Corey Mesler

Another Story in Dialogue

The voices speak to me.
Sometimes I have to write it down.
There are people who
wish I would clam up. I love these
people. I wish I could be their friend,
their best friend.
I wish I could tell these people every-
thing the voices tell me.
Some things though are better left
unsaid. Some things
are so damn suasive they are
      made only of silence.
I want to talk about that, my stranger.

Everyone Was Very Kind

Everyone was very kind.
They wanted to help me fix
my story’s broken aorta.
I tried to tell them that I liked
it the way it was, only
half alive, limping like a penis.
But they wouldn’t hear of it.
In the end I only nodded and
smiled as the story became
something that I could no longer
control, much less own.
And when it all left me I
was just as happy to say goodbye.
Now I am working on a new
story. This one is stillborn.
And the doctors are all out chasing
the ragged ash-ends of the
modern poem, God bless them.


At the edge of our yard
we scrutinize the sky,
graying. A light mist
peppers us as if the moon
were spitting. We turn
our faces upward, night blooms.

Jackie and I Composed at Last

Jackie said let’s leave the clerihews
to the bureaucracy. My father,
clad as a clown, is waiting in the den.
His ashtrays are full of letters
to editors. He is in and out of coma.
I said to Jackie, gee, Jackie,
I wanted to straighten out this line
before I got in it. She said, sure,
put that hedgehog right in the pot.
Later that night Jackie took off her make-
up and later still her skirt. I hid
under it like a light under a bushel. I
was bushed and Jackie, in her
infinite or at least lengthy wisdom,
said that she would make a fine widow
some day. Friends, I write this now
from the crow’s nest. Jackie’s father
was put down like someone ethnic.
We live simply now, off the refuse
of the larger magazines. Their catachresis,
tossed off like salads, seems like
the Bible to us. Jackie and I are ex-
pecting our first son. We are going
to call him Jesus. Wish us all luck
here in this ramshackle world so in need
of salvation via the arts and sciences,
via the outcast sons and daughters of skalds.

Corey Mesler is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, American Poetry Journal, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Adirondack Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. Nice blurbs from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, and others. His new novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006. It garnered praise from George Singleton, Marshall Chapman, Steve Stern and others. His latest poetry chapbooks are Short Story and Other Short Stories (2006), The Hole in Sleep (2006), The Lita Conversation (2006) and The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2006). His poem, “Sweet Annie Divine,” was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written “Gitarzan.” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband. He can be found at www.coreymesler.com.

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