April 13, 2007

I wish they didn't put mirrors behind the bar


Rob Stolzer, Four Heads, 2001, oil on canvas on panel

The Juke-Box Spoke and the Juke-Box Said:
-- by Kenneth Fearing

A few of them, sometimes, choose record number 9,
Or sometimes number 12,
And once in a while someone likes selection 5
But the voice they really crave, all of them, everywhere and al-
ways, from the hour the doors open until the hour they
close,

Repeated and repeated like a beating human heart,
Echoing in the walls, the ceiling, shaking the tables, the chairs
the floor --

OVER AND OVER, IT IS SELECTION NUMBER 8 --

Whispered and chuckling, as though it arose from the botton
of the earth,
Or sometimes exploding like thunder in the room,
Not quite a curse and not exactly a prayer,
Eternally the same, but different, different, different every time --

THE WORDS OF NUMBER 8, THE MELODY OF NUMBER 8, THE SOUL OF
NUMBER 8


Saying the simple thing they cannot say themselves,
Again and again, voicing the secret that they must reveal, and
can never tell enough,
Yet it never quite gets told --

Sometimes number 9, or 12,
Or 5 --

BUT ALWAYS NUMBER 8, AND ONCE AGAIN NUMBER 8,
TIME AFTER TIME, JUST ONCE MORE NUMBER 8...8...8...


The Face in The Bar Room Mirror
-- by Kenneth Fearing

Fifteen gentlemen in fifteen overcoats and fifteen hats holding
fifteen glasses in fifteen hand,
Staring and staring at fifteen faces reflected in the mirror
behind the polished bar,
Tonight, as last night,
And the night before that, and the night after that, after night,
after night --

What are they dreaming of,
Why do they come here and when will it happen, that thing for
which they return and return,
To stand and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait --

What fifteen resolves are growing clear and hard, between
cryptic remarks, in those fifteen living silences,
What crystal stairs do they climb or decend into fifteen unseen
heavens or hells,
What fifteen replies do they give the single question, does any-
thing on earth ever change, or stay?

Before the shot rings out, the mirror shatters, the floor gapes
open and the heavens fall,
And they go at last on their fifteen separate,
purposeful ways --

Fifteen magicians,
Masters of escape from hand cuff and rope, straitjacket,
padlock, dungeon and chain,
Now planning escapes still more dazzling,
And fifteen times more terrible than these.

To A Politician
-- by Bernadette Mayer

Your penis is homeless
You are covered with as many warts as the lies you've told
You pat maggots on their backs
Your syphilitic mouth sucks the slugs from the irradiated cocks
of your cohorts
This gives a bad name to syphilis, if I mention it in relation
to you
Your asshole farts from overeating of civilian casualties
The toxic fingernails of your leprous hands
Flip through the reports of your medievally botulistic bubonic
policies
Your brain is full of lice, tickling it with greed for
pesticide-ish powder
Cockroaches fill your pancreas with their eggs
But this is an insult to cockroaches
Your lungs fill with the blood of the dead
Poisonous snakes of freedom crawl into your every orifice,
but to no avail
Spiders come out of your nose
Your heart is being pinched by Lyme-diseased tics,
stung by killer bees,
bitten by the rattlesnakes of prevarication
First thing every morning your gangrenous arms embrace the rabid
turds of your generals
Your penis is the size of the junkie's needle
Your nostrils resemble the assholes of cops
It seem to us you convert your farts into speeches
Your disease-ridden mouth is full of the incurable sores of your lies
Your petrified eyes eat the bulimic vomit of your violent words
All words, all humans, insulted, disgusted, by your depraved existence.

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