13 ways of looking at Beetles//Karen Little




Beetles know that a huge percentage of erections aren’t caused by desire,                                                                            

so that standing on top of a skyscraper is to be astride a city built from fear.


6 beetles watching 2 women fight are reluctant to pull them apart,                                                                                                                                

because this is what the movies tell them they’ve been waiting for all their lives.


A beetle realises the danger of releasing himself onto an abject world                                                                                                                     

where people tightly cork their pleasures in bottles in case they ever need to get them off the shelf.


A beetle likes the cold and empty solitude of vodka. The woman prefers the warmth of frothy beer.                                                            

His afternoon face is scratching her, his tongue, all muscle, is a dead weight. A lump of meat that he moves slowly.


A beetle measures time seeing soap shrink in the dish, and already wants to dress her in yum-yum yellow,                                          

before lowering her into shark-infested waters.


In Italy, a beetle shoots at a woman for taking a bunch of grapes from his vineyard, then, laughing, opens his truck

door to her and drives all night to Poggi Bonsi, where beetles follow her in packs when she ventures out alone.


A beetle realises he is growing old when, amongst the collection of guns and knives stored under his sofa,                                      

he finds one he used to use  to cut the telephone cords in women’s flats.


A beetle gets a pram for his 21st birthday and does 2 clumsy things for his son:                                                                  

he knits a cardigan with two, too long sleeves, and carves a wooden horse.


A beetle stands in his formica kitchen, the pinnacle of his achievement,                                                                                    

plastic wood pushed into all the scars and scuffs of his embedded temper.


A beetle leaves a woman instructions for her working day: Dear Slave, spoke-shave the wagon wheel,                        

strip the chairs, stain the grain on John Cleese’s table, Love Master.


A beetle’s neckerchief gets caught in the belt-sander, and he escapes strangling

only because it’s made of silk.


Without balls, the beetle wears the tightest briefs, though he still jiggles the change in his jeans pocket                                                  

as a substitute.  He is not sorry to lose that cock which can no longer smirk at him.


A beetle is unsure of how to deal with her “fuck me” heels. He fantasises her marching amongst an army                                              

of long, slender legs, some of them grazed from kneeling down in front of him.                                                                                               


But he doesn’t know if he wants her to press the heel into his chest, or fall over herself getting away from him.







Karen Little trained as a dancer and sculptor. She regularly reads her poetry at events. She has recently been published in Best of Manchester Poets, East Jasmine Review, Bunbury Magazine, Otter Magazine, Maudlin House,  Dali’s Lovechild, Deep Water Literary Journal and Papercuts Magazine. She tweets at @kazvina1.