THIS IS DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE
We told ourselves we did it for the next room
over in the natural history museum—the roped-
off one they'd been hammering on forever—but really
we did it for the money, for money's machinations
that kept the boiling crude cold and deelish.
It was born a baby with our face. We sang to it
and as it grew into a whirligig of gas spouts, we
sang louder, splitting into harmonies like airshow jets,
doo-wopping on the corner with our waists cinched
in rubber bands to hit the inhumane high notes.
We laughed about it at Mama Cass' backyard picnic
(we laughed about everything—it was that kind of picnic
[winks]—we were all really connected, you know?
talking about the next shapes the clouds would shift
into, back when the baby had our face, not our
absence's, our unwinding).
A sudden spotlight floods the black
empty stage. How long have we been
sitting here? Are you, next to me, still
there? Still you? Funny how the dark
can make you feel alone—even though
people are all around you—and feel bad,
like you did something dumb. A person (?)
in a panda costume steps from the wings,
strolls center stage and pulls a cherry
from its pocket. "This is a paycheck,"
it declares, the voice within the head
muffled by thick fake fur. "Bullshit,"
you whisper in my ear—whisper because,
I can tell, you're afraid the panda will
hear you. Maybe I should be afraid, too.
All I feel is alone—even though people
are around me—and bad because the panda
thinks I'm dumb enough to believe its lies.
But we're not making a move to kill it—
you and I—as pandas are highly endangered
so maybe we are that dumb. Maybe it's right.
Maybe we should try making babies with it.
I read somewhere that, next to diamonds,
pandas are the hardest things to make on earth.
PLINY THE ELDER'S BEFORE DAWN SONG
Releasing 10,000 starlings into the park
won't be the easiest way to get a street
named after myself, but something's gotta
give: by force, accident, or accidental force.
You can quote me on that. Stuff the birds
in a crate tighter than a tube of biscuit dough!
We're gonna need a buttload of spares! OK...
that's 10,000 x $50 bucks per bird + the ship/
pirate crew that ferries them hither...Pirates...
where do they buy their blouses? At least
they have sleeves. All the summer tops
on the websites have spaghetti straps
and the zombies on the opposite side of this
nameless yet obviously venerable university campus
(check out all the laurel carved in the marble)
look more like bloody-falling-apart zombies
than the zombies on this side of campus
who (that?) look like regular students, but
richer and blonder, like Village of the Damned.
I've hidden all the non-zombie children I could find
in the car trunk and siphoned some gas into the tank
so…[peers out wavy glass window, starling
lands on a lamppost, sings a happy
alarm clock song] is this really
a zombie movie?