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4 Poems by Kyle Hemmings

Invisible Monkeys #3
Her inside monkeys keep gnawing at her bones, but she conceals the pain w/ whitewashed toothy smiles. In timed quickies between falling rabbits from mine blasts, she shows you her past wounds: spider scars, bruises over liver, soft spot of swollen lymph nodes, old impression of shark’s teeth, the trademark vampire stutter—-she can bleed in three colors of ink. She tells you her dreams about crazy horses. Her eyes are dung-colored. You could bury yourself in mounds of mulch & no one would miss you. They’d even start a fire. After she dumps you for another man hung upside down in closets, or reborn from toxic CO levels, you roll endlessly from one-way affairs to threesomes a la carte, sink your teeth deep into the flesh of unknowable women, devise a thousand ways to make your little-boy heart stop.
Invisible Monkeys #7
You find a freak monkey at the side of a road at the rim of a forest. You can tell it’s female by the eyes & the way she bleeds runny reflections of trees. You take her home & lock her in a room where you grew up with lemur trembling & slights. Your older sister won’t notice because she’s mostly dead anyway, a perfect poltergeist when the windows leak. One day, you walk into the designated room to feed your freak monkey. She’s not there. Before you sits a little girl pretending to pour tea into three miniature porcelain cups. In fact, she looks like you at that age. Or. . .You ask What happened to the monkey? She replies without looking up. What happened to you? she says. You sit down & drink some invisible tea because really—-there is nothing more to do & courtesy always pays small but important rewards.
Invisible Monkeys #9
You’re the head psychiatrist in a large university hospital. You’ve been handed the most challenging case of your career. A woman claims she’s being ravaged at night by her interior monkeys. She can’t hold a job or a relationship. Immediately you start her on a regimen of anti-malarial pills, meds for various forms of jungle sickness, order a series of brain MRIs. On the latest EEG tracings, you notice queer spikes from a well of sleep. In her drawings, she sketches monkeys in various postures of denial. She asks if you want to hear a good joke: Q. Why are pets not allowed in department stores? A. Because they can see through every shopper’s motive. You force a laugh. She fakes marsupial happiness/hides green monkey despair. One morning, a nurse rushes into your office. “Dr.,” she says, “we found Miss M hanging from the ceiling by three tethered monkey tails.” You know someone is sending you a message. At home, you turn on the lights, check to see that the cats are alright.
Invisible Monkeys #12
At the pinnacle of her fame, Ginger Rogers danced her way out of the big screen, causing a gaping hole in the lives of movie goers. Fred Astaire refused to tap on wet streets. Fear of slippage everywhere, rampant like social disease, like starved monkeys in the attic. Mothers grew afraid that children might fall from windows. Everybody back then owned a big red dog that could snoop out former Nazis on the mainland. The president choked on illicit love letters written in soyez libre from ladies of the Resistance. In a banned movie, Lauren Bacall tells Humphrey Bogart that We Won. Bogart replies, We Won What?
Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He has been published in Wigleaf, Storyglossia, Elimae, Match Book, This Zine Will Save Your Life, and other zines. Kyle lives and writes in New Jersey.