To the Vault: Poetry by Ace Boggess

By Ace Boggess



Did you poison the soup?
I did not poison the soup.

Did you drug the wine?
I placed no drugs in the wine.

Did you conspire with your lover
to prick my belly as I’m resting in our bed?

I have no lover, &
the assassin was busy

selling his goat to keep
his wife in lavender & beads.


Revenge of the Creature

                                Universal International Pictures, 1955

Gill Man, glorious green seen through the gray of black & white;
Gill Dude; Gill Devil; web-clawed Casanova, wanton, desperate,
pissed off like most lovers lusting after someone else’s girl—
why did they have to take you to Florida? Inter you in the vault
of a theme-park aquarium (salt water, no less)?
Chained to the bottom, jolted, gawked at by your new desire
who wears white bathing suits & flirts in the name of science
(how she brings you take-out, how she tells you Stop, Stop, Stop)
it’s no wonder you’d murder them all: the cocky adventurer,
college guys, the dog, though never her, not even now.
If you’re a monster out on a lark, it’s the girl that gets you.
Your downfall again, you wide-eyed playboy, you’ve been
King-Kong’d, KO’d, cut like a sinister weed, left
doing the dead-man’s-float, or fish-killed, belly up.


Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

                                Hammer Film Productions, 1968

Less than a week since the death of actor Christopher Lee &
here in my living room, I lean back in a chair,
enjoying a marathon of his films

running all day on Turner Classic Movies.
It begins with this second-most-famous rendition of the Count.
Stern, tight-necked & middle-aged,

Lee speaks few lines & wears a costume
pilfered from Lugosi’s coffin,
carries each frame with his presence.

Take the story: Master (monster) resurrected by a priest’s blood,
then butchered in the end by an atheist—
it rolls Stoker’s narrative as if some wino

passed out on a train, empties its pockets, sneaks away.
At least, the movie says goodbye in style,
sounds right notes on a church’s organ

prior to pallbearers raising the casket,
carrying it to the vault where originals are stored,
awaiting green-lighting of their many sequels.

Ace Boggess is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter, and completely exhausted by all the things he isn’t anymore.  He is author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). Forthcoming are his novel, A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing), and a third poetry collection, Ultra-Deep Field (Brick Road). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

One comment

  1. Reading Ace Boggess, I am reminded of being in the company of a certain dryly humorous friend in high school. He would crack me up or confuse me with his slightly twisted comments about pop culture or relationships. After being with him for more than a few minutes, my head would hurt, because his take on things in the form of his sense of humor challenged me to think on several levels at once.


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