Monthly Archives: March 2010

Gunter Grass

Behind the soap company
rested a toad named Gunter Grass

he was a goddamned giant animal
the size of an angry tank

Gunter ruled the city
by suggesting new soap formulas

everybody on the block
smelled like fairy breath

or on his bad days
like horse ass sushi

one maroon day Gunter up and left
leaving us without olfactory direction

we discovered our own sweaty aromas
which smelt strange, like new cars

wandering around whiffing armpits
it became time to find a new totem

weary scouts returned with news:
Gunter was found in the black forest

mounting musk oxen with calm eyes
and smoking web digit-rolled cigarillos

the mayor said to leave him be
by all accounts he must be happy

time moved on without him
but Gunter remained a humid memory

the town built a statue in his image
endowed with the scent of Strawberry Shortcake

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Spoon In a Landfill

snow crashed heavy on the fill,
a twirling sonata of freeze
settling thick on a jagged pile
of old box televisions and
defunct exercise machines
(amongst everything else solid
and not looking to dissipate)

a cover-up of seasonal weight
adding girth to the mountains
of consumer memory, flashing white
bold and real against a mauve sunset

somewhere in burial rested ghosts of
energy spindled around the little things
that made up his life:
a spoon given to him by his mother
days before dying, she willed it to him
from a cancerous heave, old national geographics
once stacked peacefully next to her
soft blue toilet, the air fresheners that covered
the mothball scent painting the corners
of their old green house

when she shook the spoon
in his direction he was distracted by
the godforsaken cat chasing squirrels up a maple,
or maybe wondering where his next swell of codeine
would emerge, he ignored her explaining the silverware,
she was so wretched and bony in that prescription bed,
he may have never absorbed her intent, but was uplifted
when he realized she had hosts of vicodan
lined up like an army of saviors in the cabinet
where the mirror was so old it sweated ochre reflections

overlooking the hills of waste
he could sense the spoon in there, and other things
carrying her faded life, and in echo form
the moonlight sonata began to loop in his head,
only the first thirteen notes, over and over
as he turned and made his way in a stumble
toward the smokestacks and section eights,
trading the past for piano notes and
the prospect of a dinner uninterrupted by regrets

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Mystical Food Poisoning

powdered lime-aid broke me to my knees
pink polo shirt fuchsia sunrise
neon green upchuck
splattered oblong around and through
my body supplicating
to mother plastic, to mother nature
to their eternal cancerous battle

here’s to me
a spindle between nature
and injection molding
praying somewhat to oil refineries
and the pulsating mysteries within

oh god
oh captain crunch
how did you divvy up my flimsy soul?
what have I done to deserve
this silly putty brand of torture?

best to find a park bench
deep within cereal city
and meditate on it,
not without sugar

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Being Understood

He never understood
when they insisted that people weren’t blue
minds weren’t centered in the navel
souls weren’t commodities
and beavers weren’t his friends

he never saw it coming
when the walls breathed
the floor became soft
and the ceiling grew clouds

he tried surfing on pavement
driving on Lake Michigan
and taking up wings underground

he learned how to say
“you’ll never understand”
in forty-seven languages

it was all useful and useless
continuing on in such a way
but for him he could only see the world
through his own eyes
and that suited him just fine

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The Art of Listening

this world orbits dimensions unsure of themselves
and these tiny creatures inside me rule everything

eyebrows raise while eyeballs fly
to the tune of the fourth stooge, an indomitable spirit
whose spit makes rain on our heads

his purple smoke fills dreams like paper balloons

the drive-through window is accepting hieroglyphs
and applications for unemployment in outer space
or sweet, sweet death for the happy scratch-off winners
with imploding mansions and cars melting into pudding

life has burrowed itself away in a discarded kiwi

there is nothing there
and therefore no need for a proper search (engine)

peanuts have become fuel for our time machines

the maestro is asking you to roll one up for him as well
and either you do or you don’t, it’s that simple

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His Grand Vision

He was a rebel who lived low, spending most of his hours in the living room of his Mother’s house, the holo-v set to blast as his sister hibernated in the basement growing mushrooms and recovering from ceremonial eye surgery. She was a newbie, and he wasn’t sure or not how she felt about the whole affair. His mother rustled back and forth from the kitchen to the study, from roast fatbeaver to Anxless, oblivious to his shrinking presence on the couch, yet aware enough to chastise him when he cleaned his glasses on an ancient handkerchief or even adjusted them on his slick nose. The Ed Dwarkish Experience was on, it was getting late, and he simply didn’t know his next move, whether it be forward or backward, outer space or earth. He was very afraid, although quite adept at covering it up with a smooth intellectual temperament and a false-positive attitude that others fortunately bought into. Even his own mother sometimes believed it, and she emerged victoriously from the kitchen’s postmodern angular saloon doors with her famous boneless fatbeaver bites pyramided on a tray, replete with honey mustard and brussel sprout dips.

“A late-night snack,” she said, placing them on the wooden floaty and squeezing in beside him. He adjusted a little but made no move to show any interest in the food, though her fatbeaver was legendary in the neighborhood. She was still for a moment, gazing at Dwarkish interviewing some teenage actress with ridiculously large breast implants, even for this day and age. When he still hadn’t made a move to the plate she sighed and asked him quietly (she only spoke that way when loaded on Anxless) what was wrong.

Now he leaned forward, pinching a golf ball sized portion of meat between his middle finger and thumb. He spoke slowly, wanting to choose his words with deliberation. He’d worked up his nerve for months on how to explain himself to his mother, unveil his shadowy depression and unrest, maybe even unburden himself of a private fear or two.

“Mom, I have. . .”

“Take off your glasses,” she interrupted.

He deflated a little and dropped the fatbeaver back on the plate. Don’t start leaking now, he thought. He removed his glasses and hung them from his shirt pocket. She stared at him with an uncomfortable blankness, a look that never failed to unsettle him. She seemed ready to explode into murderous frenzy, but she never did, and he never expected her to.

“Mom, I have to tell you things. Lots of things. Will you turn off the holo-v and listen?”

“I am listening,” she said, snapping her fingers, sending the image quickly vortexing into it’s base, which dinged pleasantly to announce it’s successful and temporary demise.

“Can you even stay for a minute?” he asked.

“Well,” she scanned the room and peered obtusely into the study, “a few, I guess.”

“This conversation is really important to me, Mom.”

“Okay, okay.” She waved her hand to indicate her reluctant subservience to his confession.

He sucked in some quick air and set in to tell her about his Grand Vision.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights (based on the painting by Hieronymus Bosch)

oh god
giant angry woodpeckers and sparrows and men supplicating
and penises with legs and feet and more men riding them
through transparent tulip fields where men hold down hapless women
all under the gaze of each other and the penis creatures stomping
they prey and cry and make out with slaves and
line up by the sevens to sodomize goats with unicorns and placid deer
oh god
what world have we fallen into that makes such an apocalypse possible
where the forest dwellers have overcome us with brutal sexuality
and faded brushstrokes have pointed all heads upward
where the sky only looks back down and says: fuck it man
you go ahead and let yourself go for the duration of this creation

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His Thought Was Circular In Nature

I drove a stranger with self-proclaimed Asperger’s
and his hoarding artist wife
to a church down the street

I seem to attract special people
if only to jump their cars
and when the engines fail
I offer them rides

with his wife safely deposited
in the Lord’s house
he accompanied me to the grocer
to buy a Sunday paper

he elucidated for over ten minutes
while we waited for the train on Haslett road
regarding how his enigmatic understanding of music
prevented him from jamming with other people

about how everybody who played
saw music as only a means to an end:
groupies, fame, energetic release, a record contract

whereas his goals were obscured by an incessant need
to tinker and break the music down into a million pieces
looping over and over again in his obsessive brain

dropping him off at his front door
I offered for him to stop by and chat anytime

he reminded me that due to Asperger’s
he generally disliked socialization
and therefore had no friends except
Beethoven, Einstein, and Michelangelo

And with them he said
communication is only a one way street

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