blackmail press 18
Keith Nunes
New Zealand

In my world, Smeagol nips Lester and April headbutts the
door, Talulah paints, the three munchkins pull in different directions
and a former newspaper journalist writes poetry like there's no tomorrow.
And I say thanks to the Pole Zbigniew Herbert who wrote: I cannot grow
up/although years go by/and planets and wars/roar above.
On the bedside table is a phone number

On the bedside table is a note with a phone number
He knows the number
He stays under the blanket
The number pounds through his head
He gets up and rings it
She answers
She’s distracted
She giggles
“Sorry,” she says, “what is it?”
“It’s me,” he says
“Look, I’ve got to go, alright.”
He involuntarily says:
“What’s his name?”
She waits … waits
“Alan,” she says and hangs up  

Benny and his jets

Benny and his jets
At the table
Chester and a bone
At his feet
“What say you, young fella?” says Benny
Chester looks up at him – bone in mouth
“Quite so,” Benny says
“What are your plans for tomorrow?”
Chester puts down the bone, looks up
At Benny and in a gravelly voice says:
“You know I don’t talk with my mouth full.”
Benny says: “You’ve always had good manners.”
Chester nods: “You have been quite strict on me.”
“And it’s paid off,” says Benny
“I guess,” says Chester
Benny goes back to his model airplanes
Chester back to his bone
Benny’s wife Clarissa, listening at the door,
Faints with a dull thud
Benny and Chester go over to the door and
Find her lying prostrate on the floor
“Do you think she heard?” says Chester
“She’s been drinking again, she won’t
Remember,” says Benny
They both go back to the table and
Resume their positions
In the morning Clarissa rolls over and
Says to Benny: “I’ve had that dream again.”
Benny, facing away, says: “The one about
The talking dog honey.”
“Yes,” she says. “It’s so vivid.”
“Cut back on the gin honey,” he says
“I think it’s more than that. I’m going
Back to the therapist. This has something
To do with my puppy dying when I was a kid.”
“Quite likely honey,” he says, “Quite likely.”

Strapped in he flies

Strapped in he flies
Across some water
A blue-rinse suction toilet
Smiles from a uniform
And he’s there –
The hire-car pulls like
A charging beast
He chain smokes
Slips coffees into the
Cup holders
Reads the map
Waves at hitchhikers
Rubs red eyes
Drives intermittently
On the wrong side of the road
It’s a surprise – his arrival
(He’s in for a surprise)
He reaches the town
Grabs for another map
On the street, outside the house
It’s nearly midnight
There’s a light on
He knocks
“Is Jenny home?” he says
“Jenny?” says Johnny