Monday, July 19, 2010

[interlude: nuclear winter]

Thought I'd post a poem written by an earlier version of me -- found the piece recently lurking in an old box of memories brought over by a friend (thanks, MM).

It Was the Season of Vampire Dogs!
Citizens and police inspectors alike
stocked up on soup bones and liva-snaps,
dim substitutes for those human ankles
so lately the snack of choice
of teacup poodles everywhere.

Rabid Possums Ravaging Freezers!
Elvis and Jim Morrison Picking Locks!
Trapped Cats the Strange Fruit of Local Trees!

This nuclear winter scandalized us all
in glowing freeze-frames,
reading end-of-the-world weeklies
bundled in the express lane.

Twenty-Two People Ripped to Shreds!
Their bloodless bodies
slump at awkward angles along the dumpsters
on kitty litter and broken wineglasses.

Dogs Reign of Terror Reaches Haddonfield!
Victorian mansions sprout "for sale" signs
in dormant parsley patches.
Masked firemen warn us to keep our boots on.

(Winking gratitude, I confess my secret place
to make love is the blue-line tracks --
cigarette wrappers whispering to the rats,

cockroaches scuttling a filthy dance,
vibrating rails hot with anticipation,
platform trenchcoats flapping a breeze --
as the oncoming train plows through city guts.
The ultimate big bang.)

Retarded Kitten Kept Alive!
Born with claws inverted like umbrellas blown inside-out,
its existence all slow-motion blinks.
Firemen don't rescue these warped ones,
whose dark lives barely span a year.
In early spring, before the buds burst,
I pluck their frozen little bodies,
relieved that the rotted fur shows no signs
of punctures.

And then there's us, stranger than (non)fiction,
tiptoed and swaddled, stringing our talks --
old christmas lights cracked and sooty --
on ten icy miles of wired poles,
carefully unwrapping the crumpled sheets
of eighty-five-cent headlines.

The chipped reds and greens --
some naked whites --
throb to life in our hands,
just in time for the mardi gras.
See, I knew there was a reason why
we saved them.