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Constant Defender


ISSUE:  Summer 1982
My little finger’s stuck in a
Coca-Cola bottle and I’ve got three
red checkers lodged in my watchpocket.
In a rush to meet my angel, now
I don’t even know who my angel was.
I can see seven crimson jeeps lined up
outside Pigboy’s Barbecue Shack—
must be a napkin salesmen’s convention.
I don’t care what cargo as long as
their hats are back on by eleven.
The thing I’m trying to avoid
is talking to my mule about glue futures.
What’s a fellow going to do? I must
have a ceiling fan, I can’t postpone
twirling blades. And my one stuffed chair
was owned by a hunchback for a hundred years
before I came along. I need some new
knickknacks to suggest an air of cleanliness
to this sluggish pit of extinct sweet potatoes.
Ah, trickery, you sassy lark, withered black pearl,
unfetter me from these latches, make me
the Director at every meatball’s burial,
lacerate this too, too static air
I’ve been eating my way through.
I lunch on eels and larks in lemonade, Lord,
I’m so happy I woke up in my right mind today.
And those kleptomaniacs, Smitty and Bob,
stole peanuts from a hunchback, snuff from an angel.
My knees click, I won’t budge, like a wind-up toy
unwound, my guitar held tightly between my thighs.
Last night a clam fell from the stars:
a festive, if slippery occasion, a vibrating blob
entered our midst—I say “ours” out of some need—
I was alone when it hit me.

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