Sunday, February 23, 2020

four found poems, 2019 | assembled from the pages of the new yorker | by ron reed

Two robots are coming.
Hide the WD-40.
Lock up your nine-volt batteries.
Build a booby trap out of giant magnets;
dig a moat deep as a grave.
"They're Coming for Bankers!
"They're Coming for Lawyers!"
"They're Coming for Doctors"
"They're Coming for Entertainers!"
This outbreak is the eyes of the hippopotamus.

Death and politics are always coming for you,
heading inevitably toward collaborative writing,
drunken mayhem,
brandished golf clubs,
existential crises,
flying toast;
in the meantime, talk and laugh, love and wait.

My junior year at Corcoran College,
in Corcoran, New Hampshire,
Super Goat Man was brought in to fill the
Walt Whitman Chair in the Humanities.
This reminded me of Mrs Speir, who
surfed her house down Moriches Bay
in the storied hurricane of 1938.
"She clung to the roof. It made her quite famous."

Cherry, whose favourite things include
rules, anti-drug programs, and grilled cheese,
told other stories from that time:
affairs, gruesome deaths, hearts sundered by grief.

I have notions of the things I do not know.
Premonitions are impossible, and they come true all the time.
The second law of thermodynamics says it can't happen,
but you think of your mother and then she calls.

She had a dream that something dark approached her,
unable to move her arms and legs,
unable to speak.
Several hours later, she found herself standing at the window
without knowing how she got there.

Many of the long-stay male patients were poorly attired;
the fronts of their thick serge shirts were heavily stained with food
and there was a dearth of ties.

A woman of sixty-eight lay down to sleep
and had a feeling as if shocked,
then felt paralyzed and heard vivid sounds of people coming up the stairs
with a sense of violent intent.

A middle-aged man had a feeling of shadow falling over his body,
hunted by enemies,
hearing extremely loud screams.

One spoke about his grandfather,
Yunel Escobar, who was dying in a different country,
a member of the semi-conceptual, site-specific, confessional-reminiscent school
of contemporary British art,
who hit a two-run double and then took third on defensive indifference,
setting off a fracas.
I think the Botox seeped into his brain. He’s like a vinyl sofa with teeth.
Another wanted to talk about his baseball team
— its first time in the playoffs.

A third explained that he was making a list
of all the ways to categorize people.
Crest or Colgate, Apple or Android.
People who joke about farts and people who don’t.
People who say “I love you” at the end of every phone call
and people who can barely bring themselves to say it at all.

In this garish, hyper-colorful, and sort of stressful musical
the costumes are wild; confetti’s a constant;
the air was rough —
leaves and twigs that had snapped in gusts whipped at our faces;
Peter Pan made up like Edward Scissorhands,
as if a neutron bomb had been dropped on the Happiest Place on Earth.

The songs are what they’ve always been—
if you’ve heard them, you’ve heard them—
and the singing’s just fine.

Like some eighteen-year-olds, cooped up in their intensely private minds:
either you’ll totally get it, or you really, really won’t.