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Two Poems

Fred Ferraris

Victory Boulevard

Sharp blows tear shards from the bewilderment I wear like sackcloth. Street lights flicker, traffic is erratic. I'm stalled behind a rusted bardo boat, stalactites bang on the roof, a brawny fust trims the fins. None of this matters but a musty mattress stashed in the trunk stuffed with blackened tin and dried coot heads. Nobody cares but the bartender at The Lonesome Lizard Saloon, a Spaniard on the fly. A gap in your mind could save good wine. The driver of that bardo bucket— some wasted mafioso named Phony Soprano—has disrupted my subconscious gossip for the very last time.

That said, I lock my sights on the geese huddled round the sizzling Sicilian's corpse. Long ago I lost my taste for waterfowl burritos and mood-altering salsas, but today I’d kill for a working plumber with jack hammer chipotles. John the Baptist asks me to hand him his birth defect, his teflon-coated lotus. His bitter inwit busts my cobbles, he's decked out like a lakeside festina the locals have stoked and rehearsed half to death. I'm clothed in clean misfires, done up right in crematory white. A stick in the eye would feel just fine.

Ahungered, I peel away the teflon and peer into the bonus messiah’s darkened heart or, sicut locutus, emergency spam in adobo sauce, fit to be fimbled, a humble ham in thumbscrew crown. 'Belay me, Bapu, let me follow you down through lough and lovage to scrub my soul with your spirit loofah, bedrench me.' Jesaru ferries my dunnage across the ferment, parks his trike at a pad a doge could call home. My dreams have come true, I think. I reset the traffic. I cruise.

Buddha in the Hole in Your Head

The ground fog is getting thicker. Let me turn on the wipers. While we wait for the defroster to go to work, I’ll tell you a few things about Jesaru Durango you might not know. He was born in a religious software expo where a talk show host was giving a testimonial to thought contagion. Thus the first paradox revealed itself. When Jesaru was a child he heard the usual religious fables about sexual practices involving gerbils, elephants that test-drive Land Rovers, toilets that explode to announce the Rapture, et cetera. So legends spread across the insect universe. He chose for a while to cast his lot with a group of memes that treated him like dirt. Hail the size of Jesaru's testacles fell today—good thing no one sits in the garden anymore. But it does have a key, the door does open. As a child, Jesaru would often break down and moil himself in front of strangers, or laugh, or speak through his toenails, or chant in Sanskrit. That was how he explained the Empire's gradual shift to a permanent war mentality. He crawled under the desk and covered his eyes, as his civil defense warden had instructed. Hence the dark goggles and the polyurethane gloves. From this point on the analogies thin out. After the storm we collected hailstones and sautéed them in butter with a little garlic. Jesaru was a slow learner. It took him until age seven to write every possible poem about bear scat on the trail. That was his first obsession. Then it was on to the latest styles in war zone couture. A voice asked, 'Is this world nothing but a magical illusion?' Another voice said, 'Even nirvana is like a dream.' A third voice added, 'My advice is to become awakened as soon as possible.' Hail the size of my testacles fell today—good thing no one sits in the garden anymore. Jesaru’s lover, Sylvie St. Cyr, is silent. But she does have a key, the door does open. Like mildewed claws in a cannibal’s craw. In Barnumville social stigmas have shifted from those who have clones to those who insist on remaining cloneless. Sylvie expected that working with Jesaru would be her last best chance to avoid imprisonment in stone. Jesaru defies the taboo against making eye contact with the uncloned. Those who believe in using buffalo guns to settle cloneless lands often wind up with large territories from which to mine hailstones. Why is the Emperor’s face a cyclonic mask of raging self-derangement? If nothing happens, no past exists. Jesaru’s history is not mosaic, for there is no tessellation. As if I didn't have enough to worry about, the ground fog is getting thicker.


Fred Ferraris