The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Michael Conley: 1 Poem Published

 Ten Romans



your socially-networked
friends call you lazy, out
of touch never replaced
his avatar with a photo!
But you did: isn’t that you
posing in the snowstorm
black jeans black parka
arms folded, white scarf?


How To Draw A Sabre-Toothed Pig:
start with the nostrils

then the overbite;
the rest practically draws itself


xxx bobblehead snowstorm porn
boy girl boy
same black parkas

same white scarves
jeans off
hairless genitals buttocks

thighs twined
boils blemishes airbrushed
pale as ghosts


Modern artist receives prize for
lifesize sculpture of
cocktail glass
on bed of cotton wool

top snapped off stem
placed upright beside it.
Olive levitates above stem.
Something about

negative space.
Man on Radio 4
it’s hardly Michelangelo


Miles of bleached sand,  
no reference points.  
Someone near the camera
should hold out a thumb
while someone far away

looks up in terror, as if
a giant sky-thumb
is crushing them.  
But you’re alone.
Instead, you take a photo

of a bird flying towards you,
which is either very large
and in the distance
or very small
and almost upon you. ...vii ...viii

Immediately, a small queue forms
where a mysterious rocket-shaped object
has appeared in the snow.  It is as deep

as an industrial waste bin and has recently
been on fire. The three men,
hands in the pockets of their parkas

remain silent.  There are strange tracks
leading towards town.
It's obvious what's finally happened.

The man on the left suggests following.
The man on the right suggests the opposite.
The man in the middle has the deciding vote.


The bobblehead pin
is a towering figure
in lepidopteran folklore:
a bogeyman designed
to scare little caterpillars
into eating their greens.

In reality, of course
it's the net
not to mention
the ethyl acetate
that are the true enemies

but since when were butterflies rational?


Holding your nose they call it:
the tossers you hate the least
the tossers you hate the most

but in the privacy of the booth
just after you've done the deed
that smug tosser, echoes in your ears

heaven help us! we must do the best we can!
You rip the ballot paper
several pieces and toss it

into the air, and a single square,
(the one you marked with your pencil) lands,
face up behind you on the parquet floor

as you stalk out of the Primary school.


 Poem by Michael Conley (UK)

Published in Issue 26.

Michael D Conley is a secondary school teacher of English and Drama from Manchester.  He is currently studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, after a BA in English Literature and Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick.  He has been published in several magazines and e-zines including Glasgow Review, Sentinel, Sparkbright and La Reata, and he is influenced by a variety of writers of both poetry and prose, including Charles Simic, John Berryman, Raymond Carver, Kurt Vonnegut and Sylvia Plath.