Less Mall Flowers

To go back there, alien
again in the arcades–dark,
the low smoke lit by lighted screens
as we, black-eyed, watched
them drift away: girls
with older boys who held
or rode them in Firebirds–
is to forget: we longed.

Still, it’s hell to descend.
If pushed or squeamish,
know this: come also boredom–speak,
yawn-creation and swallow. Time
undermines beast and belly,
flamboyant least.

the years pass
in snatch, in bits
and such, profligate,
poor. Tell who can.
Late or never bloom
ideas in Autumn, already.

Fouler, uglier
habits return, zoo-squalid,
crawling & howl: my old twin–
bummed cigs and all
dregs of adolescence.

Their makeup burned
the edges of sleep

trainer bra, braceface

their strong adult teeth.


Peter Ramos’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Puerto del Sol, Painted Bride Quarterly, Verse, Fugue, Indiana Review, Mississippi Review (online), and other journals. He is the author of one book of poetry, Please Do Not Feed the Ghost (BlazeVox Books, 2008) and three shorter collections of verse: Television Snow (Back Pages Books, 2014), Watching Late-Night Hitchcock & Other Poems (handwritten press 2004), and Short Waves (White Eagle Coffee Store Press 2003). His criticism has appeared in MELUS, College Literature, The Faulkner Journal, The CEA Critic, Mandorla, Verse, Pleiades, and Poetry Daily. An associate professor of English at Buffalo State, Peter teaches courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature.