The HyperTexts

Max Rifkin

Max Rifkin began writing poems at age twelve. The age at which he wrote each poem below appears in either the title or dedication. Now eighteen, he has a poetry book in the works. When the book is available, we will link to it here. This is Max's first publication by a literary journal, but surely not his last.

Seven Ages of “I Love You…” (13)

They were his first words.

Then, till 12 he often smiled,
I love you, Mommy!

By 14, though,
he snarled,

Leaving home
at 23, he said:
I’ll miss you, Mom.

At 42, he scolded:
Mom, that’s not the microwave!

Near 74, he muttered:
Huh, Ma? What’d you say?

Post-death, his ghost bellowed:
Ma, stop haunting my kids!

Angelic now, he cries:
Ma!!! How’d you ever get here?!?

Doghouse (13)

Anne Sexton’s ghost
slept in our doghouse,
and when her cramped legs
squeezed through desert-dried
dog poop and her sly eyes
drooped down to her arms
and out went her lonely doze,

and as the tired moons
ate the mother sun,
she wrote one last poem
to her beloved Stringbean.

Her hands seemed
to melt into the words;
they glowed bright
in the night’s gin bottle;
and as her clothes
drifted away
I felt the doghouse
turning smaller and smaller —
and you think she left
us even a bone?

"Doghouse" was published in Clark: Poetry from Clark County, Nevada (an anthology published by Zeitgeist Press that consists mostly of work by Las Vegas poets).

Leaves So Lifeless (13)
That very night Anne Sexton
died, as leaves burned down to
smoke engulfing the stars, 
he coughed their dust,
the leaves having
nothing to do 
but die. 
There, the threads of 
flames opened a flat 
mirror to his thoughts 
as he and his friends watched 
the leaves burn, drinking 
beer, sweat-slime sticking 
their butts onto 
outdoor chairs. 
And then he saw it: 
Anne Sexton’s face 
smiling at infernal ghosts 
her grin innocent
as her death so cruel
that left her soul
to drift off like 
the leaves flaming 
in the night’s summer 
humidness, so
much heaven (or
hell) made visible
to his naked
Indeed, this was vision enough 
to goosebump any man
and witch…the night
Anne Sexton

Muse Blues
by Max Rifkin (13)
to Las Vegas Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson

I followed my Muse
to a moose
killed a goose
spilled vile juice
on innocent Bruce,
danced him on produce,
turned footloose,
wrote this excuse.

Poetry, Anyone? (13)

(With apologies to a certain US Poet
Laureate, nameless here forevermore)

Anyone can write!
Just get a pen
and some paper
and write poetry!

Just write it
forget even words!

Just write some lines
or draw some,
anyone can!

Just scribble all over
the paper; attach
no mind to it!
Anyone… cffalkapapaptppap
fspapfthpdofnb  nn.s.bmntuiti684rnog,jhpep!?!?!
[I.e., text devolves into illegible, handwritten scrawls…]

Another Random Poem (13)

I’m making another
poem, quite obscure;
I don’t know where it
came from; I just found
it in the night, crying
alone in the rain under
the tree; I met its little
face with eyes used to
scanning immortal,

I carried this poem through
the night’s dangerous forest,
blazing moons and lazy grass.
I and it saw a cabin, and in
that an old man, so alone
and gray, with a voice soft,
not hard; he helped me
scratch this poem
onto his giant foot.

The HyperTexts