Devil’s Lake

Fall 2015 Issue

Russel Swensen: Preamble

from the happiest place on earth

I dreamed that Los Angeles had not yet been consumed by flame.

That the locusts were still there. That you could

slice open their bellies and suck the honey out. You

stretched me out and used the scalpel

Something came out of me in a flood. The population

of Los Angeles is the stripper found with the disco ball wedged in her throat

screaming fantastic


snuck out of the hospital, kind of sexual

The local economy is predominantly a lizard boy in the red dust evening.

Have you ever had that feeling. Have you had this. Have you had the new me. My temperature is flawless.

Tour Guide #2

from the happiest place on earth

The doctor says I have a Hollywood inside me. That’s why I smell like rotten oranges and cigarettes.

I pink tassled a girl in the parking lot. That’s why I puke

black felt.

I puke up other stuff for other reasons.

What’s life without a sense of occasion. Daily little celebrations like

that time I picked up the bloody Kleenex of the Queen

and pressed it to my lips. The Queen is Los Angeles and also any girl

in Los Angeles.

Queen for a day is: fucked with riot. We play it in the

parking lot. You’re thinking: this sounds menacing!

This sounds like wish fulfillment!

Gratuitous: all the metal bands in the city playing songs about the city

eating the city. Interesting: the tiny deer stickers on your ear. Why do

they look scared.

RUSSEL SWENSEN earned his MFA at CalArts and PhD from the University of Houston. His work has appeared in Black Clock, Quarterly West, PANK, etc. His poetry chapbook Santa Ana was the winner of the Spring 2011 Black River Chapbook Contest. His full-length manuscript The Magic Kingdom is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (January 2016). He lives in New Orleans with his dogs Zulu and Mazzy Star. More from this issue >