Thriller was my first
tape and it gave me fever dreams
but that could have been the hundred-
zippered faux leather jacket
that I thought would keep my cool
all that July.
Tonight I pray
that some of my heroes not come back
haunted, hollow-eyed, zombiefied,
howling or moonwalking over laws
of pop culture. Let them not chip away
what they once set in stone.
If the apocalypse came lit by rainbows rays
that’d make my heartache and pain fade away,
‘cause when zombies campaign the streets
I don’t think of my empty bed’s lacking body heat,
and I’ll retreat into sleep forgetting the word fiancé.
The plague ran from here to Boston then to Bombay,
poison contained in the pollen we called Satan’s bouquet,
overwrite the wrath of her fingernails on me in the backseat,
if the apocalypse came.
I might as well have built a house of paper machete
on uneven terrain, as they walk these walls down in disarray
looking for something good to eat, all my sobs are obsolete,
the turning neighbor’s trapped in wet concrete,
but I’d stop a beat to sing your name in the last cabaret
if the apocalypse came.
The project’s gone gonzo again,
I’m off the grid and meandering
between participants and observers,
just a good stones throw from skid row.
I call out to them for thick description.
Note their fingers and toes, the way
skin makes a web, the knots that dirt
always finds. Turn the bare bulb on high
to sweat it out of the focus groups.
They lie. They know the names
and pictures on the cartons momma
bought before the storm summers ago.
This was the case study of small towns
and minds. I tilt my hat and am atypical.
Now I know Heckle and Jeckle
broadcasted Jim Crow thinking
into our TV room every Saturday.
Sad to learn that this one show my sister
and I agreed on, now leans on me.
Jeckle’s falsetto switch never did much
for me but Heckle’s Brooklyn gruff
was something I kinda admired.
Turns out we were all being conned,
but not by the magpies.
Abandoned by scientists but cradled
by schoolmarms in the cool cave
of the grammar school classroom.
Mrs. Rothenchalk, made all of third grade
memorize the dinosaurs that were issued
U.S. Post Office stamps in 1989. I’m sorry
she sapped your blood for her red ink.
There always was temptress in her
teacup. A bone misplaced, never sets.
I could have been held back that year
for this or any anything else
that didn’t really exists.
Under a stone heavy enough
to hold a full grown horse
in place, in between the worming
soil and the weight, a relic of love
breaks down—becomes sedimentary,
mixing with rubbish and a cicadas shell.
Once I knelt down on the side of this road
to put my face against it.
Young, the four French girls grew otherwise
and were submerged by time. Four French girls—
the young always seem to keep the fashion,
hold crushes against history’s lament.
Girls: the four, young French defined
it in a magical way that made the banks
close early. French, the four young girls
gave off an air of propriety consistent
of vigil for fathers lost at sea. Girls, the French
young found their way up the staircase
where other contents would be their context.
The four French girls, when they were young,
called out all the silent letters.