Brian Le Lay

by Ian on January 25, 2012

Brian Le Lay is the editor of Electric Windmill Press. He wrote the books Don’t Bury Me in New Jersey (Electric Windmill Books), Please Make an Internet Catchphrase Out of the Headline Written to Report My Death (forthcoming, Piggybank Bandit Books, 2011) and Our Brick-and-Mortar Basement Apartment America (Piggybank Bandit Books, 2012). His poems have most recently appeared in The Prism Review, New Wave Vomit, The Montucky Review, and The Camel Saloon.

hopeless romantics

darling i don’t mind if you stabbed the sheriff
in the jugular with a steak knife at a county fair
as long as you whisper “i love you” during intercourse,

and bring me a box of oreos nested on a satin pillow
when i’m white-light-headed, bedridden in a cocoon
of drool and dry-heaving after ten too many jager bombs
and think i’m going to vomit the scone i had for lunch,

but all that’s coming up (because my mother made me
believe the color of my bile makes me seem “unbecoming”
and no good man will ever love me if i don’t behave
like a charm school graduate or a good southern girl) —

a colorful menagerie of thorny remarks
about how you’re no-good like my daddy the junk-man,
who’s stabbed his share of civil servants
(and domestic ones, too) with all manner
of rusted, inanimate objects

but i don’t mind, really, so long as when weeping
i confess the fear: i’m becoming my mother, you insist,
taking my hand, “oh, that’s silly! your cheekbones
are higher which makes you seem stately
like a president’s wife or a senator’s high-class escort”

i don’t mind if before we met you performed
more acrobatic sexual maneuvers than i know exist,
on our mailwoman, and “did the dentist”
with a bert-and-ernie mechanical toothbrush,

as long as you eat me out and pretend to get off on it.

even if we’re living in a time when cunnilingus is considered passe,
and pool-cues get cracked over the head
of any man who admits to having done it,

i don’t mind if other boys kept stamp collections
pressed beneath their mattresses,
faded beaver shots stuffed in empty coffee cans–in attics,

and i don’t mind if other boys had walls where they’d hang
their honor roll certificates dignified
in swathed oaken picture frames,
but you kept a collection of silver-and-gold brass knuckles
hung from rusty hooks
and a milk bottle full of chipped and sawed-off teeth

i don’t mind, i’ll pretend not to know,

darling, lie to me, i love it.

rotten pussy

if i wanna get laid maybe I need an asymmetrical haircut,
or, like, be able to make obscure references
to the intimate lives of 1950’s pinup girls

who were not very extraordinary
and died of “accidental causes,”
did nothing but “look pretty”

but somehow became
beaming beacons of feminism.


In a shoebox under someone’s bed
There’s a photo of you pale
Naked and sad
With a blanket around your back
Like an abused child’s tattered cape

And maybe your face
Is a bit wider, red and cherubic

And your hips aren’t as shapely
But still
Just as white

where surely joy

sheriff joe
with flawless back-hand grip
shines insecure flashlight
through the half-blanketed window
of a parked car, where bare
white limbs undulate

like the permadust wings of the dragonfly
smashed, dying
(its radial imprint carved)
in the dust of the dash

joe’s nightstick brushes
(seductive, almost
against perfect pant-creased
outer-thigh (no demerits, joe!)
with each excited tremble,

as did he, rife for detective work
at twelve having uncovered
a rain-soaked playboy
in an abandoned treehouse
lying beneath
a scattering of leaves
cigarette butts
beef jerky tins

at thirteen, too,
there was true potential
for a legislative seat
with wide open nostrils nosing through
his mother’s underwear drawer
in the name of “evidence”
insisting, justice
will prevail!

you know, joe, it’s no secret
to we the people
the children used to chant
peeping tom! peeping tom!
joey’s got a hard-on!
as you crouched
in the old lady’s poinsettias,

now, as then, in a night-lot
where surely joy has been banned,
the juniper, the thorn, nor
the nightstick can hide how
you’re a naughty
sheriff, joe!

Writing Advice

If I, an eleven year old boy,
Can invent masturbation
With nothing but a fist
And a moving image
Of a Marilyn Monroe
Then you can do

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