Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nicky Rainey wants to tell us where Leo is now

So like I was saying, there will be a poetry performance at Mad Art (2727 South 21st St.) at 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 30 to close The Shape of a Man group art show. The event is free and open to the public. Mad Art will run a cash bar.

The performing poets will be K. Curtis Lyle, Stefene Russell, Nicky Rainey and Chris King (that's me), reading in the opposite order of that list. Leading up to the event, I plan to post a little more info about each of the poets, along with one of their more "manly" poems.


Where Leo is now
By Nicky Rainey

As soon as the BP oil spill began, my cousin Leo started finding fishes in his dedicated spaces -- an anemone in the bathroom sink, krill wiggling out of his ear, a baby shark flopping around in his underwear drawer. The dreams were worse. One night he got chased by clansmen through a post-apocalyptic coral reef. The next, eyeless cavefish replaced his teeth. Like many of us, Leo’s nightmares led to insomnia, gluing him to CNN live -- you could see it refracted in his eyeballs during the daytime as he played cards or ate a sandwich. The ticker tape, talking heads, looping stories, the endless ebbing and flowing of black gloss and sea.

On day 43 of the spill, Leo found a handful of oysters in the urinal at work. By 55, kelp fingers untied his shoelaces. Soon, he completely stopped sleeping and the dream animals took over. As the disaster worsened on his television, the wildlife in his reality thickened and buzzed. His house became a clam-shell, a pile of turtle eggs replaced his lover. And so, Leo left. Remembering 1980s images of EarthFirst! teenagers scrubbing herons with toothbrushes, he packed modest supplies and caught a Greyhound bus to Baton Rouge where he's staying by the seashore, calling me on the payphone collect to say, "Tell my boss I'm not coming back, Nicky. My heart is aligned with this filmy tide." I said: "Do you need me to send a tent, baby?" He laughed, asked about our mothers, and hung up to plot his revenge for us all.

(Where Leo is Now was previously published in Bad Shoe Magazine, issue #3).

Nicky Rainey makes zines, writes grants, stories and letters to her pen-pals. She represented St. Louis in the National Poetry Slam 2009. For a copy of her latest zine, "Let's Talk About People," send her an email at


Lead photo of coated gull from TheDailyGreen.


Also in this series:
K. Curtis Lyle's freedom is the Monster Among Us.
Stefene Russell's manly love song

No comments: