Previous Feature: Heather Lenz
Heather Lenz was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Both an artist and a writer, she is also the editor of electronic poetry submissions for Stepping Stones Magazine. Much recommended selections of her own verse can be read online at Carcinogenic Poetry, Cliterature, Ink Sweat & Tears, and The Monarch Review.
Heroes always fail.
Black-clothed angels on the street
walk with thin legs through
clouds of smoke.
Used needles pierce rain-drenched gutters.
Somewhere from an open window above,
a heroin-baby cries.
No one listens.
Remnant in Sand
Because they always downed her,
she lit a cigarette, dove beneath the underpass
into a grey sea. When they found her there were stars
falling from her mouth; lost hope subtle in moon-drenched eyes.
Not far from her, a black wedge shoe, with LOVE
etched across the top like desperation
giving way to the tide.
Though the helicopter reached him in time & he
saw again familiar flags waving him home,
he never really returned. The desert caught
in his throat, blood-scent scouring his brain.
Pigeons on the pier understand his voice, as thankless
pedestrians pass by & a bottle shakes & breaks
on pavement toxic with memory.
She wanted to be a ballerina. He wanted
to be a famed musician. On certain nights,
they pass each other in the street—stand beneath
awnings near cheap motels in a downpour.
He is a busker with broken strings; she a
good-time girl who knows how to stay
on her toes. Cars pass, splash dirt on
their drainpipe dreams.
The meth-head junkie fuck
shared his dirty needles with anyone willing.
He wore black like a true Grim Reaper—even
his smile bore a hint of the sinister, if you looked
close enough. He preyed on lonely women for
a place to shack up. My mother was kind, vulnerable,
untouched by love for a decade. Until him. Until the
accidental discovery of medical papers: Hep B, HIV Positive.
Moldy cherries in boxes at the Food Bank. Free for the
taking. Thank you Jesus & good Christian volunteers.
I’m a girl from the worst part of town, probably ten or so.
Back at home, small black bugs make their way from the
free God-blessed rice to the flour to the oatmeal. & tiny
worms make saintly homes inside my small body, horrifying
me to tears when they exit. But I say nothing. I quit eating.
I go hungry for years & learn to smoke cigarettes.
It’s clear the guy on the corner is bat-shit crazy, kind of
like me except I’m in a car & he’s there with a cardboard sign.
I grab my wallet, hand him a five & I’m either an Angel or Idiot,
depending on who you ask. I can hear critics say as they have
before: “You know a lot of them aren’t even homeless, he just
doesn’t want to work, he’ll probably go buy booze.” But whatever
I am & whatever he did with the cash . . . God Bless us both.
All Hail! More of Heather Lenz’s poetry—along with artwork, book reviews, and prose—is available to enjoy at her blog, Ravens Among Me. Simply click on her painting below to visit the site. . .