hotel room in little rock

there were three of them
forceful
drunk

too angry to care
whether she lived or died

she swung
the cardboard pizza box
like a machete

it was all she had

I try not to depend on anyone

I try to understand
easing the monsters.
They never really settle,
do they?

It’s not really you
or him or anyone.
It’s me.

I can’t show affection
or friendship.
I hate the hate,
the jealousy,
the competition.

Everything
seems
ruined.

My heart hurts.
It beats too fast, too—

like a bird,
a butterfly,
a hummingbird,

searching
for a safe place
to drink.

The fuck of the century

Colostrum still drips
from my breasts
and you’re fucking
the bitch next door.

One thing I learned while dying

i really hate
to do this to you

grab you
by the back of your hair,
force you down
make you lick me clean.

you have to see the truth—
we can’t fuck
what we devour.

Running out of jokes

I’d like to say Nietzsche has nothing on me,
but of course he does.
His theory that everything is nothing,
that life has no meaning or intrinsic value—
I can’t beat that one.

The answer is there are no answers.
I have nothing to offer but apathy.
Zen is the number 100.  The trinity is 666.
A prayer is a drop to the knees and a plea for death.
In heaven I’ll place plastic flowers on every grave.
Resurrection is a plummet to the center of the earth.
Every move I make is a shot in the dark
but perceived as a calculated descent.

A Terrible Trip

Even from Nashville,
a trip through the south
is like a 70s throwback scene,
or maybe 60s if you add guns & war—
blue shacks, yellow barns,
triple cross human burial grounds
and dead animals along the interstate-
deer, armadillos, cats & dogs,
heifers & vultures,

shopping center parking lots
with police towers
built by the citizens
to discourage murder & robbery
and fail to,

a Waffle House filled with dreadlocks
at the bar, accompanied by a security guard—
you know you’re in trouble,

local liquor store built
inside a thick-barred cage,
crackhead over your shoulder
so close you can smell her foul whispers
of ‘what cha got, what cha got’
and the cashier telling you,
I can’t give you your change now,
it could be lethal.

I guess a southern funeral
is a little different these days.
I would say something about grief,
but it would be inappropriate.

Concentrating on his 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

In the corner of the game room
at the parquet card table,
he don’t sit like most.
Stands bending over at 45 degrees,
an upside-down L:
staring intently at 1000 pieces –
one hand behind his back.
(The other rifling through odd colorful
shapes of what is still a mystery.)
In his blue plaid shirt, pens in his pocket,
his Walmart jeans and white hair,
I see him something like my dad –
working hard all his life in the military,
then bookkeeper or grocery stocker,
now pondering the grand diversion.

Hand

How can the hand
that fed you
beauty and solace
squeeze you
like bloody soil?

Do fingers talk,
plot against you?

Does the wrist know
that someday
he will jerk them
all away,
neglecting
his directive
to spin you

wet
on the potter’s
wheel?


Art by Jenn Zed

Cheryl Leverette—the pen name of Cheryl Ann Dodd—was a talented and prolific poet who drew much inspiration from the company of other writers and artists online. She died on May 27, 2019. The rest of her inspiration came from her family. For her author bio on Open Arts Forum, she wrote, "I'm a grandmother living in Tennessee, enjoying my family and semi-retirement. I love writing and poetry as a hobby and also as a learning experience. It keeps me sharp."