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cloud / moustache by Robert Duncan Gray Š 2012 by Robert Duncan Gray Cover by Andreas Jakwerth (photo) & Matt Wisniewski (manipulation) Chapbook by NAP

cloud / moustache Robert Duncan Gray


I swallowed a pregnant Hummingbird & I hummingbirded a pregnant Swallow. All colors, every single color, different. Every green a different green just as good. Swallow & Hummingbird curled like cats

asleep in my stomach, snoring. Leslie is having a good day. I heat her Cola in the microwave. She is smiling & smiley. I blow a raspberry. My grandfather blows the best raspberries,

so thick & ripe, I aspire to match them but my tongue is not wet enough & my lips too thin. Leslie scribbles with an orange crayon on white paper without looking at what she’s doing.

Leslie alone at home talking to her posters & her posters talking back. Leslie smiling. Hummingbird & Swallow purring--peach of the possum, possumpeach--each dreaming something concrete, like avocado pit

like skirt lift like naked knee & soft scar like old blood & dead skin. All real things. Leslie has hair like a snow fox. I imagine her with whiskers & thick beautiful fur. This makes sense. Feels right like hot

leftovers, an evolution of breast milk. Only mammals have hair. You have hair but you shave. That means something. Metamorphosis. Hummingbird wakes & yawns tries not to disturb Swallow but fails.

Both pregnant birds stretch & together take flight, rib to rib, lung tickle. I am nausea, with these two pregnant things inside me, I am pregnant. Paul sent me a text message. He has a son & a wife. They are lovely.

Optical illusion, shadow trick, slight of fingernail & thumb, What with this What with birds What with pink skin What with the naked & blind What with milk What with soup, a soup of people, warts & all. A soup of cellular telephones. Waste soup

Cold soup Stone soup. I am secure. When the water breaks, soup. Hummingbird & Swallow sing the baby isn’t mine. None of the babies are mine. I intend to give them away. I miss Paul. I am glad he texted me

even though I did not reply. All blues alike---similar but not the same A baby wallaby french kisses its mother. This is not sexy. At least I don’t think it is. Most animals get kinky without knowing it.

Man invented pervert. Before that everything was clean & whatever, slut clean ass to mouth clean mouth to cunt to mouth teabag & cum clean incest clean cock whatever---today marsupial pervs lick tongues but only for water.

Pinks & purples to stay alive. There are fossils frozen with your name perched on lips or curled in hollow cheek. It’s Leslie waiting for Barry. It’s Paul waiting for me, again.

Waiting for me to open my mouth & when I do a thousand baby birds swarm through my teeth and out. For a moment I can’t breathe. I just watch. This is beautiful. This is what beauty is

though it’s no first born child. It’s no monument to the potential of unprotected sex. I sing Hummingbird & Swallow. All these birds will die some day soon. Some might die today,

on the first day of their lives, in the morning, with everything ahead. A telephone rings. It is not the sound of a telephone. It is the electronic replica of a bird’s chirp. A hundred thousand feathers,

each a different color. The most beautiful cloud in the sky. I intend to tell the people I love that I love them, but all too often I forget.


Allow us a moment of grace in the morning. Every morning one quiet moment with hot coffee and, on special occasions, toast. The crow has yet to sing its crowsong. Some neighbor has bought a goat

to mow the lawn and this morning the goat must be cold. The mothlight has been turned off. The mosquitos are falling asleep somewhere. The porch yawns. There is a lot of love

in all these different places. I like that, but then, in the distance, I hear a siren and realize that elsewhere, not far from here, this moment is awful. The worst moment of somebody else’s life. The cat curls grammatically.

The squirrels are collecting and someone’s cousin is dead and some love is lost forever. Lukewarm coffee. Some kids are getting ready for school and they hate it and they hate everything. Some good man wakes up and

feels nothing. There is a shower in my immediate future. I keep my fingers crossed for hot water. The good man kills his family because he loves them or something. Then he kills himself. That’s the way that works. A

moment of shame for all of us. Day laborers eating cheese sandwiches. Woodpeckers bamboozled by iron. The train is late again. A private detective is parked outside an empty house,

waiting. A cartoon character sobs into a handkerchief. The comedic noise of a blown nose. I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I do right now. A child takes a pill at the same time everyday. This world is, first and foremost, shaped like a fist,

liquid and land, but also misunderstanding. Our cheeks are red. A smile has been digitally altered. If there is a cloud sinking, it is us dancing. The music is snow. Television static

and then nothing. The silliness is that at the end of everything there are no explosions. Not a single tear is shed. No gunshots. No violence. No protest. Everyone just sits down at the same time.

And I do have hips but my grandfather has had five hip replacements. It takes several tense moments for him to sit down, so it’ll be Papa, my mother’s father, who dawdles, tells a story to whoever might be

listening and half sits but then remembers something and stands up again as the world waits with baited breath for him to join the grande resignation. He remains blissfully unaware. There is a swan,

equally unaware, floating at the liberty of soft waves. The blood inside that swan is not so different than the blood that leaves the body when teenagers get bored in the suburbs. The same blood that laughs

in the restaurant. Blood of the goat. Life of the mosquito. Something’s lunch. The milk white of Papa’s moustache twitching. There is a paper weight in my throat for a reason. I will not talk about the war.

I will not talk about my mother. I will not speak with most police officers. Some things in the aforementioned are sacred or so much the opposite that they demand the same treatment.

Silence. Abandon ship. This is a day of turning back and turning inward toward the emptier spaces. If this will all be over soon, I would very much like to dance with you now. I would settle for dancing without you. I will read a book.

There are promises, invisible, but made. You hold them as best you can. I guess I could grow my own moustache.

Robert Duncan Gray is a lover of crayons. He is an editor for Housefire Publishing and stays busy. He makes some music and takes photos and makes paintings and sculptures and little films and eats food. Get down at

cloud / moustache  

by Robert Duncan Gray

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