from Opera Fever 

I don't go around popping balloons with my cigarette...

I like to look at you through my drink...

I never wrote anything on a mirror with lipstick..

I sat at my abandoned poetry booth...

While autumn burned down like scenery..

And it was a song but it was a barricaded door..

Or merely another vanilla rolls royce...

Maybe it was my weariness..

with an enormous nuance..

When the last note broke like an ampoule..


You were seduced by a man in pastel suits..

Don't make me go through it again..

Is the zipper on the back or the side...

You were so depressed with your fists clenched...

They drove you away in a little minibus...

Don't drown in the fountain in your nightgown!

Under the candy green moonlight

You were meant to be stabbed during a minuet...

Darling, tell me about my wretchedness..

And I'll tear off one of your military buttons while I kiss you..


Now you have to be plied with drugged gumdrops

And wait for the music to fade in like an anesthetic...

It's going to hurt, darling!

Darling, the feeling of being cut from your shell..

I shall have to limp to the bar cart...

This is when you match your lipstick to your uniform..

It was a romantic kiss up against the vending machine..

One of us was bad but the other was too.

It was like dying in a bridesmaid dress...

There was a special pink dumpster for poems


There was a lot of atmospheric loneliness and drones..

And a hanging bridge between our bedrooms...

Sometimes you need that kind of cushion..

When curtains open and close by themselves

Or a revolver wrapped in a foulard..

It was like having a drink in front of you for hours

It made the sequins blur..

What makes a person lonely?

A statue with closed eyes..

Or a hairstyle with diamonds in it...


Darling, the gloominess of love is ours..

And it's a very mere burned underside...

Now do we sleep with each other or put on chenille robes and go to pieces?

I hope to destroy you with a poem

But what kind of gentle doom is it..

He had the same eyes as everybody..

And a lot of trashy rain..

And a dress scraped off like a glaze...

Now, I see it's a sort of silver wallpaper with seams...

So, we drank it out of parfait glasses...


I’m sorry I set the checkerboard on fire

I'm a bit sorrier than I thought I'd be...

Now get me my cigar..

And why shouldn’t I love a man in harlequin tights?

All you ever gave me was handfuls of money...

It was a friendly kiss wasn't it?

Darling, it was the two tone sunset..

It was like I suddenly discovered you had a bullet wound.

Should I waste it all on a poem?

The burning yachts of my egotism...

Chelsey Minnis

Chelsey Minnis (she/her) lives in Boulder, Colorado and has an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her books of poetry include “Baby, I Don’t Care” (Wave Press), “Poemland” (Wave Press), “Bad Bad (FENCE) and “Zirconia” (FENCE). She also writes screenplays (dark comedy, light horror, opera biopic) under the name “Merrit Schmidt” and was recently the Grand Prize Winner of the 2023 Hollywood Table Read My Screenplay Competition for her dark comedy screenplay “Suicide at Noon”.