Trainwreck – Alexa Locksley

First time in Denver, a highrise hotel
Smooth sweep of the sliding door whispers class traitor
recessed lights nod in agreement
My companion’s asleep—
exhausted by the mesas of Utah
the hazy opulence of Vale
or maybe my sullen silence
Tiptoe through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt
dress too short
hair too disheveled
flannel too flannel
too many toos for this place
and a copy of Burroughs tucked under my arm
catches the camera eyes of the elevator woman
fluorescent glare from her black plastic shells
insect eyes bulge from her face
She adjusts her orange hibiscus print dress
smiles a false robot smile
and telepathically opens the doors.

Cross the stone corridor
step out into the steaming gray morning, stand under wet humid sky
my antennae drooping, two wilted celery stalks
Take refuge among leather and lamplight
Crack open gold coins, melting yellow streaks
Cell walls expand, jelly replenished
synapses of cellulose stronger with intake:
poison word hoard and rich burn of espresso
wine & sour oil
faint hints of charcoal at the back of the tongue
an imagined memory of withered grass, oolong reduced to ash
false dairy, shelf stable and sanitized
in another world, twin apricot suns below ground
in the lindworm’s tunnel under Munich streets

Shake off the memory
shake out my powdery wings
dodge the streetcars and blend in with gray concrete
Disguise myself as a steamed salmon
lemon slice to keep up with the fashion
and join in the stream

A fresh bucket of deep-sea dread from a long-past meet&greet
(too serious and literary for the ampersand)
Warst du schon mal in Wien?
that deceptively innocent questionmark a tiny tadpole sprouting tentacles
octopus whirlpool spirals down to the depths
until your friends fish you out
reel you in
admonish in hushed strained voices because Jesus Al you can’t say that
and the sting of the fishhook still slices into your cheek

But now in the diegetic present
face to face
you’re one of us, I’m almost sure
our panicked transaction of phrases a mutual trainwreck
jumbled words casualties that limp from the wreckage
and for a moment I belong.


ALEXA LOCKSEY is an escaped Midwesterner living in Las Vegas, where they teach English. Their poetry and short fiction has appeared in Ghost City Review, Peach Mag, Shot Glass Journal, Rose Quartz Magazine, and Bone & Ink Literary Magazine. They are on Twitter and Instagram @AlexaLocksley.

Cabinet Of Heed Contents Link 23

Image via Pixabay

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: