November 29, 2006

Like a smile that tastes like blood


Philip Guston Daydreams, 1970

Capitalism Is A Contact Sport
-- klipschutz

I sold kisses to my mother and bought them from my daughter—met my wife at the county fair. She was hanging a Going Out of Business Sale sign over her (sniffle) booth (sniffle). I lifted her down, spun her around, and planted a wet one square on those home sweet home lips. (It was like giving mouth-to-mouth to the American Dream.) She swooned. I whipped out a smelling-salt twenty. Her green eyes shot open like cash registers. "Really, I couldn’t." It was my last leaf, but what the hell, and besides, I had plans. You're worth double this, I said, baby, and put it back in my pocket. We walked past a WPA placard and she held on to me and asked me about my plans.

A Matter Of Policy
-- klipschutz

The cop downstairs beats his wife
really throws her around

I was brought up to have respect
for the law
I was brought up by 2 aunts
not related to me
or each other
I was brought up right
in the heart of America
the heart that keeps giving out
the one you read about in the papers
that quits at fifty forty thirty
the one they’re replacing with monkeys
& machines
Everything’s different
where I was brought up
I was brought up to show respect
for the individual the right to privacy

I practice the Good Neighbor Policy:
I wear earplugs

Elegy For John Belushi
-- klipschutz

Dead in a Hollywood hotel,
no doubt your picture
on a billboard nearby.

Dead on the national news,
with film clips, in grim tones,
sandwiched between the economy
and El Salvador.

Dead over the radio.
Dead in newsprint.
Dead on the street.

One more mouthful of dirt
on our coffin of dreams.

ii

1949-1982. Same age as Jesus.
In 2000 years, will someone
be waiting for you
to cartwheel back to life?

iii

We laughed so hard
we got sick, my buddies and I.
Never missed an episode
the first year and a half.

One time we stole Rod’s tv
when Mike's punked out.
(“Just break the window.
I'll buy him a new one tomorrow.”)
We were so bored we ran down
mailboxes (a federal offense)
in an black ’62 Cadillac, for kicks.
You kept us off the streets
one night a week.

iv

I was in a bookstore with a full bladder
re-reading “Bomb” by Gregory Corso
when the flattened out words,
half-heard, flew past.
I reshelved the book and left.
On every channel they said
the same thing:

Dead as a censored sketch.
Dead as a cancelled Czech.
Dead as Francisco Franco.

v

I have this wife, and she’s crying.
(3,000 miles away, she’d been watching too.)
"It’s not fair, It’s not fair."

vi

How’d ya get so fat and stay so limber?
Why'd ya haveta split so soon?
“Live from New York. . .”
Raised in Chicago.
Dead in L.A.
Dead in bed. Dead. Dead.

I half expected Old Wax-Face
to melt the world today, but not this.
You must’ve had other plans for the afternoon yourself.

Like all great comedians, however,
Death is a master of surprise.

*

Where are the legs with which you danced
In porkpie hat and baggy pants?
Why don’t we get another chance?
What made us think we knew ya. . .




* klipschutz's The Good Neighbor Policy, is available here.

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