The Love Song of J. Timothy Eyman (w/ apologies to T.S. Eliot)
by Peter H. Jackson
Arrrrrgh! Nixoney chu-ga roalhop Eyman non-shaman
Hooog in facto. We Chinnok cho killa firebo an der baa baa
Healtee por err an errer! 1
Let us race then, Tim and me,
With a state budget minus a testee
Like an ambulance driver atop a burro;
Let us go, through pot-holed streets,
The corps d'elite.
Of restive days without police patrol
Simply to drain away the tax bankroll:
Streets that buckle like a snake
Of services funding we love to take
To lead to an overarching question . . .
Oh, do not ask, "Why even bother?"
Let us go visit and wind through the slaughter.
In the firehouse men come and go
Talking of funding imbroglio.
The black fog that rubs its back against the door
The black fog is smoke from a house fire that's behind the door
Licked the neighborhood with soot through the eve
Lingered because the firefighters have all moved to BC
Let burned into the grizzled soil of hell's kitchen,
Slipped over itself, finagled a nose dive,
And seeing property taxes capped and sealed
Curled about itself and smiled for the extra dough.
And indeed we'll have time to read
For the black smoky fog that tears our eyes,
Robbing us as we stare at the flickers behind the door;
But there will not be reading; there will not be reading!
To prepare a table to coddle the library lovers
There will be time instead to savor TV,
And time to doodle and drool on buckled streets
That lift and slam the doorways shut;
No time for you, but time for me,
And time yet for a hundred illiterate Timothys,
And for a hundred shuttered libraries and clinics
Before the taking of a toast from thee.
In the hospital the nurses come and go
Perplexed by a new outbreak of polio.
1 Ancient Chinook jargon, rough translation: "Arrrgh! Cursed, treaty-breaching fiends, may a smiling White Devil eviscerate your roads, your emergency and health services, and your quality of life and community forever and ever!"
NO EPIC POETRY #853
by Ryan Tomas Flynn
Acupuncture and Prozac
I'm a modern boy,
Though I can't say I'm under the influence
And make it appear noble any longer
I can count the good politicians
On closed fist.
During continuous war,
Apocalypse, or mass massacre
I choose 'Off,' remotely, handedly.
Just missed being gay by minutes.
I return to my cursive to correct the "-r's."
I still dream of being great.
I'm familiar with my patterned habits;
I just sometimes choose to ignore them
I wax poetry slam bam.
I run when terrified.
I'm a distant distance from 12th grade dreams.
I've tasted transition and tripped upon a solid goal.
My plan is to teach one truth to one child:
'Life isn't fair.'
'But,' I'll yell back through myself in midst of lesson no. 1,
'Neither are we.'
I'll close the book and leave nightlight bright;
I've finished my job here, goodnight.
Can you read between the lines and find the lies . . .
It's coming to me high and sober,
All of these days reasoned and picked over.
It is in my mind to make a dollar;
You've found me out.
I'll rank it up there as one of my truly great sins.
It All Came True
by Mercedes Lawry
Louie lived next door
with an 8-ball on the TV
and a dad with a metal plate
in his head. The nuns
would have said he was one
of the bad boys. He told us
hit the dirt when a plane flew by.
I dreamed bombs.
On the wall in Settlemaier's basement
was a map of the world. Look
how close, we'd say, Alaska is
to Russia. Then we'd sit
on someone's porch and talk about
I dreamed end of the world.
Always coming out of the sky.
Slow enough to watch, helpless,
over and over, that dream
of darkness. Don't tell me today
is the end of feeling safe.
We never felt safe, running home
when the sirens blared, the bloom
of an atomic bomb in our sweet imaginations.
It was always going to come from the sky.
All those fears coming to rest
like a flock of birds on a wire, one
and then another. Everything real now.
The terrible came true.
by Genevieve Johnson
Now, I half expect the easy warning
Like the earthworms
that morning last spring,
with their ancient animal
urgency pushing them up
through the garden dirt minutes
before the earthquake hit
They were writhing
to tell me something
Sometimes it seems like
the aftershocks anticipate
When the tiles started to rot
in the basement of the bookstore
—weeks before they actually crumbled
away in those forty-odd
end-of-the-world shaking seconds
—before the ceiling swayed
and we were afraid
the whole of Pioneer Square
would fall upon us
We should have seen it coming:
the layoffs, the caf頣losing the day after the quake
It was all there, the fallout
waiting for us in the cracks
between the bricks, buried in the silt
of south downtown on which our lives were built—
On the bathroom door
a message scrawled in red
Be warned, the end is coming
That night, September 10th,
I could feel them rippling through
me, like I was the earth
and they were escaping
aboveground, out of me
As though they were telling me
the only certainty was fear
Get out get out
When the phone call woke me up
just before seven when
I knew it all before I saw it
happen onscreen I knew
nothing but could convince
myself that I've known all along,
I just didn't know how
to read the signs