Adelaide Magazine No15




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ADELAIDE Independent Monthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Mensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 




 

 



 

 

 

 

 

MERCHANDISING
by Debra Brenegan 

 

 

 

Merchandising

I hate the decay masterminded by marketers
the blue sweater worse than the gray one, the pills, snags, holes
with barely a wearing
Next the washing machine can conk out mid-cycle
all dazzling rinses and planned obsolescence
and the new shoes can pinch with little pricks
between and through the cheap socks
Then the capitalists will dress up another American myth
while the top dogs earn their crazy salaries some more
and the earth will slow its steady spin and stumble
minutely
shabby and muted
like the rest of us


 

 

 

Burn Out

Our bodies tremble, eyes burn, begging for
sleep, a hunger thirst hunger for
leisure and peace
If the lists could multiply invisibly for a while
with inaction and forced compilation
and the heroic juggling could halt mid-circle
amid the crash of broken crockery
then our eyes might roll back and stop their dry twitching
and our breathing might calm these stretched nerves
and the work would begin to soothe our
shaken psyches, to the chagrin of
overseers, starved themselves


 

 

 

Sick Day

I recognize an illness tainting blood and breath
the bark worse than the bite, through the joy sweet bliss
of a day in bed
Now the cat can sleep undisturbed for hours
around and between my ankles
while the computer belches and phone bleeps
all urgency and flashy come-ons
Then the white blood cells will commence their vital
war, destroying membranes and compromised nuclei
And time is lost forever from the plague
of obligatory masochism
as I sink down the wormhole, finally taking care


 

 

 

Trauma

I fear the pain crawling out from my bones, the memory
as bad as the incident, the ache raw ache
these muscles clenched
Now the acupuncturist can stab her tiny needles
while the herbologist mixes me a bitter toddy
and the pills can release their numbing magic
so the shards around my spine smother
quiet for a while
Then my jaw unlocks and fists uncurl between and
around this shallow breathing
and for a moment I blink back tears as the clouds float soft
behind the trees


 

 

 

 

Real Family

We hear your judgment coiling through the speaker phone
the meaning worse than the words, the dream crack dream
our mirror has shattered
Next the airplanes can rest a while in light
of your absence and selfish vision
and our daughter can sit with a lonely look
around and between the family tables
While the real cousins mingle at another white holiday
the other family eats their fragrant dinner in exile
until the little ones stare down your frightened eyes
to chip, bit by bit, your granite heart
of senselessness

 

 

 

About the Author:

Debra B.

Debra Brenegan has a Ph.D. in creative writing from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is an English Professor at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has received a Ragdale residency, and was a recent finalist for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Short Story prize, the Snake Nation Press’s Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for a short-story collection, the John Gardner Memorial Fiction Prize, the Cincinnati Review’s Schiff Prose Prize, and the Crab Creek Review Fiction Prize. Her poetry and fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and has been published in journals such as Calyx, Tampa Review, Natural Bridge, The Laurel Review, Cimarron Review, Bluestem, Milwaukee Magazine, Phoebe, RE:AL, The Southern Women’s Review, Knee-Jerk, Literary Orphans, and elsewhere. Her novel, Shame the Devil (SUNY Press), about nineteenth-century American journalist and novelist Fanny Fern, was named a finalist for Foreword Reviews 2011 Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction.


 

 

 




 




 

 

 

     
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