Artist Spotlight: Andrew Wetmore

As part of our Lost in Time series, we present you with an Artist Spotlight on Andrew Wetmore. Andrew Wetmore is a poet and musician located in Anaheim, California. His work has appeared in City Brink, Pink Attic Review, and Vagabond City. Below you’ll find two of Andrew’s poems, very different in subject, but with similar detached yet anxious tones.

Cancer 2

We laid on our backs and pulled shapes from the sky
like reading the letters out of porno magazines.
You had your vaccinations and went to Sunday school every Sunday.
I memorized the catechism then realized I was witnessing an execution.
Now when I walk down the street
widows throw signs warding against the evil eye.

You counted stars
I counted generations saying,
“He begat he, who begat he, who begat he,”
until my teeth fell out
and my tongue was parched
and the flag flew for me at half-mast.
I have seen an oceans bottom
but you took your foot from my head and let me up for air
begging off early complaining
of leg cramps.

This is the moment
before the antacids kick in and you
can smile for the first time all day.
No one here is an athlete or pregnant with your son
and I am sitting behind you
eyes ahead.
Until I see someone who shares my features
and I sit up a little straighter.

You walk in spaces where no one collides
looking at heaven sent in minimum wage
a double chin rendered on your sleeping face.
I do not believe in revenge.

Do you see the men in line?
Each one is only passing their days until they get cancer.
Every year more cancer.
Soon even malignancy will be usual and benign.

Once a month they sell holy relics
and burn the pulpits,
drunk on the fumes of
smoldering onion skins.
Our guest speaker took one look at this crowd
and shot herself with a flare gun.
We hid her in the attic behind
overhead projectors
that haven’t been used since the Reagan era.

Please stop whispering into the telephone.
The currents make the stoplights sway.
Skyscrapers are merely headstones
for every avenue that leads to them.
Post office boxes mausoleums.
This is a sign of something better
like a meaningful glance in a welfare line.

I’ve worn out my welcome in this motel,
not to be confused with some lost city
found as the combines tear at the asphalt
and the cockroaches find new homes.

The car contracted pneumonia and died.
It’s another night of red wine and vodka.
Yesterday’s blasting caps made it rain
across the block and,
holding up newspapers in their defense,
young mothers rush under awnings.

There is a murder daily at the bus stop next to the surgical supply store.
That is where I catch the bus
northbound.
Yes, I am nervous.

The killer hung himself in the basement of his mother’s house
after casting with tea leaves.
I saw water being born
though no one calls it by it’s given name.
Show me the charm against the changing of the guards,
the one that wards off cancer.

The ocean is in a paper cup held
by an eccentric in the basking glow
of headlights.
And if I draw myself older
with my shirt buttoned wrong, would you still notice the cancer?


Clara Barton Tends the Wounded

Clara Barton tends the wounded
on my television screen.
Her hair is dark,
but everything is either light or dark
or somewhere in between
when shown in black and white.

Bonaparte’s Retreat plays now
while someone with a Southern accent
describes, not history, but a version I should know.

The man’s face in agony,
the cords in his neck straining,
his proud uniform stained with a blood
that is never red,
just a dark spot of black on gray.

And Barton is an angel
her hands as slender as a pianists’
blotting the man’s forehead with a rag
from a porcelain bowl
the water a dark gray,
it has been much used,
the tent is shaded
and the background sounds are not real

Slow pan out.
The picture fades
and the screen is black,
a true black,
the well rosined violin
playing through this pause
holds its note longer.

This is about time,
for time is black,
a true black,
as we all know.
The program returns.
Clara Barton tends the wounded
forever still.


See more of Andrew’s writing, or check out his music.

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