Ed Shacklee

The Stalking Horse


At first, his chatter merely made you weary,

but he's persisted until now you fear he

isn't only odd but rather eerie;


especially when he moved onto your block.

Machinations masquerade as talk.

The nag it seemed he was begins to stalk;


and he will be your shadow day and night,

the clingy spider web that holds you tight,

the bit between your teeth that hides a bite.

Recipe for Grand Theft Auto


  1. Set the poor aside: repress, then fleece.  

  2. Leave neighborhood to simmer.

  3. Crush.  Police.

  4. Remove the father.

  5. Add 1 child, too sweet.

  6. Garnish mother's pay.

  7. Evict.  Repeat.

  8. Lace the paint with lead: let age, then peel.

  9. Extract the child.  Re-traumatize: congeal.

10. Isolate.

11. Suspend from school till sour.

12. Chill inside your condo for 1 hour.

13. Add a pinch of youth and let it rise.

14. Once car is poached and stripped, reheat surprise.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared in Able Muse, Light, Per Contra, and The Raintown Review, among other places.



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