Lincoln McElwee hails from Southern California, but has lived in both Italy and Ireland while studying literature, poetry, opera, and politics. He earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in English Literature from California State University, Fullerton, where he also received a Professional Certificate in Teaching and Writing. His favorite poets and writers include W.H. Auden, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Zadie Smith, and Haruki Murakami. Lincoln currently works as a freelance writer/editor in Los Angeles, California. He was a semifinalist in the 41st New Millennium Writing Awards, and received an Honorable Mention in the 45th New Millennium Writing Awards (both for creative nonfiction), and has poetry published or forthcoming in DASH Literary Journal, Prism Review, Lullaby of Teeth: An Anthology of Southern California Poetry, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Dark Ink: A Poetry Anthology Inspired by Horror, and Open Minds Quarterly, among others. When not writing, whining or wine-ing, he’s scouring Los Angeles for French fries and vegan donuts.
SHERBERT OR BUST
The pot of gold at the end of rainbows is really just sherbert, cupped. Melted color like the ooze of paint tubes packed on ice, winter blushing crimson, budding into a fruit-forward bite that toboggans across taste buds in the sweet syllables of oohs and aahs. As an inner-city kid, I begged my mom for two things every summer: a cup of icy ambrosia and quarters for coin-operated rides, not grasping that both were an expense. But standing storefront in noonday heat, the sun was a melting scoop of orange out of reach, I sought my fix in thirty-one flavors like thirty-one ways to want. Even now, sherbert migraines my brain, more than the milky dreariness of vanilla or rocky road or the devil’s kiss of mint-chip, more than fruitless disputes on its spelling and enunciation, because, given a chance, it’s ice cream on acid, limes and lemons and raspberries, pineapples and oranges; fruit juice and cream and ice and the awe-struck kiss of a goddess, the cloud-nine creaminess of a life barreling toward a promise you can almost taste, a dreamy pot of quarters for a shiny ride to all the places you’ve wanted to go, bucked around and fed until sherbert spills out in bands of palpable rainbows that puddle on the chin like tears and stick.
Before the dream
that limbed a nightmare’s genesis, I was his oddity.
I was the fright that lurched in the shadows
of his keep and pulled all the right strings,
quilting cadavers and graverobbing
in the name of science, suffering abuse
to lever the monstrosity of a great man’s company.
And then we bore his stitch of cruelties,
that post-mortem mime of a man, called Frankenstein.
How history forgets that I too had a hand
in stormy sacrilege, that before Ygor,
it was the Master and I who let madness swan
in a lab like a lusty god, making profane creation.
Sure, I may have known jealousies. I admit
I spooked Frankenstein once, until the creature
himself knew fear, until that fleshy usurper
felt the chalkboard grate of my electric hatred,
until his pinched brain thought twice
about entering this crude world with lifted eyes.
It should’ve been me to incite riot,
not that hulking green thumb in hand-me-downs.
Even pitchforked and burned by simpletons,
I would’ve cleansed the world by fire for you, Doc.
You didn’t need that slab of stoolpigeon
to embody cruel haunts
Because I grew too, without salve or friend,
to trust the rough hand you always dealt.
I could’ve remade the unmindful world in your image,
Master. It could’ve been Fritz reborn from death,
risen from the ashes, singed into the screams
of infantile townsfolk as I ignited windmill fears