Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Two New Poems by Chris Crittenden.


Corroded Coin


slathered in verdigris
it falters,
once presidential
now culpable,
fleck of discarded purchase,
Dorian Gray eyes-

a picayune caesar,
slappable on a face in a grave,
final payment
to the petty, taxing judge;
this bulls-eye of vanity
and spendthrift zeal;
this scale from the snake
of human avarice,
noosing stressful breaths-
a city's cheap wheezy lungs.

this dead period mark
among profitable babble;
BB of lost faith
in a city of snapped wings.
alloyed queens with facelifts
over the neck-bent toil
of the drudge.



Church Memory


people like llamas,
unseen from the neck down,
taut in the stanchion of the pews.
slaughter animals,
like the man nailed to the boards above us,
the lurk of torture
in the vaults and groins,
the sword-and-angel frescoes.

the blood-red chasuble
dominating the priest's white,
like a silk leech on the scruff.
the fang-sharp latin.
the bloodlessness
of the choirboys' pose.
our chants guttural, lumpy,
and numb.

women with thick perfume
baring pearled necks,
obedient and filleted in pink dresses.
men in basalt wool
with lava streaming down
their patriarchal throats.
our collective penitence
mute and sad.
then ardent and fake.
each of us alone with our lies
as we ate that great preposterous unmentionable


Chris Crittenden teaches environmental ethics for the University of Maine. Much of his writing is done in a hut in a remote spruce forest. He's obsessed with poetry as a conduit to meaning and painful prophesy, and has about four hundred poems published. A featured review of his work appears in the current issue of Arsenic Lobster (20). He has been blogging lately as the mordant avatar Owl Who Laughs.

His work appeared in Offcourse Issue #29, Three Poems, in Issue #31, Poems and in Issue #34, Three Poems




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