Thursday, May 31, 2007



The moon will never be my Duncan yo-yo
except in theory or in my memoirs
or whenever I’m passing through Wichita,
which is not a bad town, all in all,
discounting the prairie blight
that no one seemed to notice
or fret much over in those sky
swaddled months. There was good barbeque
if you were earnest in your hunt
and a lot of trees. People
seemed to think the town was loaded
with sparrows or wrens
bathing in the dust. Try figuring that out
and you won’t have success
or at least very little—
one more monstrous failure
your pillows taunt you with
when you’re in the mood
for narcoleptic mercy. When your face
like a wind-up toy is cranked
all the way past speed to corrosive grief.
It ruins a date. Trust me,
that town is not one
to forget the public scuttling of one’s sex life.
Not that I tried. People talked
when all the other silences
had been used up, so I took copious notes
when I had paper and pen,
meaning never
due to my life-threatening allergy
to crucial advances in Western civilization
like cursive handwriting and formaldehyde and the cotton gin.
Eli Whitney seems popular with children
but not the surly amputees
I tried to comfort in my spare time
by letting them know
there is a secret to successful suffering.
That ruin can be crossed
like a pond in winter. That cold beyond the cold
happy people can imagine
has something to do with it
and that science wants to build a better numbness
just as badly as anyone.
When that’s all figured out
and tested on small animals,
too polite or too weak
to wage cartoonishly lethal civil disobedience against us,
to the satisfaction of secret cabals
who don’t seem to know there is a concept called
Wichita, let me tell you
the first endless drink is on me.

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