Ace Boggess

Snooze-Button Dream Fragments


At a celebration, I’m rich because a man
died, a blood tycoon in Kansas.
I’ve never been there or met the departed CEO
who bequeathed his holdings.
I accept half the corporation,
cede the rest because
I’m a feckless American Onegin,
then rejoin the gathering
which has naught to do with death.


A reveler shouts “Look outside!”
The sky shows cinematic
billowing blackness.
See the spiraling—dense,
approaching. “Should take shelter!”
—do we think it aloud or sing it
in calamity’s Greek chorus?


From the hiding crowd,
my lover guides another
through pressed bodies,
kisses the young woman or man—
can’t recall a face or form—
says, “Now him,” points,
as though advising we live
before the last alarm.

“Do You Have Thoughts of Dominating?”

question asked by Paul Lee

Recently received instruction
in the proper way 

to hold a leash,
where to lash flat leather

of a riding crop,
though it breaks hard

against my nature—
mild, calm. I’ve learned 

red, right shade & wrong;
angle, aim, & force.

I spent too many years secluded, 
cornered, an observer when

I’d rather be starting fires 
with my hands.

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021), I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.