5 Poems • Barbra Nightingale

from Alphalexia


Genetically speaking, we’re all over the map,
moving up or down, notch by notch,
one gene at a time, generating myriad codes
from a pool as generative as tadpoles.
We morph from gamete to General,
genus to genius, gullible to galled.
Look at it: complexly figured, all curves and angles.
A geometric anomaly.
Is a glow-worm so different from a grub?
A Guava from a gourd?
Do grudges mutate generationally
(like the Hatfields and McCoys)?
Or do they only gyrate wedges between us?
In the general sense of the world,
our gilded grievances aren’t worth a gigabyte of time.
Time to trade up.


Holy hell, he hiccoughed, how hateful
hypocrites can be, how hermetic
in nature, how homogenously hindsightful.
Take all those beefy rhetoricians, choosing
and changing sides.
Give me a hypothesis, hypothetical
or not, hysterics will be spinning
on saucers in hypnotic trances.
But what the heck.
It’s only politics, you say?


Aye, there’s the rub!
If I am imagined,
What’s there to see?


Jumping Jehosephats, Batman!
Just when I thought this would all be jabberwocky,
J sprang out like a jack-in-the-box unhinged,
grinning like a jack-o-lantern, the Joker
all green and jacked up on some kind of juice.
I’m no Jungian judge of character,
but that jitterbug has one helluva junked out mind.
No telling what turns a Judah jubilant or a Joseph jocular.
Harder to imagine Batman himself
having a jolly old time, dour as he is from hanging
upside down most of his life.
Even our heroes have some sort of jitters.
Watch out for jokes and falling rocks.
Let’s get the jetsam outta here!


K for potassium, my best friend’s name,
for karat, a thousand, ka-ching!
Such a harsh sound in the value of things.
K is iconic: Kindle and killer bees,
Krypton, Kleenex, Captain Kidd.
Did you know there are dozens
of variant spellings for Kaballah?
If you can’t spell it, it has no name,
known only by rumor and mystics
who can conjure empty space,
exotic place names for where
we’ve never been: Klondike, Kyoto, Katmandu.
What is knowledge but the absence of innocence?
The filling of a brain with facts.
Did you know Katzenjammer means hangover
and a kittiwake is a gull, hiding in the cliffs
up north, feeding on a cold, grey sea?
From kitsch to kazoo, our karma is calling.