J. Alan Nelson

I Fall Out Of Your Story

Pablo Picasso enters his blue period
when his best friend stands from his plate
in the middle of a Paris café
and shoots himself.
Picasso sleeps with his dead friend’s lover
and paints three years of sapphire anguish.

I know that my best friend acts as my enemy.
My wife is his lover.
My girlfriend conceives four boys.
They think I’m dead,
though I invent new types of crosswords
and try roller skating up stairs.

Whenever I break into their consciousness,
they see a man surrounded by a bluish haze
who looks for his place in this metanarrative.
Not dangerous the label brushes
with a Picassoesque swipe,
a man dead as Picasso’s friend
slumped across the bright café platter.

Tiny Story

Driven into a corner
by smarter and stronger men,
my nose rubbed in failing words,
I reach deep into myself,
come up with nothing.
Jesus is not here to see me
suffering, suffered, suffer
as I sprawl on the ground.

I work as a shoe shine boy,
a janitor, a welder
and a forklift driver.
I sell blood. I wait tables.
I sing songs
how I work on the railroad
as I scrub pots and pans.

Things happen.
I’m hired by an inept news editor.
I’m grateful for his incompetence
and the job.
I feel I stumble
into an abandoned gymnasium
with a basketball.
Not experienced, but new.
I hear about Jesus every Sunday
and most Wednesdays.

I become confident.
The trap springs.
I’m in the Valley of the Moon,
the wine-producing region.
I think I’m foolproof.
Foolish dream.
I break
not by intellectual pressure
but a simple market shift.
I’m one of the poor
floating in a strange sea,
an easy mark
for your worthless crap.

J. ALAN NELSON is a writer and actor. He has poetry and stories published or forthcoming in journals such as the New York Quarterly,  Acumen, Main Street Rag, Red Cedar Review, and Stand. He played the lead in the viral video “Does This Cake Make Me Look Gay?” and the verbose “Silent Al” in the Emmy-winning SXSWestworld.

More by J. Alan Nelson:

Poem in NYQ Magazine
Poem in Kairos Literary Magazine
The author’s IMDB page
Follow J. Alan Nelson on Twitter @7AlanNelson