the life of richie

30

Posted in is by Rich on April 30, 2010

On the table there is
abandoned index card
reads

In the garden,
where the girl had planted the cigarette butts,
a rough source rises up ––
belching out of the dirt,
thirsting for sun and for love/murder.

A boy on Facebook writes,
“I am staying up all night
just to see this month end.”
But when midnight passes,
he forgets to note it ––
upsets the hot tea onto his lap,
curses May and sets all his expectations
on June.

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29

Posted in is by Rich on April 29, 2010

Driving to school,
I am visited by my nineteen-year old self,
himself driving to school.

Where are you going to, gorgeous?

(It is awkward to be hit on
by one’s self.)

Do you take classes, too,
at the college?

No, I teach them there, also.

Oh.

(Well, this is awkward.)

I want to pet his head &
tell him it will be alright;
want someone to pet mine &.

I sit at the stoplight on the Pike,
expecting a future self to
ruin the ending –– let me know how it
all turns out.

When suddenly ––

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28

Posted in is by Rich on April 28, 2010

As the chorus of Elsies takes the stage
for the ceremony,

the lights dim, and I wonder
am I blacking out now?

until the music starts and
the awkward gyrations commence.

There are moments, like glass shards
that upset the menagerie.

Oh, Laura, just get a job
and get laid already!

Laura, honey ––
don’t forget to smile.

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27

Posted in is by Rich on April 27, 2010

The boy’s brain goes on exploding
and reloading; we go on
manufacturing content; so.

The scantron machine at school
is dead; long live the scantron!
A memo is distributed to welcome the new
Processor of Knowledge.

Days earlier, in the snakepit cum adjunct office,
an old grizzly professor of computers complained about
the service. “How am I expected to give tests without
Scantron?” I shrugged, said, “Don’t have that problem,”
pouring over the research papers;

told my friend Gerri in an e-mail,
“Sometimes when I come across a Works Cited page
that’s been tortured, I think the kids are trying to
wound me;” like torturing a small kitten in front of
a captive audience. I have no choice but to look at it,
with the information all wrong and the format gone to fuck,
and make red marks to attempt to –– save it somehow
(meow).

The old man laughs like a jackal,
grinding his exams into the machine
as carnival music plays. The boy

with the exploding brain, directs high school kids
in a creative writing exercise for poetry month.
He tells them that they are wizards; have the power
to transform ordinary language into something magical.
“Look at your starving blank page,”
he commands: “Feed it.”

After the activity,
the boy asks for a volunteer to read what’s been alchemized.

“Fetuses gets aborted,” one wiseass in the back laughs.

The boy with brain exploding:
“You fail at being a wizard.”

We feed the wiseass to the machine.

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26

Posted in is by Rich on April 26, 2010

Stephen Hawking believes
that aliens exist
and will want to colonize our planet
and deplete our precious bodily fluids;

[cf., Columbus’ expedition to the New World,
Hawking writes.]

But I have stopped believing in them myself.

I used to
lie awake at night unable to sleep
(this was early middle school)
convinced that I would be
abducted by extraterrestrials.
But when
no aliens came, I thought,
Lousy taste these aliens have! –– why do they
only take rednecks in cornfields?

I stopped believing,
and went to sleep.
A man can only wait
so long.

And so,
further:

if now they come a-colonizin’,
after all those sleepless years I had,
oh, honey –– I will have words to
pick with them –– not taking me.

I was prepared once
to play the Mary Rowlandson,
be a captive captive and allow for
probing; but not now. So come,
if you must, you fuckers ––
and suck on Stephen’s marrow.

As for me,
I done aweary-wearied myself out
long ago.

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25

Posted in is by Rich on April 25, 2010

A friend texts I’ve been thinking
& I think I’m officially anti-tenure.

Like how I’ve been thinking this year
about marriage, and why it still exists,
and if it even should, or deserves to.

What are the benefits?
(Besides health benefits,
which tenure affords, too.)

The long engagement:
five years here, and still
the wedding can be called off,
the bride who’s invested time
and effort into those years,
starting over again from square one.

There is the economic reason,
of course, one of finances, one figures:
being able to plan a future based
on something more than promises, promises;

But in ten or fifteen years,
will the institution seem changed ––
looking across the table at you,
thinking, “Why did I ever?”
and admiring the smart, attractive
young things coming in with
fresh ideas, just out of college.

(The eye begins to wander.
The smug bride points to
the marriage contract, and sneers;
oh well. They are young.
They’ll find other husbands,
won’t they?
And if not, well ––
bad timing for them.) But

perhaps marriage is important still,
not for us, but for the children ––
think of them, then.
The children who have known
no other parents; need to know
those caretakes of culture
will be there next year on into the next.

(That was part of the promise, too;
the promise is made to them as much
as it is made to us, my friend.)

There are always bad marriages, of course,
that cannot be broken and that serve as
onerous examples. But there are others ––

a report on NPR says that white fatty matter
in the brain is at its peak in middle age,
and that white brain fat is what
creates connections between neurons:
again, the wisdom of winters.

Sitting around the conference table,
having been there a long time, unable
to be gotten rid of now, no matter how
attractive cheaper ones might be. But,
having been there a long time,
knowing; understanding; creating

a family for those who have known
no other mothers or fathers.

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24

Posted in is by Rich on April 24, 2010

The prasad starts with hot samosas,
delicate fried purses of potatoes and spices,

taken after Papa has eaten all
the papadums with the green sauce;

green lentils soup and vegan tomato;
naan bread with makhani sauce

to cool the tandoori murg,
murgs tikka and vindaloo

that flush the family and
embarrass our sinuses clean:

we who curry flavor and
ice cream on the way home.

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23

Posted in is by Rich on April 23, 2010

You don’t catch
more flies with honey,
m’dear; you just get fat,
lazy flies,

who lumber ‘cross
the cafeteria floor
at conference, dragging
a sludge-trail ‘pon procession,

maggots at the feast of education;
the corpse, our colleges;
the children, left to starve

while the fleas who scratch out
the day’s schedule smile
and stuff themselves with berried lard.

You sit, watching the flies grow
fat with shit; exit to amphitheatre ––
staring/starting out at the Globe,

this Garden State –– this Jersey;
with no less confidence (as Shakespeare wrote)
Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
Or butchers killing flies.

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22

Posted in is by Rich on April 22, 2010

I am the Keeper of Bees,
too. When I sit outside Bees’ buildings
on campus, checking e-mail,

I do not even acknowledge them.
The writer of young adult books says,
“Professor, how can you stand the bees?”

I wonder how they can stand us.
The bees are angry, and I respect that;
I, too, am angry like the bees.

A girl sits near us, the bees and me.
(She must be angry too,
like we are.) Why are more not as

angry as we –– me, the girl,
the bees. Our hive: where simple Samsas
stage their samsara, clicking at each other

cell phones buzzing on vibrate
administrator drones droning on,
the hive hemorrhaging the honey

we sieved; no salvation save
the bees. And someday we’ll be
gone, and only then ––

These benches empty and those left
behind will still hear our chortle of
bombilation –– and it will make them cry

out. The buzzing! –– the beating of
a hive tacked up behind a variegated
bulletin board in Bees’ building.

Hear it, Ozymandias.
Fear it. And
be ashamed.

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21

Posted in is by Rich on April 21, 2010

The ants
have been getting into
the bathroom. They

are the only ones living
in the apartment
besides the master.

I will be Master of the Ants,
then; I will decide which live,
which die; when they die,

it will be swift, efficient.
Those that are spared
will be spared at random.

This is how the Master works.
It his plan, ants. If you live here,
you accept this; you understand.

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