Juliet Cook


Silly muffin-like thing
floating in a fizzy fissure.

Oddly fluffy little pink anomaly
sometimes has no ears, but still hears
through some manner of clandestine absorption.
A listening device a tiny warped sponge
implanted in the bottom of a silver foil
Baking and Party Cup w/ ruffled edges.
Impregnation by tainted sugar.

Inside a misshapen speech bubble,
toothsome words are birthed.
Incubate, overheat, burst. A spatter of
bloody latex, enamel, nougat, & nerves.

Through some style of self-referential abortion,
she evacuates doomish candy shapes. Inklings.

That's not a piñata she's beating
her own head against a doll house
door. A small demolition crew scuttles out
of a miniature bed; starts pulling her hair so hard,
her head flies off & lands in the cake pan.

That's not a piranha it's one of her
stanzas with gills glued on & heaving.

The spiky bite of a hellgrammite on its back
in heavy cream, swerving
like a possessed planchette.

The crescendo of sickly sweet stench
rising up from a pale blue fetal pig
it is time to dissect right now.



What if when I call to tell her
she didn't get the job, she asks why
and I accidentally spill the truth—
I had a vendetta against her flesh-tone nylons
and matching suit (a corporate blue skirt & blazer number)
because a few years ago, a different woman wearing the same outfit
had a vendetta against my lip ring and I didn't get the job.
Truth be told, that happened a few times and I guess I started suspecting
those who wear blazers and pumps must be somehow interchangeable.
Of course, that's more or less ridiculous. I'm not interchangeable with
everyone else adorned by body jewelry. Like those taut-torso girls
who get their bellybuttons pierced might as well be sorority chicks.
How about those tricky dicks with barbells all the way up the shaft?
I'd love to see them whip it out in front of all the Christian moms
who look down on me for mutilating my temple.
They really shouldn't talk since they're morbidly obese
cows who can hardly even make their calves fit
into the queen-sized sheaths of those cheap
flesh-tone nylons from mass-produced plastic eggs.
Maybe God's special plan involves them
buying Thighmasters. Maybe my low-rider attire
isn't half as undesirable as their plodding
cluck cluck moo moo delivery. Besotted
by one of my more violent fantasies, I watch
their numchucked muumuued udders burst
like water balloons finally freed from dusty barn rafters.
She pronounced condescendingly, 'You can make holes in your body,
but only Jesus can fill the hole in your heart.'
He was wearing his sweaty purple gym shorts in public
when he fixed that teenage girl with his derisive glare and declared,  
'The nail that stands out should be hammered back into place.'
She had a DIY goth/punk aesthetic, a little clichéd, but a creative attempt
to separate herself from the suburban doll injection mold of her reality.
Maybe he should have painted his nails bright purple
if he was so intent on matching. Maybe if she wanted the job,
she should have Googled me and discovered that I prefer knee socks.
She handed me her resume, but all I could see were those legs;
their die cast sheen an insidious symbol of her fake golden brown proclivities;
her mute conformity. His casual cruelty as if teenage eyeliner was such a threat.
Of course, she wasn't really mute. Her gingerbread girl lips were moving,
but all I could hear was that uniformed bus driver who gestured crudely
towards my lip and asked, 'What is that, your hook?'
All I could think was too bad those flesh-tone nylons
don't breed the flesh-eating disease.



Glinting with tiny razor blades instead of almond slivers.

Squinting with burnt lima bean eyes from dust bunny heads.
Another cracked baking dish, another mushy brown apple
splat against the wall. Unpainted Still Life of Stagnant Mop
and Bent Broom Bristles, you think as you scrape your crummy casserole
down the garbage disposal. He's snoring, probably dreaming of someone
more gourmet and less frumpy. You wonder when

you turned into one of those interchangeable matrons
in a cleaning product commercial. Shapeless hair, dowdy underwear,
a plugged-in plastic air freshener discharging its automated spurts
of generic perfume. Maybe your scent is Stale Circus Peanuts
on a Bed of Wilted Bok Choy. Or Sweet & Sour
Apple Dumpling Gone Rotten, Gone Wormy.

The only reason you're not putrefying on a bland backdrop
of beige linoleum is because this batch of maggots was cooked to death
like a tired mound of pasty spaghetti with no sauce. Pallid leftovers.
From the top shelf, the party cheese ball mocks you. Perfectly-shaped
and about the size of a silicone implant, you think. Bedecked with those
tiny razor blades. It would spread so sweetly...

You want to melt it down, pour it on top the glutinous noodles.
You want to force feed it into the trash compactor, but that metallic clamor
might wake him and he doesn't see you that way. As a mutineer.
As a woman who could star in a commercial for tight jeans. He doesn't see
your eyes sting as you sweep away debris like soggy Lucky Charms
and dull elbow macaroni. When it is lodged deep in your throat,

he has no idea just how sharp a party cheese ball can be.



The chandelier won't stop glittering,
drawing my eyes to the way
hooks dangle from the archway.

Your sugar hurts my teeth,
gets inside my eyes, scratches the lenses.
Your sugar hurts my ears.

Sometimes sounds like:
-soft thump, rabbit ears in a wet cave
-bristling hypnosis, the sway of sea cucumbers

suddenly turns hot pink, throbs
on & off like sputtering neon   a tubular passageway
infested with worms   rotten teeth.

Your sugar is molded into a won't stop glittering
piñata I can't stop biting into in my (or is it your?) dreams.
What pours out isn't candy isn't candy at all.

Looks like you hooked another one.   Thought she was so deep,
but her eyes are all fucked up
or is she eyeless?   Or was she hurt in the sugary sea?

What pours out is wormy and rotten
(or is it your sweet) teeth?   Penises dangle
from the archway.   Rabbits drown in caves.




Stop courting the plastic domain of coyly
contained parakeets. Nervous squeaks are not love bites
when what you really crave is shrieks. Something unconstrained
only fleetingly tamed. Beautiful predation. Shifting feathers
of albino barn owl as it eats out of your open hand,
then flies away.


But actually more unnatural.
Maybe with an owl's eyes,
but also with a pink pod pried open.
A whole row of pink pods pried open.
Maybe they were planted. Maybe installed.
Maybe prey that fell in that formation.


Not the kind of unnatural like a tiny captive beak
dinging a tinny toy bell. That thing couldn't control its clipped wings.
More the kind of unnatural like a gaping maw
of red-orange horror-cake.
A whole row of silver silos filled
to the brim with baby teeth
and you falling (and you balanced on the brink,
then deliberately plunging like a wingless raptor)
in love with the blood-sticky chafe.


You wanted to compliment the albino girl's red eyes,
then decided she might be too self-conscious,
so instead you just talked about whatever
was appropriate to talk about. Fake cake.
You're sick of your gimmicky chatter.
You'd rather wrench out your tongue,
briefly display on trendy soap dish,
then lather it up.
You'd rather red foam.
You'd rather papillae froth.
You'd rather lure that albino to the brink
and make her look in. Those aren't sugar cubes, little girl.
You're not a pet bird.






SELF PORTRAIT AS A SEMI-AMORPHOUS ENTITY is a personal favorite, but had previously been rejected by six different magazines, so I was starting to think that nobody could relate to my personal tastes. It really is a self-portrait of sorts and I even worked in an indirect reference to my blog, CandyDishDoom.

THE MALE GAZE and BEFORE THEY GAPED, THEY WERE ROSES ON FAKE CAKE have never been rejected. They are pretty new and were written whilst reading Arielle Greenberg's poetry collection, Given, which very well may have influenced my style in some way. I started writing THE MALE GAZE while sitting in the living room of a friend's house; he literally did have hooks dangling from the archway. About “FLESH TONE NYLONS, I really do despise them in particular and dress codes in general. I dislike the idea of people being judged based on what they're wearing, but ironically I judge people that way, too, in my own way, so I guess I'm either overcompensating or hypocritical.

About ‘THE PARTY CHEESE BALL MOCKS YOU: I can't recall exactly how that one germinated, but I can admit that I think cheese balls are inherently amusing and for years now I've harbored this odd little fantasy about having a cheese ball on stage with me as I performed a poetry reading and directing my reading towards the cheese ball rather than the audience. Or perhaps the audience WOULD be cheese balls, impassively regarding me from the red velvet of old school theater style seats. Perhaps in an effort to get my point across to row after row of silent and expressionless cheese balls, I'd start yelling at them as if they were very bad pets. I'd start threatening to melt them down and dip cheap roller skating rink nachos into them if they thought they were so high & mighty, the cheesy little finks.