Abbreviate Journal

John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone

Alice was chasing white rabbits out of a black hole darker than Kentucky nights when it exploded everywhere at the same time. Heaven inflated hot with light, and she rode a gamma ray stretching all the way into radio just to whisper static into the statuesque antenna—a giant horn—listening for secrets from the edge of the invisible universe. At a Waffle House, Alice Simply Wanted Grits in a bowl—hot! Dogs hissed outside; cats barked about who had prayed everything upside down to become normal again. Outside-cats barked about like drunken cows to become normal. Again it rained milk like drunken cows— now inflated red & white balloons. It rained; milk drenched the queen of hearts now inflated red & white. Balloons burst like rain clouds— drenched the queen of hearts with relish (smothered her). Also she burst.Like rain clouds in a bowl, hotdogs hissed with relish—smothered her also, she who had prayed everything upside down. White Rabbits on the Chessboard On the dinner table in a brewpub before deployment The peppermill—a walnut sculpture, a giant Bishop, a chess pawn—knurled knob on its miter to set coarseness of thoughts before battle. Its sleek wood arcs down the lateral spindle smooth as a snake and the base is firmly planted on sod of paper napkining the board. Ridged grooves, concentric about its crown. What crown? This is no longer a priest. A battle helmet then. King’s pawn mounting some Sicilian gambit. Is he a hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice’s Wonderland? I don’t know; I don’t think so. It faces a glass— a Rook, a Knight?—full of beer, no, just half-full, on its own square. Where the hell is the King hiding? And his Queen? Fallen off the table into a rabbit hole? Where have all the flowers gone? Knight to Queen’s Bishop three, no wait! There’s a pawn there. What can we do? Where can we go? Maybe headless, too. The glass is full again and I am drunk with fear. I hear the second coming of the King, step-by-step, cracking across the rock-laden tiles. There’s a flash of light from the east side of the table. A pawn stands in awe. The Queen has fallen and the sky is citrine gray.


John C. Mannone has over 400 works appearing in avenues such as The Southern Poetry Anthology (Volume VII, NC), Still: The Journal, Town Creek Poetry, Negative Capability, Tupelo Press, The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal and others. Several poetry collections are forthcoming, including, Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing, July 2015) He is the poetry editor for Silver Blade and for the 2015 Hugo-nominated magazine, Abyss & Apex. He won the the 2015 Joy Margrave Award for creative nonfiction. He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. He is a professor of physics in east TN. Visit The Art of Poetry:

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