Blackbox Manifold

Issue 11: Andrew Cox

That on Himself such Murd’rous Shame Commits

Shakespeare, sonnet 9

A single missed chance defines the shoes someone wears

A mirror erases the need to carry on a two-way conversation

A juvenile delinquent snatches purses inside the 50 year old man

A chin patch and a too-tight t-shirt do what they can to help

A broken promise joins the others and tells an unfunny joke

A house turned inside out equals bad pictures passed off as art

A breakfast and a few phone calls do not buy a prom dress

A pair of high-top sneakers would tell all if allowed to talk

The ending is uncertain but will no doubt be one of getting even

The message came in garbled and carried with it the unexplained

The mean-spirited nickname suited well and yet still wasn’t enough

The missed chance and the mirror equal a man who drives a toy car   

The nothing that he was is the nothing that he is when he starts to talk

Where I May Not Remove, nor Be Removed

Shakespeare, sonnet 25

He is the one who wanted to remove himself

From the room where to rise is to understand

There is no accounting for the way the window

Only does a half decent job reminding us to look

At what we are missing when we sneeze and how

The turban who lives three houses down is the same

As the facelift two blocks over and the coefficient

Of the chemicals that live in the apartment complex

Begin the important job of thawing the tundra

And as the part stands for the whole the wind

Says the F word and the number eleven

Quits its pouting and decides to pick up its toys

And the one who removed himself feels regret

But has no idea how to reenter the empty room

For Truth Proves Thievish for a Prize so Dear

Shakespeare, sonnet 48

What we wait for comes home with her many faces

And her secrets like fat apples that wait in a bag 

With the promise juice will run down our chin

But we do not understand what happened

Or what we did to make her panic

And pull to the side of the road in dread

And it does not matter our sadness the rocket ship

Blew up in midair making heroes of all it contained

Something she went through the paste called the past

Said in its steady voice nothing will be the same after this

And not twins nor the house suffering from dowdiness

Can make the trajectory of a car on a highway

Take any course but home and what waits there

Us saying I love you and hoping it won’t fall on deaf ears

The Hardest Knife Ill Us’d Doth Lose His Edge

Shakespeare, sonnet 95

I keep erasing the next line because it can’t stop looking at itself

In the mirror and maybe if I got new glasses my edge would stop

Roaming the streets looking for someone who would appreciate

What it hides in its pockets and if I could find a way to stop

Talking to myself in the third person then the wind would find

What I threw in the lake where the fish gorge and can’t stop

Eating each other’s young and if I could just get my edge back

Then the second person and the bowtie it wears would stop

Turning my friends against the beanie and its propeller  

Because no one believes cause and effect will find a way to stop

Its attack on the first person and if I would just learn to quit

Wishing all that noise outside would find a way to stop

So I could get some sleep and get myself back into shape

For the day when this off key singing in my chest will stop

Andrew Cox is the author of The Equation that Explains Everything, (BlazeVOX [Books) 2010), the chapbook, Fortune Cookies (2RIVER VIEW, 2009) and the hypertext chapbook, Company X (Word Virtual). He lives in University City, MO, the Brooklyn of St. Louis, where he edits UCity Review.