The wooly mammoth’s real name
was Andrew. He once aspired to
be a pro wrestler—a perfect fit,
his glaring eyes beneath a pocket
of fur, the tusks at either side of his
mouth, threatening silently. Images
of red spandex flash in his dreams.
But then the Human Starfish tried
a new trick with one of his tentacles,
and the Mammoth was down for the count,
broken leg and all. Just like that, an
immense being toppled over,
now living on the sustenance of daytime
television and boxes of candy.
Mother is always upstairs making him
a microwave dinner. There’s something
powerful about her he can’t put his finger
on. He spends his days in the basement
(the stairs are now much too rickety to
support his weight to go much of anywhere
else, anyway). Dad is who the hell knows
where these days. Resting in ice, maybe.
It is a wild life of breakfast
at noon. Every now and then, fear in her
voice, mother will ask: Randall, are you
going out today?
After correcting her about his name,
Mammoth insists that, no, he will be
riding the couch again today. Mother
likes it this way, breathing a sigh
of contented relief.
Extinction is staved off yet another
listless while, and the channel surfing
fends off the call of battle.
In the dream, the children
playing by the lake
with locked hands and arms,
giddy with whatever nature
adds to snow
A place of mortality, the veneer
of ice giving way to ice crystal
As the night reminds me
it’s 3 AM, Monday, work is coming,
enough skipping through dreams.
drag the dog behind you
Add the word plum, if
you like, as if fruit
adds juice to the adjective.
Tired like a constant
turning, an early flight,
the taste of eggs, greasy,
IN THIS BOAT
is what they told me. As in:
Sorry you are in this boat.
There was no ocean around
us, no salt.
The metaphor was as hollow
and unappreciated as the sound
of languishing gull.
As we rode, we rocked, side
to side, and sickened.
Enough became enough on the
So, I stood up and left the boat,
rock or no rock in its jagged ebb,
bidding a resounding adieu.
Not going back, I am cutting the cord,
or sail, or whatever.
Saying goodbye to the restless
nastiness that holds some places
down in dog-eyed mediocrity,
peddling for the shore.
I believe it’s possible
we live in a giant
glass bottle. Like a ship,
tucked in there.
So possible is not a word
to try on me. As in,
Do you think it’s possible?
I stick to words like
likely and foreseeable.
Even possibly‘s cousin
probably will do.
Fear, with its knotted
old fingers, of course tries
to reach down.
Will I be enough,
will I not? Will I fill
the time and fill it well?
The questions stand up like
soldiers, empty rifles in hand,
pretending a blast.
Another manifestation of
the human condition.
Whatever that is.
Deliver the best lines
you can, and let the floodlights
do the rest of the work.
Let the stage be what it
is and play the part
with practice and thought.
Untangle the fear by the end
of the second act, certainly before
the third is reaching a close.
I was flattened to a pancake
by all the worries of life—
I slide right by, lay low,
live the life from a narrow view
Turning sideways, you mostly
miss me. It’s okay.
Not a bad kind of life, really.
No one notices me, but then
that’s a lot of stories, isn’t it?
I used to be in control, a full plump
form until a witch cast a spell.
That old so-and-so story.
She was either a witch or an ex-guitarist
from an angry girl band.
Either way, the spell worked and now
I slide by, unnoticed, unscathed,
a slender witness to the fatted world.
He was given the chance
to do what he wanted,
an uncommon gift on a lonesome
Believe in you, they said.
Do whatever you can. So smart.
Do your best.
But, even still:
Listen to the honk of the truck’s
horn. It’s your destiny.
It’s your calling, or else go down
into the earth and pull up these dark
rubies that move our boxcars.
Scribble your lines in the night
at occasional stops to fuel up on
low-grade energy drinks.
Scratch them in whatever medium
you like on fluorescent bathroom walls,
resting for the next haul.
See the writer now
in the otherwise placid
evening, a spark now and then,
seizing on another verb,
attempting to shape it to a line
the elastic sound of a
Many thanks to JD DeHart from Chattanooga for these fine poems today! Does wooly have one L or two? Your choice, although apparently one L appears mostly in the U.S.
And apologies to Steve Denehan from Wednesday’s post for leaving off his lovely Seasons painting. It’s might-ee-fine, as you can see!
Poets in our area are reminded that Taylor Graham, Kevin Trammel, Michael Paul, and Poetry Out Loud finalists (plus open mic) will read in Georgetown tonight, 5:30pm, at the library, as part of El Dorado County’s Poet Laureate Trail Series. And at 6pm, the second of Sac. Poetry Center’s April NaPoWriMo Generative Workshops will take place at SPC, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, hosted by Bethanie Humphreys. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
Medusa is pulling her snakes out right now, trying to keep up with all the National Poetry Month activities in our area! I apologize in advance if I leave yours off; keep an eye out and let me know if you don’t see it here in the Kitchen. We do aim to please… and inform!
—Medusa, reminding you to keep your head down on this Friday the 13th...
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