/m frederick

Watching Nirvana While Sick in Bed

There you were then,
in a haze of electric magenta,
that gritty wail slamming
suburban apathy
and your own despair.
Back then I was a teen,
and I hated us all,
long ago, long ago…

Here I am now,
horizontal, half-asleep,
moored in an all-pervasive fog
I never predicted
in my upright, driven days.

Back then, I thought work
meant salvation, and I
would never drink, do drugs,
or get an STD.

Here you are, too,
long gone, resurrected
by the light from my handheld
screen, music like a sine-wave pulse
from a life I never had

until now. Rage is the ostinato
of the chronically ill.
I’ll lose the next two days
to pointless exhaustion,
but never mind, nevermind…


Spring Dance

Rock and roll, babycakes.
Get those hips swinging.
There will never be another time
when your body is so flexible
your arteries so slick,
your synapses so fiery,
brain matter soaked in natural serotonin.

You will never reach up
and feel the hot breath of God
like now.

Let that bass line thump
in your rib cage.
Your body is a resonance chamber,
deep and empty
like a tongueless bell.

No buildup of chemicals
clog your cells, no detritus
of civilizations, no molecules
ready to mutate—
they’re all still working
according to that first function
that loses its purpose
after multiple generations.

Divide, divide, divide.
Who wants to keep up
with all that production?
Somebody’s gonna wanna veer
into new forms, dysfunctional forms,
and take the body with it.

So pump those fists
like you mean it.
for the world is young.

Let me stroke your cheek,
sugar blossom,
and leave my stratum corneum
smeared on your lips.


The Myth of Particulars

A princess eats a porcelain ocean,
and the crumbs drift down her chin.

Too true, say the planets
watching as dust spins

into black holes and red giants,
galaxies whirled, rolled, pinched.

 Too true, say the coquina clams,
a stratum of tiny pastel teeth

burrowing for cover as each wave
drags its hem along the Jersey shore.

Source: @MagicRealismBot: “A princess eats a porcelain ocean.” 14 June 2016.


Melissa Frederick is a writer and freelance medical editor from suburban Philadelphia. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, including The L.A. Times, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Mid-American Review, Moon City Review, Oxford Poetry, and Heron Tree. Her poetry chapbook, She, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Follow her on Twitter at @msficklereader.