Brand New Chameleon-Skin Coat by Nate Maxson

Brand new chameleon-skin coat

That’s twice now I’ve moved into the chemical demanding it be space/ teach me to play piano, I’m hungry/ in the theater I booed the celebrities stealing cancer children ransoming them with their 800 numbers

Last catchphrase of a critically self-proclaimed strained wit, I never learned to shut my mouth but believe me: inside I’m still grinning

Still wolf whistling out the doggy door/ quite likely against neighborhood regulations

Past that now/ remembering sand, vivisecting the language/the lady/ that fine silk line between jesus christ and jack the ripper or more generally: the rippers and the holymen (really, it depends where you’re standing and what scraps they’ve tossed at you)

Beyond an insubstantial moonlight sonata for hemophiliacs/ I think I’m at the wrong convention, I just like the stuff!

But it’s what you reach for that always ends up burning/ didn’t they teach you anything in school?

I learned how to want, and the pettier the better/ the conversational aspect of acid rain on a clay roof

I’ve been engineering a potential I thought was my own/ hoisted up in steel and undergarments and the bad image I was told black nail polish would leave me with

All I ever wanted as a gift (and I kept being asked about it) was Grandpa’s apocalypse/ yet lacking the gumption to crawl beneath the streets or do anything more than cheer the vague enemy on in their plodding race to the center of the landfill

I just don’t think it’s going to happen but suppose the function of wishing is separate from the process of going soft, contrary to what the hardfaced men underneath would say to me before declaring the specimen unfit for consumption

Let’s discuss this during the interminable wait for the coals to spark/ bongwater to boil, hmm?

Soup’s on!/there was a sound that came before all the other sounds and I can almost open my mouth and trill, light its fuse but like all good jokes/ I’ve forgotten the punchline (much funnier that way, wouldn’t you agree?)

Give me the city or ask the question but hurry/the blue thirst is on me, like a bacteria or a party favor

There are only so many symbols on the slot machine to come up as winning alchemies before the glass starts to work its way in closer to your garden

Cherry, cherry, pit/ back to the compost pile, to reconstitute something tasty

Oh is THAT what you call it? And here I thought it was just a mild irritation/ skin disease that the milk in my refrigerator had frozen solid/a limestone formation for the German archaeologists to fuss over

I could carve a message into it but I’m not sure to whom I would be writing it (that’s a lie)/ there’s a bitter taste in my mouth that has the same cause and cure

Because how many boys can declare ALL OR NOTHING and end up with something more than the nothingness? What a fine and proper concept/ nothing to the animals and to makers of toy guns and to their gods and nothing to the dust on my shoes

I never wanted to be a winner, I just wanted to watch the water/ maybe turn off my potential lighthouse and let the ships crash on my dead elephant shores (but no ivory hunting)

There’s a very specific purpose to this cruelty and in daydreams that I would transmute into 3d if I had the paint or the fortitude, you ask me “doesn’t it hurt” and I grin and say no before sinking my teeth in

I want to sit back and just let the rockets fly real patriotic but ignition takes effort and I’ve been lacking that quality for a while now so if I can’t create/gravitate/obliate green to the bird’s nest (listen: you can still hear the little guys in there squealing to get out)


“Chameleon” image by Flickr user Luc De Leeuw

wintermeNate Maxson was born last millennium in Cleveland, Ohio. He has occasionally been a student of psychology at the University of New Mexico and performs his poems all over Albuquerque, New Mexico on a regular basis. He discovered poetry as a boy many years ago the way other people find religion or drugs and hasn’t looked back since. So far he has published two books of poetry; “Vaudeville Jihad” in 2011 and “I Wished For A Serpent” in 2012, and is working on a third.