“. . . Here is a poet who is considering, in a self-conscious but not self-indulgent way, how to survive in the world–a poet who burns to say something that will resonate with every reader. In the title poem, Kelley writes, ‘I am the flame laid bare by desire. Put fire in my hands.’ How often do any of us find someone so willing to offer himself so freely?”
Published: August 4, 2011 [125 copies]
Collin Kelley is a novelist, poet and playwright from Atlanta, Georgia. His debut novel, Conquering Venus, was released by Vanilla Heart Publishing in 2009 and he is working on a second novel, Remain in Light. His poetry collections include After the Poison, Slow to Burn and Better to Travel, which was nominated for the 2003 Georgia Author of the Year Award and the Lambda Literary Award. His poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world, including Atlanta Review, Chattahoochee Review, Terminus, New Delta Review, Chiron Review, Blue Fifth Review, Ecotone, MiPoesias, Tears in the Fence and many more. His play, The Dark Horse, was the recipient of the 1994 Deep South Festival of Writers’ Award for Best Play from the University of Louisiana and the 1997 Georgia Theatre Conference Award.
Acid Flashback No. 1
The first time I dropped acid,
mistaking a Johnnie Walker Black billboard
for Joanne Whalley-Kilmer straddling a chair
like in the poster for Scandal,
you couldn’t see it, even after we pulled over
on the expressway down near the airport.
How the soft gold of the striding man logo
had morphed into arms and legs akimbo
in the rising heat just before twilight.
I tried to explain Christine Keeler,
how she brought down the British government
with her showgirl appeal, accused
of being a spy, sleeping with the Muscovites,
the intricacies and absurdities of the Profumo Affair,
how sex and friendship can turn on a dime.
You told me I was too old for you, I was a show-off,
ruining your drugs with my ancient history,
the way I lorded my high school education over you.
Your words tipped us into cold war,
smoke-screened the wall you were building all year,
preparing to sacrifice me over the three years
that separated our births, making me a casualty
of your zeitgeist.
John Profumo was the last Secretary of State for War,
a position now made obsolete, struck off,
as if battle plans would never be needed again.