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Hell on Heels Poems by Alicia Young

edited by debra marlar Lady Lazarus-Press, Leesburg, Florida 2






Hell on Heels, Poems by Alicia Young Copyright Š 2012 by Lady Lazarus-Press All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any manner whatsoever or by any means or format without written permission from the publisher and/or author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Information and written consent may be attained by addressing; Lady Lazarus-Press, 1620 W. Line Street, Leesburg, Florida 34748.

ISBN 978-0-9824669-7-1 0-98246697-8 [Printed in the United States of America]

Lady Lazarus-Press, Publisher Website: Email:

Front Cover Art by Billy J. Burgos


Lady Lazarus-Press



Introduction As Marilyn Monroe once said, “I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!” I once had a, “things I need,” list, and it simply read, black fishnets, red lipstick, and black spike stilettos. That was it, all I needed and life would be perfect. As a woman in a mans world, with an arsenal of items, the female survival kit would not be complete without a good pair of high heels. Alicia Young’s, Hell on Heels gets that very point across. In an age of political correctness, women’s rights and all things Green, her charm and traditional glamour promise provocative visuals and an intrinsic comfort. Alicia Young makes no excuses, nor does she hide behind the entrapments of modern day empowerment, she’s a traditional girl. Let’s face it, there’s nothing a woman can’t accomplish in a pair of high heels that would definitely be more arduous without them.

Reading Hell on Heels, surprisingly, I could not put it down. I was pulled in and knew if I kept reading, my life would be better for it. I felt compelled and inspired with every word and every piece. Alicia Young defies statistics,


while making and breaking rules, with no excuses, only celebrations.

A Southern Bell, and a mortician by trade, who’s been to hell and back and managed to keep her soul, strength, her dignity, and her wits about her, passing on tales of triumph and victory with domestic violence, an Electra complex, witnessing suicides over betrayals, and in her words, “incidental gods, sinners who aspire to be saints and bourbon in her veins.” ” Her writing is sexy, smart and unrelenting. She’s not afraid to be all woman, while telling the not so pretty truths, she has no choice.

A single mother who never

planned for this, but does it with grace, elegance, and a fierce love for her children, family, friends and mankind, with a deep sense of humanity. Hell on Heels is a beautiful and powerful book, intelligently written, inspired and possessed with a muse on fire. Her aim is true, and if she’s seeking justice, you just better hope she’s not aiming for you… --Iris Berry, Author of The Daughters of Bastards and Other Stories, Co-Founder of Punk Hostage Press.


Selections i bought us tickets for the show 15 southern accent 17 for no particular reason 19 the filling station 21 i saw them slow dancing 23 all your stars out 25 talking softly in a loud hallway 27 next she’ll be quoting emerson 29 harum-scarum 31 Nana ishtohoolo (people holy) 33 the planting season 35 mortuary college 37 six poets 41 little deaths 43 the bathroom in the warehouse on vine 45 soup canned 47 he paints to see her eyes 49 love poem for spring written in a kentucky meadow 53 the fine art of waking up 55 8

Ă mĂŞme la peau (next to the skin) 57 the prince of pomade 59 ornithology 63 the day i met robert Zimmerman 67 only you 69 Guernica 71 things we lost in the war 73 dinner with death 75 lunar tic 77 Caligula 81 depression glass 83 The Battle of Alesia 85 for ira lightman 87 things you cannot write 89 Billy Shy 91 a kentucky suicide 93 finding love 95 the gods of a good friday night 97 for sleepy little boys and silly monsters 99 look at the natives 101 9

the painter standing on a french street‌103 love today 107 forked tongues 109 paradise must dwell within us before‌111 the light is different today 115 almost home 117 revolution in mango 119 morning in the gallery 121 American Domesticity 123 check please 125 macaroni necklaces 127 the lights on ludlow street 129 middle aged tavern poem, jack 131 black and blue (ode to my first husband’s fists) 133 fruit flies 137 surgical derision 139 demons 141 we loved, madly 143 Isis and Apollo 145 Acknowledgments 152 10


This book is dedicated to everyone who inspired a character within it. This includes, but is not limited to: Julius Caesar, the women of Rome, Kate Chopin, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Neruda, Andy Warhol, Robert Zimmerman, Pocahontas, Ry Cooder, Jeffrey Lebowski, Cleopatra, Austin Nichols, Kurt Vonnegut, Rafael Francisco Jose Alvarado, Billy Burgos, David Pitchford, Garry Ebbing, Bob Jakubovic, Abraham Kuranga, Gary McGurk, Mark Paleologo, Bryan Burlew, John C. McCormick, my mother Ellen, and father Fred, my stepfather who raised me, my siblings and their children, and my twin boys Gabriel and Chandler, who make me live again each day.



Hell on Heels Poems by Alicia Young



i bought us tickets for the show it is said that those of the same vice or vocation immediately recognize each other be they doctors or addicts or addict doctors you can spot your own kind this is how i know you and keep your empty chair beside me we are writers who recognized each others scars in a desert where every creature prays for rain



southern accent pardon me ladies and gentlemen the erudite the elite the educated the eviscerated you toiling city folk it’s sunday morning and where i come from this day is about forgiveness and redemption swurda gawd but i’m making no apology this is a sweet southern explanation today i am more my father’s girl my mother’s backslid far away pride see we kentuckians are a different breed we take things slower we accept a lot more we are unimpressed regardless of our vices there is bourbon in our veins and tobacco growing next to radishes in the garden we aren’t too good to break bread with you 18

or too dignified to teach your concrete buildings to break beans our cobblers are worth dying for and so are our women but the coal dust will kill you first our royalty drink mint julep but still remembers where grandaddy’s moonshine still mashed the corn take my silky hand and walk down thunder road to the barn and watch me brush this tennessee walker saddle him and ride across the creek to wash off the industrial age and the no longer existent average wage i’m riding off into an unpolluted sunset you can keep your uppity stress and accept that i’ve taken a shine to the word uppity because in the end we’re all buried in the same damned earth


for no particular reason we are a random chemical reaction enzymes and lightning created us our mother and father incidental gods colliding flesh from dust primordial moss and the tears of stars i am a grateful happenstance



the filling station i didn’t remember the place it held no special fascination in fact upon stopping i concluded it presented with the patina of a general store that hasn’t been patronized regularly since the civil war a defunct garage whose oil slicks and greasy fingerprints never quite faded the filling station still attached vestigial limbs and all i need of the world is a damned ginger ale the olfactory sense indeed smell is most closely tied to and evocative of long forgotten memories upon crossing the ruin’s threshold this dynamic envelopes me time fades to a sepia and cream 1979 22

this is the autumn of my second year on earth yes two because that’s how many fingers i am told to hold up crooked in his left arm too little to walk here his black suede cologne and blue shirt i cling to candy cigarettes, circus peanuts, loose tobacco, boston baked beans, royal crown cola, and ring pops observed for sale he buys me a much wanted moon pie the color floods over back to now and my cheeks are wet but how good it was to see him to be carried again


i saw them slow dancing five year old tippy toed sneaking down the dark hall toward the lit music coming from the kitchen i see my parents happy slow dancing to conway twitty singin' hello darlin' it was far from perfect but it was enough to know what love is



all your stars out salinger was able to describe the mundane rituals of a day with such surgical precision as to make the act of smoking a cigarette in a bathroom a symphony of the ineffable he can keep his privileged drop out l’enfant terribles pitiful boys never caught me in the rye yet i long to share a table with his glass family so broken joining hands to say the jesus prayer before feasting on memories of lost boys seymour served with banana fish head of the table seated quizzical would ask his beloved buddy if he was writing his heart out are you living with all your stars out?



Alicia Young wears her electra complex as a little black dress. A woman who has chosen through her life experiences to dance, rather than die. Very much a flawed human, she is a lover of the imperfect, believing it is our scars that make us beautiful, what creates poetry within our somatic forms. She is a latter day Southern belle with a penchant for early afternoon Manhattans and late evening cigars, born on Kentucky's Bourbon Trail. Raised in Cincinnati from the age of 7, she has spent her life trying to make her way back home to her family, the memory of her young father, and cultural richness left behind. She is the seventh great-granddaughter of Matoaka, more commonly referred to as Pocahontas.


After graduating from high school early, she left home at 16 to make her own mistakes, which she did with grand flair. A drama degree became a biology degree, before settling finally on mortuary science. While attending Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, she was profiled as a rising star in funeral service in The American Funeral Director Magazine. Her writing often references her time as a mortician. She went on to contribute cemetery pictorials to The American Cemetery Magazine. Ms. Young is a tree hugging, liberal, optimist who will never remove the Obama sticker from the back of her German automobile. A single mother of twin boys, musician, and medicine woman, she happily grows her garden and is fond of long walks to the pond. Her poetry has been featured in The Montucky Review, Take-It-To-The-Streets-Poetry's The Nexxus, The Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, and The Musophobist. She has performed spoken word from Cincinnati to New York and back again. Her influences are her family, friends, lovers, and the voices of those buried. Ms. Young is a believer in living life on earth so intensely, one no longer needs a heaven. It's why she is Hell on Heels. Website:


Hell on Heels “How do we survive the terrible beauty of the world? You learn to have dinner with death. .Hell on Heels is the powerful first book by poet Alicia Young, but it’s like she’s been haunting us for years. “now that i’m dead / i ride trains endlessly…” Like the blues of her native Kentucky, these poems are both banquet and funeral, jubilation and descent. You might say she’d like to go the Heaven, but there’s a better bar down below.” --Brendan Constantine, Author Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). “Sometimes haunting, often visceral, Alicia Young’s work is an intimate exploration into the darker recesses of human experience. Disarming as well as seductive, her poems resonate with feral beauty and unflinching candor. This is a collection that will linger long after the final stanza.” --Dennis Cruz, Author of “No One.” “The poems of Alicia Young’s “Hell on Wheels” are vibrant, visceral, and full of the 21st Century American Experience. Lush, folksy, her poems delve down dark hallways and weave in and out of the whispers of back rented bedrooms. If you can’t sleep at 3 o’clock in the morning this is the book for you!” --Jéanpaul Ferro, Author of “Jazz” (Honest Publishing).


Acknowledgments The following selections in this collection have previously been published or are forthcoming in:

The Montucky Review: demons, next she'll be quoting emerson, the lights on ludlow street Take-It-To-The Streets-Poetry's The Nexxus: love poem for spring written in a kentucky meadow The Musophobist: demons, i bought us tickets for the show, soup canned, forked tongues, fruit flies, revolution in mango


Hell on Heels, Poems by Alicia Young  

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