by this series
of emptying-outs, of the swills and
spits left dripping back to water.
So in the end when it was all over,
I believed in things like death
and erosion so that they will stay
when I cannot, like a pale down
stroke blew over as shot from a gun.



— But we were a maybe and never a must when it should have been us.
—Lang Leav

Borne on the edge of razor blade
above the wrist, I moved fragile
with your whitewater stride by
my half-told lies. Like a girl lost,
like the first crescent in a kind
of teardrop, I was never born to feel
night from your hair, backlit with
smooth shine dirt giving yards
to fire and smoke. Then the glory
of you fleshed me inside your throat-
latch easy and kind, almost as if
I was hunger knowing its direction
to taste love on this shade-side down.




In the distance, aphids nattered on
the weeping laburnum tree,
darkening the summer of strata
giving seeds to birds. Prowl of old
nocturnes kissed the sundown black,
blithely roaded my pelican neck
like the slow sarcastic clap
of the diablo. I was left clumsy to
my widow’s trail on this hazard map,
hearing the river slicked on salve
of gravity. But I held the water
cool tending to the magueys over
the arrant ground, the way thin bones
of evening hit the sheer side of
this world hinged with frost. Here,
I knew only of the woods at the end
of me that can’t be named, and
because I have dreamt me toward
the earth shrinking into glass darkly,
I bowed me over, rowed me round,
as sky above thundered with heartbreak.




The man drank brisk cull of bourbon
from the purchase of heuristic air—
the last taste left to him. Even now
he autumned away into ears and hid
himself from tongue, moving years
down the silver sink. Pressing head
to the folding metronome that stirred
and rose his shock gray hair, he pulled
up as the moon slanted in brooking
red like a siren’s dance, leaving stains
on the white oak floor. Now a corner,
a garden, a rusting gate, and he walked
bleeding in the pent room of his past,
leaving the serif of limbs without what
the night couldn’t hold inside. Rent
from the comfort of taking new shape
by the thousand blades of grass, he
let back with the sail of fingertips over
a worn world, shriveling its petals to

A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is the author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), and has had poetry and fiction featured in Acentos Review, Barzahk, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock & Sling, The Stillwater Review, Sundress Publications and Whiskey Island, among others. Her work appeared in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. She resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is ‘mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps’.


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