Friday, June 22, 2012

But Hush, the Nuclear Power Plant Is About to Blow Unless Jimmy Can Locate the Elusive Button

No Thursday Night Pints, others busy, me busy, some busy good, some busy bad, all glad I think to break routine even if the routine includes occasional breaks in routine in the interest of perpetuating the participating actors' perception that that routine (e.g. above gif), while routine, is exceptionally unique, self-valorizing upon each reiteration, varnishes, prayers, deepened by one. So no links today, just one more plug, a poem (no, not the Chris Smart poem, though I understand why you'd expect it) a song a poem a song.


Rodney Jones

In the middle of my life I came to a dark wood,
the smell of barbecue, kids running in the yards.
Not deep depression. The nice Hell of suburbs.
Speed bumps. The way things aren’t quite paradise.
Nights I read Speer’s Inside the Third Reich. He made
Hitler so amiable. It seemed important to see that.
There had been a murder in town. The victim
was Lucia’s student, a naturalist and promising poet.
Jealousy on steroids. Spying. Stalking. Threats.
Then violence of such a brutal, dehumanizing kind,
I felt the need to submerge the killer in a pattern.
A friend said the connection between depression
and humor was genetic. Because the mother
was often sad, the child learned to tell her jokes.
I wondered if the killer played an instrument.

Coming home each afternoon past the dairy farm,
and the three curves before Union Hill Church,
I kept rewinding and viewing evidence from his trial:
the break-in, the stabbing, the new friend helpless,
listening as she asked, “Am I going to die now?”
and then hearing, “Yes, you’re going to die now.”
Multiple slashes, cuts, nicks on the bone of the spine.
I saw the little pains coming up from the big pain like smoke.
The horses grazing in the field did not raise their heads.
Earlier she had been eating pizza in a place near campus.
He drank a few beers in a bar where I go sometimes.
Perhaps I had once bumped into him as I threaded
through the pool tables on the way to the men’s room.
Or was that her, alone in a corner, studying his letter
that began, “Tramp, liar, whore, enchantress, bitch.”

Now you can find it on the Internet—it reads like
a farce of the ego or a sample of Leviticus—“Eternal
lover . . . [I will] come crashing down . . . ” in the records
of the circuit court of Jackson County, Illinois—“with
a thunderous vengeance and a furious anger”—sad
brackets where the characters grew indecipherable
as the author’s hand hastened or trembled—“and they
will know that my name is Houdini because I can
disappear and reappear like magic and no man—”
Here a mother might still help. Here I see a boy
with air guitar, lip-synching, strutting at a mirror—
“nor beast nor nothing man-made can either contain or hold me.”
But where the posturing ends, the blade is whetted,
and the inner geniuses begin to work for an idiot,
all the editors wade into the still waters of sleep.

The bar was quiet in the afternoons, and later,
the noise of the racks breaking. On the televisions
above the tables, the images of men running
back and forth and crashing into each other—
I thought that for him her death had started as a game,
that the game took the form of possession, a trance,
as on childhood nights when the room and hour vanish.
That the process is the same for the many as for the one,
the beauty, the beguilement, then the blindness.
That this projection might be reversed or spun.
You could look at blood and see the art of heaven.
Probably you could see it. You could not confess.
Even in the bunker, Hitler saw himself as architect.
Speer, in the Cathedral of Ice, directed the lights
skyward to hide the homeliness of the Gauleiters.


Mary Jo Bang

The aqua green goes with the pink
in a way no one knows what will happen.
Every step is a dangerous taking.
Amazing the time span of a trunk
(a door opens in it and suddenly,
someone is asking how this came to be).
The green curtain is a pressed chime
which when rung rings in a dogwood
white as if a storm were approaching
its green extreme.

Brick crumbles into living pond particle
while a bent hook holds back
the last dissolve.
An uneasy leap over a sharky sea.
Gravity plays its little emotive role.
It’s Elm Street all over
again, ragged walkways lead to Toon Town.
Hello kids. Hello Jimmy Neutron.
The blanket rises, and under it,
a fetishistic pompadour

green, greener and paler than bluebird.
But hush, the nuclear power plant
is about to blow unless
Jimmy can locate the elusive button.
A siren and standing-by fire truck.
It looks like a lost cause until presto,
a messenger. A racketing aside.
The day is dragged here and there but still
can’t be saved. BAM. Immediately
the next second clicks into the skyscape
apocalypse. In the dust, a celluloid woman
mows a multilayered lawn.
The arch overhead reads, O Art
Still Has Truth Take Refuge. Where? There.
There, there, says someone.


  1. I see your subtle jab at Die Mannschaft. Viva routine.

  2. Man, it would be sweet if Εθνική Ελλάδος beat the Merkels today.

  3. I knew it! [HEADLINE: Librarian placeholder posting due to Quarterfinal action.] That's a gotcha.

    W/r/t your post, tho', the key word is "so". Incongruously, certainly not ineptly placed. Pause.