Fancymancy I have opened the circle, and I have called the quarters. I have welcomed powerful spirits from the many dimensions to be with us now, and I have warned any and all malicious beings wishing to enter into this space that they will find a fight if they want one, for the spell is cast, and this place where we are is now enchanted. Let us begin: I am speaking now to the spirit inside of my friend, to whoever has decided to come into the body of my friend against my friend’s will. I believe that you are aware that you are no longer alive, and that you are looking for some place to be, that you are looking for someone to be. Maybe you are supposed to be in Heaven; maybe you are supposed to be in Hell; whatever the case may be, you are apparently stuck here on Earth, here upon this mortal plane, unable to rise and unable to fall. But you need to know that you are not welcome in the body of my friend, who lies helpless here in that silent, dangerous and unholy ground between wake and sleep; he does not want you inside of him and taking over a moment longer. No more. He cannot speak for himself right now, as you now inhabit him: body, mind and soul. You must leave. You must release him. You must leave this place and leave my friend in peace. But before you move to release him, before you allow total control of his body back to his soul once more, before you leave his form and rise to be among those first few stars in the dark of the morning, please know that my friend owes me thirty dollars, thirty dollars that I loaned him, like, a year ago, thirty dollars that he has been refusing to pay me back. It’s been a huge pain to watch my friend buy himself nice things all the time and still not pay me back, so I ask you now, before you give his spirit, body and mind back to his own command once more, to make my friend run real quick to the ATM to get me my money. After that, you may go.
The Silent Killer Stricken with vandalism at the age of ten, little Brian was terribly hobbled and ill-behaved because of the congenital condition he got born with; he tried to walk everywhere on his own, but his disease caused him to have to stop and deface some property with the spray paint can he was born holding in his right hand. His mother could do nothing but let him do it, and pay the owners of the property after. When the delivery doctor saw little Brian exit his mother with a spray paint can in his hand, he knew something was wrong. A lot of times, property owners would get mad, but then they would look at little Brian’s little face and see that he just couldn’t help being born with a spray paint can in his hand, and so then they would sort of pathetically smile and let little Brian fulfill his disease against their belongings. The child doctors tried to force little Brian to wear a pair of metal, anti-vandalism arm braces, but little Brian's disease gave him incredible strength, and he wound up hurting a lot of doctors. All that anybody could do was let little Brian do what he had to and destroy the things that did not belong to him; he had a disease that was incurable and unstoppable. Everybody had to let little Brian ruin things. Little Brian was a little boy who had snack crumbs on his mouth and who defaced property everywhere he went and you wanted to smack him but you couldn’t. I’m sorry, but you could never smack little Brian, no matter how much you might have wanted to, because little Brian was stricken with vandalism, and because little Brian didn’t belong to you. [first published at In Between Hangovers]
What Was Once Without a Name Is Now World-Famous; What Was Once Forbidden Is Now Required It’s okay to ask the question; it is, even if the only answer you yourself can give is wrong; even if the only answer you yourself can give makes no sense. For instance: it’s okay to ask that monster, that living, breathing media whose heart and whose skin and whose eyes are made up out of all that’s stupid shallow arrogant full-colour dumb insane and finally DULL why is that art, that beaten protester, that issue, that congressman important and not me? It’s okay to ask why oceans blithely choose to swallow sailors whole, drown children who probably did not deserve to drown (probably), yank natives and tourists alike right off the shore with a terrible, miracle wave of its dark green hand, even if the only answer you yourself can give is that something is wrong with Mother Nature and she just refuses to seek help. It’s okay to ask the Statue of Liberty what sort of accent is that? It’s okay to ask the Statue of Liberty for a tit pic if you know her well enough and she’s down; it’s okay to ask the Statue of Liberty for a little bit of no-strings-attached freedom, some late night Saturday night democracy-and-chill. It’s okay to ask why people who were born twenty years after you got here and who are therefore running way behind should ever in a million years be allowed to tell you that the words you’ve always known how to define have now been redefined, thank you very much and how dare you pull such triggers. It’s okay to ask why-oh-why-oh-why-oh-why, why you have been asked to WATCH your mouth out with soap, as though it could possibly be true in any sort of mesmerized and idiotic universe that spoken aloud words could at all, in any way, ever actually hurt someone, draw blood or be likened to bullets. It’s okay to ask the question safe spaces for who who who WHOOOOOOOOOOOO? what if what makes a place safe for you makes a place very unsafe for me because we are BOTH about to get into that same Yellow Cab medallion number one-hundred-and-forty-three but there’s only room for one piece of baggage and what will it be: your precious agency or the tatters of my reality? It’s okay to ask a national election how dare it give us so little to love or admire? It’s okay to ask the Confederate flag isn’t it about time you waved goodbye? These are questions it really is okay to ask. It’s okay to say hold up, just a minute now; it’s okay to ask why we wish celebrities would just be nice and near us all the time while at the same time, with that same part of the body that we wish with, we wish for all those homeless people to be so not inconveniently present and nearby; it’s okay to ask the question the murder the crucible why even if the only answer you yourself can give makes no sense. It’s okay to ask why judges who fail to punish the men who hide their mistreatment of animals behind the veil of culture and the women who drive drunk for the hundredth glorious time on Highway 25 and the men who introduce their wives to fists are permitted to enjoy the safety of their lives even if the only answer you yourself can give is because THE LAW IS THE LAW which none can take in hand because you can’t go around taking the hands into your own law and killing the people who need to be killed which is also wrong; it’s wrong to not be able to kill people who need to be killed. It’s okay to make a statement instead of asking a question once in a while. It is. It’s okay to ask how come come becomes a dirty bird and not no longer a nice, fresh-jasmine-scented intimate wipe Christian kind of word just because you fell into some soma and spelled it wrong, just because some you soma into fell and it wrong wrong wrong spelled you, just because ingesting poison that can kill you might hurt just a little little bit, just because cinnamon mixed with cyanide is not the best way to dress up the plate, just because cinnamon mixed with cyanide is the only way to present that hundred-dollar plate, just because 9 out of every 5 Americans like to use the thought of God like a threat, like he was an abusive metropolitan night-stick wrapped up in a condom, just because it’s okay to commit pure FACE-ISM, classism and binary lookism if we are specifically talking about Rowan County Clerk Kim Kentucky Davis and I’m TELLLING you; I swear on my mother’s rain-washed, slate-gray gravestone it’s okay to ask if all the skinny-skinny fashion people and the Kardashians and the Rihannas and the AK-Kanye’s and the Gaga Ladies and all those haute couture photographers who for some reason are biologically and commercially allergic to real, fat people should even still be alive and unhurt and safe if they themselves are the reason our attention is so far, far away from the hungry, the hurt and the lost. It’s okay to ask the question; it really is, even if the only answer you yourself can give is wrong, even if the only answer you yourself can give makes no sense, even if there is only one answer, even if there are no answers.
Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and also as a member of the 2008 & 2014 Albuquerque City Poetry Slam Teams. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Yellow Chair Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, In Between Hangovers, Menacing Hedge, Lotus-eater, and Cultural Weekly, among others, and he has work in the Write Bloody Publishing superhero anthology MultiVerse, which was released in the Fall of 2014. He is the Associate Editor at Elbow Room Magazine.