The Belly of the Beast


Alex is a recent Law graduate on the verge of a life direction/existential crisis, but he is postponing it for a sojourn into the public sector. He is a huge fan of writers such as Don Delillo, Jonathan Franzen, Cormac McCarthy and David Foster Wallace. He spent most of 2010 on exchange in Canada and travelling the US, pretentiously claiming to be a "Kerouac with a Mac". Alex is interested in photography, mental health, cricket and wants to do the Mongolian car rally. He speaks Japanese fluently (if asked by a potential employer), has a life ambition to write for the Monthly and to keep hopping on planes to far-flung destinations. His favourite band by a stretch, is The National.

by Alex Walters

I am
an all night crusader
doing corrections in the editorial section
of the Kansas Herald.
All around me, the industrious hum
of depressed and cirrhosis riddled desperados.
I pour milk into my coffee
and it diffuses like rumbling storm clouds in late afternoon.

On tonight’s agenda—
Phillies fans cheer Bin Ladens death
a bomb goes off in Newark
in damp and sodden London streets
a hooded vigilante throws a Molotov cocktail
a red double-decker bus goes up in flames.

Images in Libya—
pro-Gaddafi forces bombing desert shantytowns
snaking oil clouds rising against the sun stricken sands.
A Japanese woman with a pink blanket
in a dry sea of debris
twisting and colluding.
A plume of radiation floats up through the cold air of early spring.
Light snow falls.

I pour over a fluorescent din
listening for a deep rhythm
of the palpitations and the embolisms of our time.

I stop at a bar
and a bearded man with three teeth
is laughing at a television screen
displaying static.

A girl from my past calls me
tells me her father killed himself
and always knew what her fate would be.
She knows that every morning
I scan the obituaries for her name.

On the drive home
a sea of cornfields
lit up by distant lightning.