"Skin," "Maybe The Future," and "Priorities"


Skin the color of your first car.
Skin the color of that back door clinic.
Skin the color of your mother’s eyes.
   Like a lost record album pulled out
Of the bargain bin that plays slow and you’re embarrassed,
To admit you dig this schmaltz on scratchy nights alone.
   Skin the color of currency and blind ambition.
   White blood cells thrive in arguments.
Skin the color of wanting and waiting and waiting.
   A depiction without shape,
   Not made of solid things.
Skin the color of all your father’s intentions.
Skin the color of all your failed achievements.
   Skin the color of at least one miracle.
   Skin the color of straight vodka.
Throb of heart-meat and hormones,
Disposable income.
   Skin the right color to paint the garage.
   Skin the color of that new mole
On the back of the left thigh,
Sunburnt from a summer on the beach.
   Shirtless and greasy skin,
   Cheeseburgers and box wine.
Smoking weed and sneezing and tying shoelaces,
   Scraping knees on the pavement,
   Picking up the pharmacy prescription.
Skin and all your nail-bitten narratives.
Nothing deeper than blood from broken skin.



Maybe The Future

Thunder of a stadium
Crowd. Tiger on the bedpost
With a thorn in its paw. 
The future is indicting
The present for embezzlement. 
Life has become a theoretical
     Science equation,
Spit and mud and teeth,
Everyone making noise and not
Listening. Maybe
The future is already terrified
Of its own authoritarian
Impulse. Stories told of grifters,
Con artists, self-anointed
Cowboy-saviors loitering
In deserted parking lots, cooking
Lizards over makeshift
Campfires, ass-pockets full of
Excuses, folksongs, elixirs.
Maybe, without prescription,
     The future could be
A wished upon dreamscape
Of togetherness, minus the existential
Drama. Less of a comedic
Horror show, shapeshifting zombies
In velour tracksuits, gold chains.
Doctrinaire and delusional, everywhere
Cough up plots for a new
Dawn. Maybe the future will be less
     Fascist, squealing out
For vengeance, yet positively
Mortified at the sight of any blood
Spilt on its behalf.




Don’t be a machine.
Jonesing for a nonlinear
Excursion of non-stereotypical
Warm lips or hot lead.
Lookin’ for action, not attention,  
Reality, not its nemesis.
Machines have no soul, no depth.
Wannabe hippy psychonauts teaching
How-to seminars on
Surrealist-noir gardening techniques
Could not convince a machine.
Yeah, we are all tired of stealing shoes from
Bowling alleys and
Doing donuts in the parking lot of another
Amazon Distribution Center.
So, what? Get up out of the cubicle,
Wipe the sleep-seed out 
Of another brave trooper.
Having no skin in the game,
Machines will not save the world.
Drafting, deleting, coughing, seething
Scratching, guzzling,
Inhaling, breathing, teething.
Souls lost in suspended animation,
Bellies and arms, mothwings,
Entangled wire, black-liquid elixirs.
Point is, we all must try.



Chris D’Errico is a visual artist, musician and writer who lives and works the nightshift as an exterminator in Las Vegas, Nevada. His poems and visual art have appeared in various analog and digital mediums for the past 20+ years. The social media he allows to rob his soul and twist his mind these days is Instagram: @christopherlouisderrico.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, August 21, 2023 - 11:17