Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Henry Miller's Marshmallow Stick

Henry Miller’s Marshmallow Stick

In the full-moon stir of Big South
bright enough for front-porch kisses
we dip our bread in primordial soup and
chew off the crust, spitting out mountains

The old man’s up there somewhere
screaming out the Ventanas
as Michelangelo beats at his bald-pated hills

The white marble comes back as sea foam
or marshmallows

The guy with the flashlight forehead says
come down, old man
grab a stick, join the spree
burn them a bubbling black if you like

In the morning the old man is back to his mountains
while sun and moon play tennis on the grass-line spread
God love us if we don’t take it home and
play it on our tee-vees
when the pace gets too pacey

Notes: A long-ago camping trip with Larry Coulter, who was rather fond of his new forehead-strap light. First published in the great Eclectic Literary Forum of Tonawanda, New York.

The Popcorn Girl, Podcast 22: Are You In?

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Sunday, January 31, 2016



Marcus Aardvark is walking down the street (hey hey) when he happens upon a black labrador who is clearly not a black labrador. He scratches the alleged dog (yeh yeh) behind the ears. The labrador wags its tail so forcefully (zop zop) that it whips up a small cyclone. When the dust clears (wap wap), Marcus finds that he is standing before an extremely tall woman. Her hair brushes a telephone line (swip swip) and she gives him a shy smile.

Thank you.

I’m sorry – for what?

I was under an enchantment.

I knew it!

After three hundred and thirty three people made fun of me, the neighborhood witch decided that I should become something else for a while.

Seems like a bit of an overreaction. But why did they make fun of you?

She ducks a low-flying plane.

Can’t you see? I’m a freak!

Marcus eyes her up and up. You are no freak, honey. You are fantastic.

She smiles. Marcus puts on a pair of sunglasses.

Would you kiss me? she says.

Fortunately, Marcus is a roofer. He runs to his truck for a ladder, props it against her chin and clambers up to give her a chaste peck. On his way down, he picks an orange from an apple tree.

Oh come now, she says. You can do better than that.

Marcus pats her on the ankle.

What you need is a thorough worshipping. Carry me to that green house.

The woman stretches out in the living room. Her head sticks out the window. Marcus removes her clothing, a process that takes two days. He wraps his feet in oil-soaked rags
and skates across her belly. The woman giggles. Marcus sets his sights on the twin hills to the west and begins his journey.

Marcus has not been seen for three weeks. His friends are concerned, but you and I are not.

Notes: I suppose this was inspired by the constant chatter about size-ism among women. I suppose we all feel like freaks in one way or another.

The Popcorn Girl, Podcast 21: Rudeness

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Have Yourself

Have Yourself

Jurassic, era of choice.
Wading in the evertropic,
chomping on chlorophyll when some

Tyrannosaur cuts you off and in
fact yes the middle finger is the
digit of the 21st century.

I play the archer in an ’86 pickup.
You have not in fact severed my
arrow finger and I will now
pierce your Firestones with a
flick of my wrist.

The present day is a hydroplane, a
turbojet, we no longer have
watches we have phones that
order us around and don’t even
do laundry the bitches.

Laptoppers fill the coffeehouse in
perfect schoolhouse rows, facing
east like morning glories.
I tap my baton on the
podium and begin the
overture to Giovanni.

The hours ramrod past.

I am Orion with a longbed and a list:
Restore Anne to the ancestral couch.
Follow Janine’s U-haul to Pacifica.
Chase the Pleiades across the sky.
Drive Nina to the airport

(She dreams of Paula,
turning to ashes in Phoenix).

The errands go to the lucky ones.
I sit at my window, dining on
unemployment stew, watching the
neighbors dodge lightning bolts.

Nina calls from baggage claim.
Paula’s in a coma.
Floyd’s gone, Sandy’s in chemo,
Nadine’s lost her house and
Lois is losing her mind

(Ellen dreams of Phoenix,
who is not a city but a cat).

My hand on the truck door.
A white dot bores a hole in
the crushed velvet it
might be The Asteroid.

Or Venus.

Notes: Life is stressful, and sometimes the disasters come in sixes and sevens, but when the disasters belong to everybody but you, it's time to write a grateful poem. Better to be the consoler than the consoled.

Popcorn Girl Podcast 20: Harold Anslinger

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Monday, January 25, 2016



Take the pause between these
two sentences. Grind it up.
Roll it in a twenty-dollar bill
and ignite. Smear the ashes on
a microscope slide and
discover the following: three
apostrophe fragments, seven
remembrances of a dairy farm,
trace amounts of ballpoint pen,
single molecule from a Mexican triceratops.

So much where in the whereabouts,
it’s amazing we can even
get to the checkout stand,
atoms shuffling past like
shoppers in a mall.

It is entirely possible that part of
my left pinky originated at the
midpoint between Castor and Pollux.

It is entirely possible that
I am making this up.