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Juliet Cook

Toxic God Complex

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He repeatedly rails against other people’s flaws,
but if you point out one of his, he acts like you’re torturing god
and how dare you poke a tiny hole into his body of toxicity.

Then it reaches the point where he’s cracked so many old egg shells
that the whole room is bleeding with hydrogen sulfide gas and you
can hardly breathe without screaming but it’s somehow all your fault
for finally throwing all the broken shards into the trash.

All you know is you can’t handle anymore sharp stinking shells
flung anywhere near you, so no matter whose fault it is or isn’t,
you start shoving every egg down into the trash compactor.
You won’t let him force anymore of them down your throat.

Ripped Out Red

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I thought I had managed to escape your grip
by locking you out. I found out locks don’t block you;
they enrage you and make you more forceful.
You pounded and kicked open the door,
screaming. You flung me into the bathtub then pulled me out
screaming. You flung me down.

I screamed until my eyes popped, my ear drums broke,
my hair flew all over the room into almost oblivion
except for the screaming and you pounding me
into a broken prop. You poured red paint into my body.
You flung the red paint all over the bathroom floor
until I couldn’t scream my own voice out anymore.
My mouth sounded like a red gurgling toilet.

You left me gurgling down on the hard ground,
red flushed cracked handles,
a broken jack o’ lantern floating somewhere
up there in some part of what used to be
a ceiling, a fan base I never wanted to see
breaking down from the frames, all around
me and my ribs, my ripped uncovered red parts.

Pumpkin Gut Grave


A shock of red
spilled from her head,
all over the railroad tracks.

Let’s reincarnate her
out of control halo
for Halloween.

Waxy teeth and shallow pricks
railed against her
for revealing too much.

For exposing her own neck
and gushing.


I was black circles
and dark painted nails.
I kept my rough drafts concealed,
even though they outnumbered the polished lines.

I secretly admired her raw exposures,
her giggling glimmers, her fluttering fingers,
the pages of works in progress,
ripped out fast, splayed all over the room.

For me, espresso was another black accessory,
but she drank frothy pumpkin lattes.
She spooned me coffee-flavored ice cream.

I didn’t smile very much, but I smiled at her
once when my boyfriend wasn’t there.
Steam rose up from open vessels.


Was it sudden improvisation, a performance art piece,
or a work in progress she had devised long ago,
revised for months, never revealing as much of herself
as we thought she did? Was she wasted? Drugged? Did she lose control
to a secret stalker, an invisible ghost inside her head, a haunted murderess
who tied her down, laid her head across
those railroad tracks, tilted her towards
the oncoming wail.

Frothy foam, pumpkin guts, spilling out
red hair. Free flowing way past a line break
that nobody can ever revise. No more words
forced between small lines. Huge, bold, black, bloodied tracks.

Who was there to clean up the mess from her head
in the dark of that night?


Some said she got what she deserved,
a kind of immortality.

I wanted to write a poem about her,
but I was stuck
in the clichéd grip
of ink jets from multiple hands.

My ink was too black,
my revision grew overly stylish.
As if I was dolling up a decapitation.
As if her head was a just a glossy little maraschino cherry
bitten off at the stem and then pitched.

As if her exposed neck could be cauterized onto paper.

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