No Soap Radio



Tell me anything, I’ll believe it. This one time

a man I was going to have sex with told me

that his parrot gave good head. I stared

at that parrot, its stony beak, dark nub

of a tongue, and believed him. Before we

retired to the bedroom, his friends

laughed and laughed. Or the time

another man told me that if I picked up

all the litter around his ice cream truck,

soiled wrappers and such, he’d give me

a free one. My mother stormed

out of the car, so mad that her son

was being taken advantage of like that.

And then there was the story about the kid

who swallowed his tongue. Died right there

on the junior high football field. One day

my brothers and I were playing catch

and the football’s pointed tip torpedoed

into my stomach. Knocked the wind

right out of me. I didn’t know

what was happening and I ran around

like an idiot with my fingers shoved into

my mouth. Have you ever tried to hold

your tongue? Trust me, it’s not easy.

Bill Hollands’ poetry has appeared in Rattle, DIAGRAM, The American Journal of Poetry, The Account, Wildness, and elsewhere. He was recently named a finalist for New Ohio Review’s NORward Prize, North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize, Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize in Poetry, and Smartish Pace’s Erskine J. Poetry Prize. He lives in Seattle with his husband and their son.