Three poems by Lynn Melnick, from her second collection Landscape with Sex and Violence, which is forthcoming from YesYes Books in October.

Landscape with Wonder and Blowback

If I’m not a trinket I blend into concrete

so I rip my denim and bring enough musk to the car lot
to call it a cathouse.

The men are busy.
I stand quiet until they are busy

about me.

The bleak sun brightens on cement, sliding

into a feed ramp, no trigger guard
and you know how chatter happens

quickly among the gathering crowd.

      Dude, not a cloud in the sky!

Onlookers wonder how hard I fuck on gravel.


      I am the notched, cocking handle of any of your guns;
      no one can safely touch me.

Everybody in my memory is young now.
Everybody in my memory is old though.

That’s the blowback where my loose heart will fire.

Landscape with B-Side and Air Hockey

You’ll be surprised
how firmly I can hustle a room full of players twice my age coming

off a pool table to the corner where I stand fondling quarters
waiting for someone to cut me

some slack because, the thing is, it’s all defensive
play on a low friction surface

and I’m all instinct about a puck      thin disguise

If I tell you that a minor musician in the hall dubs me
a clichéd-bit-of–flora at a time-of-day during a weather-event

and later backs it with power chords:

well then!

Instant replay:

I stop the puck at the very last second

and knock it back so quick across the humming air
that my opponent pries a twenty from his billfold

and pulls me through the knot of band mates to the back room where
jammed between two cabinets            my one desire

I endure my victory.

Landscape with Written Statement

You wrap my ribs in gauze —
an experiment with the word tenderly

after your hands left my vocal cords too bruised to speak.

While winter sun squints at the ghost flower
dying in its shabby terra cotta

far from home

men tell me to be honest about my role in the incident:

Okay, yes
I should have stayed inside

while you railed from the sidewalk

but my confused heart got into the car.

What happened is
I once spent too much time in the desert

so pogonip seems glamorous hung stuck in the trees
like when blood dries on skin

and I want to wear it

out for an evening,
pat my hands over its kinky path down my face

because: fuck you,

you didn’t find me here.
I brought you here.