Rachael Briggs


Movember in Four Movements

I. Movember the first
My darling has grown a delightful mustache.
Itís dapper and chipper and trim.
It tickles me silly whenever we pash.
Heís ordered a gallon of Greased Lighting Wax;
heíll tease out the ends til theyíre pointy as tacks
to stop all the ladies and lads in their tracks:
Thereís no one as dashing as him!

II. Movember the fifteenth
My honey has grown a humongous mustache.
Itís whirly and twirly and wide
with curls that encircle his waist like a sash
and waves that flow down to the tips of his toes.
It sprouts like a spider plant under his nose.
He plies it with nitrogen. O, how it grows,
abloom with botanical pride!

III. Movember the thirtieth

My lover has grown an alarming mustache.
Itís bristly, invasive and wild.
Last night, it burst out of the house with a crash!
It shattered the shutters and splintered the door.
It covered the driveway. Itís racing full-bore
to climb all the phone poles and pines, and whatís more,
it will not be stymied or styled!

IV. December the first
Itís eaten the mayor! Itís eaten the school!
Itís off to the neighboring town!
Itís after their gym and municipal pool!
Iíve got to do something to stop this mustache!
Who cares if itís crazy? Who cares if Iím rash?
Iíll wrestle it into submission! Iíll bash
itís bristles with brilliantine! Watch as I dash
to whip out my scissors! Iíll slice and Iíll slash!
Iíll grab it in handfuls! Iíll gouge and Iíll gash!
The blade of my razor will flicker and flash!
Iíll clip it to ribbons! Ha! Take that, you brash
coiffure of pure evil, you nightmare of fash-
ion! Oh, Jesus. Get off me! Get d―

Half Marathon

The racehorse in my chest must snort and bound,
Must beat its heavy hooves against the ground,
Must flare its nostrils, toss its head, and beat
Its heavy hooves against the dusty street.
For thirteen miles, until the race is done,
The horse must beat its hooves, and I must run.
This is a long and lonely road to run,
But what am I to do? My feet are bound
With heavy chains that cannot be undone,
Tied fast to this machine that treads the ground.
Its track extends along the narrow street;
Its pistons never pause or miss a beat.
I know I will not win. I strive to beat
My own best time, a hundred-minute run.
The other runners thronging through the street
Are tough and fast, and God how they abound,
Like worker ants that swarm along the ground.
We struggle on. This work is never done.

I scarcely feel my legs. What have I done?
The pavement underneath my shoes will beat
My shins until the aching bones are ground
To aching dust. My wound-up heart will run
To ruin. My ligaments will come unbound
And lie like torn-off laces in the street.
No, somehow I must rise above the street,
And push my head above the gray and dun
To find some unbreathed air. My feet are bound
For somewhere far and rare. I hear the beat
Of dancing in my head, and I will run
As though I danced a foot above the ground.
I think my will is strong enough to ground
My body. I will plant legs in the street
And let them bend like birches as I run,
And let them move as trees have always done
In rhythm to the soft, organic beat
That travels off to where the wind is bound.
And so Iím bound along the dusty ground.
My sneakers beat like hooves against the street.
Until Iím done, for thirteen miles I run.


Handsome men are innocent in their bodies.
Unaware, they shimmer with silent beauty,
Limbs as loose and smooth as the world they move through,
Lither than tigers.
Not for me the posters of bathing beauties,
Cat-eyed girls parading in bright bikinis,
Spotted, striped, or printed like purple tigers,
Jolly as candies.

Not for me the lipsticks and bright bikinis,
Booths for tanning, spas and salons for waxing,
Fine shampoos and lotions that smell like candies,
Bottles of glitter.

No, instead I feel that the time is waxing:
I will live alone in my mind and body;
Find, perhaps, a universe free of litter,
Easy to move through.

For Meg

You have a doggy dignity in sleep.
I drool beneath the blankets, half awake,
but you lie calm and still. You dream of sheep.
I dream of stones. I have no right to weep.
Next day, Iíll have you petted, fed with steak,
and put to whatís genteelly known as ďsleepĒ.
My brush-tailed friend, how far you used to leap!
Youíd run for sticks and gnaw them Ďtil theyíd break.
Youíd chase the killdeer, herd the cats like sheep.

But now the stubborn staircase grows too steep,
the world goes blurry, steps feel tough to take,
and there is little left to do but sleep,
though why the human body ought to keep
while dogs go stale and crumble, weak as cake,
I do not know. (Nor you. You dream of sheep.)
Your breath is shallow, and the night is deep.
This much is fair: itís my turn now to shake.
I shake the blankets out. I try to sleep.
I dream of broken teeth. You dream of sheep.


Copyright © 2012 Rachael Briggs

Rachael Briggs is located in two places at once: Canberra, Australia, and Brisbane, Australia. She spends most of her time studying philosophy, but writes poetry to relax. She is married to a man with a magnificent mustache.