Of Naïve and Sentimental Poetry

by Will Cordeiro

What do they call that little flap of skin
that inflates beneath the throat
of a bullfrog?
It’s the puffing up that makes their croaking. The thought,
unthinkable, of one’s own death
is a morose slog of flimflam, the existential limit-
case, enabling both our ecstatic afflatus and verbose
flatulence. Around here, your status is determined
by how much you shake it on the dancefloor, with a point
deduction system for insufficient mojo. There is nothing
to discern as you approach the event
horizon. Once, long ago, in a dentist’s office,
I read a gardening magazine, which described the blossoms
of sweetpeas as “tiny laughing fishheads.” Whoever said that
deserves some praise.

It’s so hot today
I trot about my apartment in my underwear.
I’m sad. I’m sad because
I’m happy and don’t have anyone to share it with.

Amid the pesticides’ deflowering, a wasp
skittishly back-pedals over lacework of leaf and shade, tipsily
engaged with a feathery wishing-star, as both are hovering
above an ant parade. The flesh-tones of the wilting petals
look like rinky-dink glasses of pink lemonade, almost indistinguishable
from babies’ bottoms. At six a.m. the sun is the faded yellow
of junkyard school buses. I get up about then—
lank streaks of mauve where night has sunk—to make flap-
jacks: I beat the batter, mix and pour, their sfumato giving way
to an oh-so-slightly charred black crisp around the rims.
The local honey mixed with homemade jam
has a soupçon of acidic tang. But I long for the zest of a tart
clementine wedge tucked in between my ex’s up-
turned butt-cheeks, just puckered and a-twinkling
as he stretches out, all pillowed on his plump, plush bed,
like the little princess that he is.

But, bless you, darling, maybe you have a better recipe?

[Will Cordeiro has work appearing or forthcoming in AGNIBennington Review, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Will coedits Eggtooth Editions and won the 2019 Able Muse Book Award for Trap Street. Will is also co-author of Experimental Writing: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology, forthcoming from Bloomsbury. Currently, Will lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.]