August 8, 2008

a latenight obsessions
covered in questions



Alexander Rodchenko, Dive, 1935

Bob Ross The PBS Painter Patiently
Walks Us Through The Peace Sign

-- by Dennis Mahagin

(from his new, downloadable chapbook Bandini's Disco Usufruct)

Well now,
this week I think we’ll start out
swashing our numbered canvas
with an itty bitty burnt
umber stick figure—

give him
a smiley sunspot for
pie hole,
red rooster ruff on beatific
brow, just…

so,
and next?—
heck why not go
ahead and blow off
both his clown feet

with a rusty half-moon
Kandahar or perhaps Anbar
Provincial Claymore swathed
in creamy, wavy sand
swale disguise… Okay-zee-
way-zee?... Now, I think
we're ready for the upraised
Popeye-sized evangelistic arms
to come clean

detached thanks to sizzling white-hot shrapnel
spittle tracers from a Jihad dirt clod IED, until

Matchstick Boy, he
starts duck-walking
figure eights as though
dazed in the aftermath
of an awful Plains wheat
thresher mishap...

Oh, I do think he's
starting to take shape

—look there!—

now he’s spurting crimson geysers
from a neck that’s lost its loose-strung
head in a cartoon balloon feud with Connie
Chung over the most arousing, yet
self-effacing

way to phrase a Nightly News
body count.

Okay-zee,
what say we
go ahead and
give him his
arms back?

That’s the kind of civic
generosity PBS is famous for!

Then if he
hugs himself
real tight, we’ll
protract a
perfect circle

'round the Chop-A-
Block torso, and he’ll be

just right for
lapel pins, Volvo bumper stickers
and retro black light posters to adorn
the bedroom walls of deeply-troubled
adolescent boys.


Self Portrait One Year From Now
-- by Sandra Beasley

Snake farming will turn out easier than I thought,
Florida cheaper, and my tangled lakefront will have
one lone sentry, a flamingo
white, unmotivated, preferring fish
to courtship. And I will wear hats. Straw ones.

I will not recall the Viking bounty,
the cotton incarcerations of the Salvation Army,
the girl, the mewling girl,
and how you shed us all like a tired skin when you left.

There will be two moons:
mine, ever and gladed
and yours, cold and above,
watched from a quiet bed,
kept awake — as you always are —
by bites from small, dedicated mouths.

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