May 14

oedipus / body imaginings

By Cliff Lynn


I could never be sure but I grew up
with an idea that the woman who
raised me wasn’t my biological mother
I always wondered whether she knew

father was aware, though—the way
he studied me over the morning
newspaper like I was the ingredients
label on a can of some strange soup.

body imaginings

I am a man with the sculpted physique of a minor greek god
trapped in a fat man’s body

in 2009 I was a much sadder thinner man with a jollier fat man inside
waiting impatiently to emerge
earlier still I was a man of moderate build, 53% water
squirreled away in the body of an obese man composed of 47% water

a werewolf travelling in sailor’s clothing,
I was an enlisted man with a tattoo of a large-breasted mermaid
perched upon a fouled anchor
trapped in the body of a enlisted man without a single tattoo

a teetotaler stuck in the ruinous mind of the town drunk
a summa cum laude scholar trapped in the body of a college dropout

at one point in time, I was the picture of health
hidden in a teen patient with a murder-minded appendix

in the 60s, a 7-year old trapped in the body of a boy of 6 and ¾ years

in a previous life, I found myself the son of a ventriloquist’s dummy
trapped in the body of the grandson of a ventriloquist’s dummy

in a previous life, I was a stereotypical asshat-of-a-poet
wedged into the body of a cornstalk-thin hint of a man
trapped in a fat man’s body.

swallowtail on dill

cropped-dots_for_kabik.pngLike most poets of his generation, award-winning poet Cliff Lynn was rejected from the Gong Show as a youth.  More than fifty of Cliff’s poems and short stories have found publication in small-press journals, both print and on-line. When in town and not wearing his shoes made of fish, Cliff co-hosts two reading series in Annapolis, MD.  Tuscarora High School (Frederick, MD)’s Poet Laureate, Cliff has visited several elementary, middle and high schools and community colleges (by invitation) to discuss poetry.  Cliff participated in a Literary Death Match in 2010, and encourages us all to do the same. 

Art by Michelle Johnsen, Swallowtail on Dill