Alan Britt

Alien Existence

The garden with its jade muscles,

designer absinthe perfume,

its wild flowers’ purple teeth grinding the outer


of a wire fence,

with its addiction to youth,

its cayenne peppers and lusty eggplants

parading in magenta make-up and morning-glory

torn jeans.

This garden is about to explode!

The chili peppers and yellow tomatoes

alone could spell doom

for thousands now ordering exotic drinks in


Take a moment.

Think about all the crude monarchies

that had progressive intelligence

beheaded or burned at the stake,

then quartered at the bloody seams of


think about ancestors, strangers, lovers,

all those who’ve ushered you

through the doors of alien existence.

Now, how do you really feel about gardens,

seeing as how this one

is only two weeks old?

Alan Britt © 2009

The Cicadas of 2004

You can smell their bodies rotting.

A humid smell

of kitchen garbage about to offend,

inspiring its removal to the 45-gallon plastic garbage can

with a lid that fits

like a fighter pilot’s helmet.

While the odor isn’t overwhelming,

I do check myself.

The pulsating decibels

and layers of cicadas at this moment

resemble metallic rings of color

in a rainbow

still clinging to the ragged, pea-soup shirttail

of an abusive tornado.

There’s this tremendous rattling of beads.

Ten billion rattlesnakes

stirring from hibernation.

The whole thing resembles a universal pulse,

although no such pulse

has ever existed.

Two mockingbirds manage to sneak through their serrated


The occasional oriole sends his quick loop through a brief lull,

but not much else penetrates

this thick living wall

this ecstatic chanting

that first inspired Aztec myths.

And that omnipresent din deep in the background,

the sound of flying saucers

from 1950’s science fiction films,

having appeared docile at first

then advancing

the way rumors of the Mongol hordes

terrorized the sophisticated clergies of 12th Century


But, today, these cicadas, through mythological gills

filter the most beautiful atoms the universe has ever


the atoms of Jesus, Blake, Gandhi, Neruda.

Alan Britt © 2009