January 9, 2008

the man on the radio won't leave me alone


Gwyneth Scally, Patriarch, 2005

The Day I Got My Timing Down
-- by D.R. James

It was in that phase of pure
sarcasm, midteens, when guys
work out an awkward stance,

work their pack's patter
till they maybe have it. I don't
really remember the day but

the single-moment wonder of hitting
my first come-back just right
by accident, then their free, true

laughter and my perfect follow-up,
the never looking back. From there
a career: from Senior Class Clown,

to smooth talker in any crowd, to
flip teacher spinning lit, to wordsmith
chiseling chin-up come-backs

to the tin-clad sarcasms
every life dishes out as it
disarms or drops you or

leaves you hanging, slamming
its clanging locker door in your
gullible, stuttering face.


Postcard
-- by Beth Woodcome

This morning the three dogs shat
on the floor and that’s what I woke to.

Before I even woke my body took itself
in, took it in like an immediate mother would.

Not every mother, but let’s get back to you.
One dog is now sleeping at my feet.

I know how that feels, that shame.
This is my sixty-seventh postcard.

Each time, when I say
I wish you were here

I mean to say I don’t know if you’re real
or intend to hurt me by having a body I can’t get to.


Shuffled Thoughts
-- by Nicanor Parra

I don't want to see myself
In blood-spattered mirrors.

I would rather sleep in the open
Than share
A marriage bed with a turtle.

The automobile is a wheelchair.

And the poor devil who looks at his mother
At the very moment of birth
Is marked forever
per secula seculorum.

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