PRIMARY VOTERSlisten to this poem
They were the boys who thought
Your older sister might make a good
Piece of ass. Two of them
Broke your cousin’s leg, on purpose,
To settle the matter of who told
On the shoplifters. These
Were the boys who had beer
And sex three years before you:
You were inept with the age
They found crystalline and cheat worthy.
At times you would follow them
To their secret place everyone knew.
You cannot remember what you saw there
But it must have been impressive.
Now and again it seemed
You might become one of them,
Be extended the black strap
Of membership. But every time
You remained prey:
The small, easily damaged thing
At the back edge of a managed herd.
For a little while you would think
I can be the hunter,
But even that is not your privilege now.
How many years have you wanted
A backbone and teeth and to get
The girl and have a black and white map for all of it!
SOCIALIZATIONlisten to this poem
Give me a lesson in humility.
Give me a lesson in dignity.
Give me a lesson in the dark sex.
What I learn does not matter.
What matters is the taking to book,
The pencil raised and ready,
Head up, the look of listening.
Give me a lesson in the seven deadly sins.
Tell me what is good, what is bad,
What to avoid, what to embrace.
I smooth the crease of my pants,
Or the folds of my rough skirt.
I think of Jenny the conquered
Or Jeffrey the conqueror.
Give me a lesson on value,
How to assess worth.
Give me a lesson on mortar.
I am only one brick.
Tell me how that which holds us
Together is mixed, then marketed.
I am touching myself
In unmentionable places.
Tell me you need this so to keep
Your bricks from cracking in the sun.
Tell me what a fine house we will become.
VIVIFACTIONlisten to this poem
It was left to me to reanimate
The clam chowder. Frogs
And crickets and rabbits
And people had all been done.
The mere reviving of the dead. But no one
Has thought of bringing back
A concoction, a product
Already in markets everywhere –
A dozen ingredients and sanitary
Processing. When a man
Comes back from the dead
He thanks you, gets back to doing
What carried him to death in the first place.
But this slightly steaming bowl
Of concentrate, with one can
Of water added and a few minutes
On the stove top – what
Would its ambition be
With a chance for a few more
Licks at the backside of life?
I will know the degree of my talent
By my lack of surprise at the results.
And now the clams are contracting:
They look to be remembering shells,
Trying to pull the last of the calcium
Modestly over themselves.
But the thing that is riling me
Is the dumbstruck awe of the potatoes
And how, peeled and peppered,
They do nothing, nothing at all.
Forgive me, I edge closer with the spoon.