Reference West, 1998. ISBN: 1-894010-26-4. 5.5 x 8.5, 20 pages. $10 regular $20 for one of 10 hand-sewn copies.
Why should novelists have all the fun? Here are psalms written to God in language meant to be played on a Kazoo. Meet Wallace Stevens as a Used Car Salesman. Meet God in his Antique Store. Meet Pound serving his guests tea out of tuna tins, behind the piano. God was a vaudeville artist for a while. In his humiliation, Pound went silent. God, as always, had the last laugh.
Black Coffee Rag
I like my coffee strong,
full of sludge.
Remember that time I found you,
a silence in the house,
drinking it cold out of the cups?
Thick. Get to chew those last bits.
Mmmmm. Read the newspaper,
have the light sere in through the window
and across the pages. Mmmm &emdash; mm.
We used to start fires like that:
bit of punky wood, easy;
at Recess, crouched
behind the backstop.
That’s the way I like to think of you,
running your fingers over the words,
one at a time,
sounding each word out slowly with your lips,
The High Cost of Low Taxes in High-Value Land in Japan.
Then running to your dictionary:
Light/English, English/Light. Of course
they’re not there. None
of the words are there. Ever.Only trees and stuff, schist, shale, shepherd’s purse,
Daphnium, Black Haw.
Hence the coffee, see. For its fire.
You can only give that to us,
that bond, not the words themselves,
not the trees: a whole bunch of stuff, really.
All of it tenuous. Scrap.
I mean, if you want to meet anyone in this town,
go to the dump. Wait.
They’ll be there.
A Game of Poker
Now who would have imagined that?
Not I, says the socio-realist novelist,
not I says the cat.
Everybody chiming in. An old story.
Kind of an embarrassment, really.
But what can you replace it with?
I know! Death!
Sure, deal out a deck of cards.
He’s the guy on the back.
Every single one.
Dealer takes two, says the socio-realist novelist.
I fold, says the cat.
Death? whispers the rat.