Thursday, April 12, 2018

found poem 2017 #1 | assembled from the pages of the new yorker

Character Sketches

Musicians and night-club proprietors lead complicated lives;
it's advisable to check in advance to confirm engagements.
Like a surly crew of mercenaries adrift at sea,
exhausted, strung out, and hungry,
they are so bored out of their wits
that they’ve taken to drinking the ship’s supply of whale oil
and throwing one another overboard for fun.

Rather than erupting in this healthy manner,
writers go home and quietly develop suicidal snacking habits,
or unnecessary family troubles,
or a rash.

He was a cineaste, plump and sedentary,
who made his own version of "Godzilla."
Made his name designing wryly impersonal T-shirts and
sculptures of clustered ductlike forms
in shiny aluminum sheeting,
home-made with shears and staple.
Call it post-zombie or born-again formalism.
During a break-in last summer, thieves took several tons of lead.

His job has allowed him to visit several countries,
which he described in terms of their cleanliness:
Switzerland (very clean),
Belgium (not so clean),
Bangladesh (not very clean at all).
In 2015, he went to Utah (clean).
He told me I was like a snail;
I was reaching out to be loved, but I was closing my doors.


Hypocondriacs aren't wrong. They're just early.
Perpetual magpies,
they pick up scraps of talk and offcuts of sensation,
tuneless singing and the slap of plastic slippers
that often flit about unpredictably,
like a mosquito stuck inside a car;
nothing goes to waste.


Communists hate to work.
They'd rather burn churches.
It makes them feel more alive.
If I had my ideal world I would not allow weapons and atom bombs anymore.
I would destroy all terrorists with the Hollywood star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

by Ron Reed