by Neil Carpathios Standing next to me in the pew he slipped me a candy root beer barrel to suck during the dull sermon, as if to say thinking about God doesn’t require a lack of all pleasure. Then before the priest finished his endless ranting on heaven and hell, my father sneaked us out the small side door marked Emergency Exit, which this was. He drove us to Mister Donut for cream sticks and cocoa while everyone else sat sweating in the cramped church, force-fed God-this, God-that. What we talked about I don’t remember, but it wasn’t sin or … Continue reading Sweetness


by Neil Carpathios Is each star a hole a soul made going up into heaven?  Are tears the sweat of vision? Is that formaldehyde behind my earlobes or are my nostrils being ornery?  Is God in the mirror, playing hide and seek, holding His breath beneath glass?  Is the razor in the sink dreaming of a wrist? When I open the window do I hear a bone caught in the wind’s throat?  Was that a rescue boat in my father’s pneumonia lungs that was torpedoed when he quivered in his coma at the end?  And those stars— is each the … Continue reading Questions

This Is Not a Poem, Damn It

by Neil Carpathios I swear the sidewalk wants me to write a poem about her; how hard and smooth she is, how wonderfully she provides us with safe footing from point A to point B. At the moment, she is glistening under a streetlight after a long rain, trying to look shimmery, like a woman’s drenched skin stepping seductively from a bathtub, as if I would fall for that trap. She shows me a puddle on which floats a pack of matches like a miniature of Huck Finn’s raft, as if to say: Look at what I contain, see how … Continue reading This Is Not a Poem, Damn It

What Happens Under the Overpass

by Neil Carpathios My friend who lived homeless for a year tells me. You masturbate with your hand or sometimes a cement pillar. You pick lice out of your hair and pretend they’re licetronauts you flick into orbit. You use an empty bottle to shatter the skull of someone who says suck me or else. You urinate and watch the steam cloud mushroom like a ghost. You listen to cars and trucks voom by above you like huge metallic gods. You find a half- eaten Twinkee with ants dotting the cream and you eat it, licking your fingers. You read … Continue reading What Happens Under the Overpass