Madara Mason, Noise In The System (ink and acrylic on paper, 12x16")

Red, like its stickered price
or the acne-cheeked boy who goes
stag to a church dance. Some nights
it’s just us and the Holy Ghost, staring
at paper decorations. The spirit plots
a spider in every corner to make the worst
table worse. Thin blue webs meander
like veins—a suave touch for three
dollars and eighty seven cents. Beneath
the department store vent it flutters
whenever the air kicks on, which is
our colloquial way of saying
indoors we try to forget glaciers
will soon be cubes for punch. Ugliness
always has a sister who dances right
under the disco ball to feel her skin silver
into scales. She smiles too much at mass
just to make a poor boy fidget
his hand-me-down tie. All he has
to do is look at her and die.


Adam Tavel