Will Stanier

Five Poems

My Friends


Abigail is an optometrist.

Brandon is a barista.

Cherise is also an optometrist.

Dakota is from South Dakota.

Ester is an envelope technician.

Franklin is a stagecoach driver (of the previous century).

Gerald prefers Gerry.

Harriet is a horticulturist.

Isaac—Isaac isn’t interested.

Justine is weird.

K. is more than an initial.

Larry served two tours.

Melanie, of Melanie’s Sweet Sixteen Boutique and Dress Shop.

Nadine, originally from Bushwick.

Olaf (with a lisp) is four and a half.

Penelope, of course, and all her suitors.

Quincy! Oh, Quincy!

Roger refurbishes furniture.

Steven is a drummer.

Thalia is French Canadian.

Uma, well who knows?

Virginia is from North Dakota.

Wilhelm II.

Xerxes I.

Yolanda calculates spacetime.

Zane, smoking their cigarette.




What Should We Bring to the Party?


A bag of at least the smallest of strawberries

wouldn’t even help us now. Wouldn’t begin to

stem the tide of misfortune and woe, the deleterious

effects of total brain fever, a provincial class of devils

here to upset our evening—and worse, to slander our names,

and those of our elders, across the storefronts of this luckless,

moth-ridden town. To the east lies the ocean, plastered over

with marauding bands of jellyfish, blobfish, specter eels,

and various other creatures of the deep. To the west lies

the mountains, or so we guess. Could be the mountains,

or could be the backs of gigantic elephants; or then again,

could be poisonous clouds of brimstone and ash billowing

from the world’s tiniest volcano. You just never know.

Even that wandering wise man, even he didn’t know.




The Vacationers


“Aloha,” said the

Bolsheviks at the

corner store atop

Donkey Kong Mountain.

“English pitbulls for sale,” yelled the

faraway hang-gliderist.

Garbage trucks, their motors blazing,

halted on the slopes.

If and when the

journeyperson comes

kaleidoscopes nestled smartly in her

luggage bags.


nincompoops. Night




Risk averse to

starfish, satellite

TVs, and telepathic guardsmen

under cover of the night.

Virginia is for lovers.

What do you mean by that?


Ye of little faith.





The Pleistocene


Only I know why dogs have wet noses.

Why they trot along the roadside,

oblivious of their credit scores.


I was wrong to be so drunk at the funeral,

especially before the mayor and her husband—

all the good they’ve done this town.


Like the glacial world of the Pleistocene.

Yet still, I have no regrets.


Only I know why dogs bark.

Only I know the difference between a rock dove

and a typical pigeon.


I kiss you with my wet nose;

I am always snotty.




Real Will


The real William Shakespeare could never have this much fun.

So here I am all dolled up in my monikers

and reveling in the credit.


Just imagine the court gossip!


I give the Queen what she wants—another play about dragons;

she loves watching the monsters wing-beat it to the scene.

Soon a nobleman, a cousin of mine actually,

is getting married; I plan to write something frisky.


Stratford-upon-Avon is so boring,

yet nobody thinks to look there.

I have another family: a wife and children.

I love them like you’d love a stranger,

like a tea kettle boiling in a dream.


Life is like a message scribbled on a piece of cheese

and placed upon a mouse trap.

The real William Shakespeare lives there,

cocked, ready for his moment