Slash Plays the Intro to “Welcome to the Jungle”
It goes like this, goes like a spider loping
after every skitter, weep, and shriek.
Goes like a machete scraped on asphalt.
It doesn’t matter where I am—
each sidewalk the same under these boots,
the city rasps its way into my nose,
machines into the cigarettes that consume me.
Each smoky kiss proves I belong
where no one knows my name.
You know where you are. The rhythm
is gossamer, silk, noose. I don’t know
the last time I heard a lullaby.
Prayer to Saint Slash of the Splintered Axe
we believe in the unholy
wholeness of songs
squawks & feathers
spread across lawns & hearts
vibrating mad inside our mouths—
our rib cages
we don’t believe in destroying
anything worth destroying
but saving all that blooms in agony—
in gutters & graveyards
that carnage already gathered
in the mangled grill of a Camaro—
anyone can break anything
where the wounded gather
we shatter what we shatter
against knuckle bones against brick
schoolhouses against broken teeth—
because if there is no safe place
in flocks to be mended
to be broken together— all of us—
there can never be a good time
to smash a guitar
with our bestial grief
with our necessary greed
with costumed fury laced
with kerosene & hunger for tribute—
calling for the ghosts
unless a man can grip
the world with both hands for elegy—
there can be no comfort
for abandoned spirits
in songs about heartbreak
to break us all
into shard & smithereen—
listen for every guitar chord
to come home to roost
each trainwreck its own love song
each splinter its own whole thing
ready for new demolition
Slash Has Food Poisoning
Stomach / body / heart / every song
a prayer for a quicker death than this.
The man you were at dinner
does not care about you.
Bad gravy / tainted sushi / midnight tacos /
nothing between you and the mosh pit
but a wisp of smog and a guitar solo.
Every girl curls her lip, waves
a middle finger: young love.
The man you were at dinner
wears his greed like a leather trench coat.
Every song races toward its last note,
every echo leaves a man with more desire
than any body can contain. Sometimes
a man plays the hero, gets the girl.
Sometimes he settles
for a roiling gut / the kiss
of a toilet / porcelain against skin.
W. Todd Kaneko is the author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor 2014), This is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence 2018), and co-author of Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic 2018). A Kundiman fellow, he is co-editor of the online literary journal Waxwing and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches creative writing at Grand Valley State University.
Amorak Huey, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, is author of the poetry collections Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank Books, 2018), Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming 2019), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University.
Artwork by: Ken Walton