“Alice Great and Small” by Tom Crosbie

Today, Lise Quintana and Kolleen Hoepfner explore “Alice Great and Small” by Tom Crosbie, submitted to Zoetic Press for its Viable chapbook series.

A Short Dialogue Between Alice and Her Rimpoche

flesh is the death
in car-magnetic
in cherry blossom
in cross-the-median


Alice: apologies I arrived
at an Absolute Moment
and didn’t tell any one;
I saw the blueprint and
it was just one wall
with a lot of windows
and not many doors

Rimpoche: I’ve been under
water so long I’ve grown gills

Alice: tell me how it feels,
to fail at your failing

Rimpoche: you’re afloat
so can’t know, but tell me,
do you do much bailing?

Panamax Alice

who flees, but never leaves and never says goodbye
gentlest father, let me cry
Alice in the keyhole, little spy
gentlest father, goodbye

Disneyland red, Goofy his ax and
Alice her head
staying up late, boombox bumping
Right Said Fred and
“boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a
long long time”
Alice turning in the microwave
or fevered, raving, on a Panamax freighter,
Alice, normal, with Pizza Pops,
wants her Pepsi

Galactus his salt shaker
Christ Galactus, sun chewer
there’s stars in the sky, just one fewer

Microwave Alice just spinning around

paints the town red in her tin foil gown


a glacier chips: welcome iceberg
an iceberg chips: shedding itself, it disappears

silently, I pass by my own reductions
take instead my most oblique references:
the water in water;
the poet’s daughter;
my Panamax Alice and her senseless slaughter

Alice Without, Alice Within

I am in the palm
of a giant’s hand
certain things I
don’t understand

he will make a fist
he will drop his arm
will I remain
safe from harm?
when the giant ate Alice,
she saw on the roof of his mouth
a face; it opened its mouth
and said, “I am his secret twin,
“I eat what he eats”

Alice Pitched and Sold

the cast:
Zeno (a family friend) His Trick with
the Arrow and Alice Herself
(who is so many perfect
spheres on a bowstring)
the log line:
Goofy at Guantanamo,
cracking wise, champion of
stress positions
the dedication:
to my master and to my
entelechy and to the
Virtue Wall of Poetry
standard plot:
a shadow searches for the man who cast him
children whining
a montage at the end:
Alice devours Galactus
Mid-Credits Scene:
Alice in my bloodstream
Alice is the sky
gentlest father, goodbye
After-Credits Scene:
small people leave big messes, just
ask Alice and her aluminum dresses

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