Richard Skinner – Three poems




Anselm grew up in Dill, Indiana, until he became a star and moved out west.

For years, he employed his twin, Virginius, as a stand-in at dinners,

a body double in blue movies, a decoy for fans.


At the Oscars, Virginius blew his cover. He said he was merely a sex-doll

with Anselm as his lover. He thanked the audience and exited left.

The industry went wild. The Academy retired. Within the week

they announced Virginius as the year’s Best Actor.





a priestly demolition



Anne was stripping beds and listening to the radio when she heard raindrops

and a voice say: “Simplify. Simplify.”

She stopped. Soon after, she ended certain friendships. She no longer shopped.


Two years later, alone at a Chinese restaurant called Blue Sky,

she unwrapped her fortune cookie, which read:

“You can have what you most want in the world, but not the second or third.”

Anne nodded to herself. “I know. I know,” she said.






Masatoshi went to Finland to bury his parents. He thought

it was the end of the world. After the burial, he met a sailor in a bar

who had been to Hokkaido. They got drunk together on ‘Black Death’.

He told Masatoshi that, on Mercury, the days are longer than the years.


He said this Taoish thinking had been like a weapon for him.

It had dissolved the stones in his mind, it had solved dilemmas,

like the death of his parents one long night, years ago.