“Ayahuasca” & Other Poems by Robert Beveridge

Ayahuasca

Twilight sport, ravenous to show
in tainted lilies beyond the piano bench.
Rain for days, profusion of yellow
boxes that beat a tattoo on the roof
of your car, the size of golf balls
said that ever-happy newscaster.

Your server takes a thousand
orders a day, urinates in the gazpacho
only when instructed by the mariachis
dropping the C sharp in the third bar
of “Like a Prayer” by two octaves.
So far, no complaints, but four queries
about that certain tangy je ne sais quois.
She demurs; to one she confides half-sours,
to another roasted beets and asafoetida.

Her birthday rolls around, shots of murky
aniseed liqueurs, crumpled singles, renewed
resolve to eschew umbrellas. You’ve never
thought to wonder why the birthday sombrero
smells like wet dog, or why the Chippendales
here more resemble Goofy than Pluto. Still,
it’s a living. The maître d’ himself sets
a gargantuan bowl of gazpacho before her.
You mull over the headgear, bury yourself
in guacamole.

 

Known/Unknown

I spilled the powdered sugar
around the doorframe, blessed
the ghosts with the sweetest
of footsteps. The cats outside
in the alley sang to the moon.
We harmonized over bowls
of chili just the wrong side
of not too hot to eat, whispered
spritzes of simple syrup
to dull the excited palate.
The church on the corner
washed its sacrificial altar,
prepared for this week’s
screening of Cannibal Ferox,
busted out the best bottle
of Hanobska’s Marionette
from the corner of the cellar
where even the bravest alderman
fears to tread. Madison, it is,
vintage 1992, and doesn’t that
bouquet have the perfect hint
of camembert, rodent, ethereal
sweetness fresh from the shower?

 

The Salt Marsh

The copper wire wrapped around
your ribs awaits activation. You have
as much patience as you can
when the cook burned the eggs,
but there’s only so much you can do.
Time to take out the trash, take out
the dog, take out the silverfish,
watch the swamp gas rise over
the scraggly banks of reeds that pass
for a forest in your neck of the woods.
Every story is sad, you think, but every
story is still interesting, and isn’t that
enough? Perhaps the dog can tell you,

it’s caught the scent of something
in the bracken; an old shoe, perhaps,
a cache of coins washed up in last
night’s high tide, the long-disappeared
skull of King Bartholomew I. You
turn your consciousness to the nearest
stream, take off the leash, get ready
for the invisible hand to throw the switch.

 

 

 

—About the Author—

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Ricochet Review, Poetry Pea, and Cattails, among others. Letterboxd, last.fm.

Check out more by Robert: “’Must’ & Other Poems.”