DAN CHELOTTI


THE JOB MARKET

You are like losing a bet to an evil guy
who, all evil like, makes you lie down
on the highway for three passing vehicles.
One car passes. Miss.
The second car drives over you,
but you are between the wheels.
And then the third, the third is a motorcycle,
and you are like, Yes! A motorcycle.
My chances are good. But the biker
lines you up and runs over one of your
feet, and breaks it. And as you howl
in pain, the motorcycle man flips off
his bike and into a brick wall.
And you stand and fall and scream,
knowing town is far,
and the motorcycle guy is dead,
and you would feel guilty,
but his motorcycle could explode any minute
and there is not even a twig to use for a crutch.
You drag yourself and drag yourself
and then, on the horizon, a light appears
in a building where all these people want to help you,
they want to help you so bad. But we’re not
medical doctors, they say. And then, a lot of
very handsome young men and women
come in and say that they could really use
some beer could you buy us some beer?
And there are loud intermittent bells
that seem to take hold of the sky
and shake it so that it drops
howling bottles of thumbtacks
and rubbing alcohol exploding on your mangled
foot, which is starting to smell like pissed-on tires,
and you are about to pass out,
and oblivion’s red lips are puckered for a big long kiss,
and the world begins to pale –
there’s a rose in the sun,
it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful…
But then some guy in a tie is yelling:
Wake up, Son! Wake up, Son!
You have to pull it together, son. You have so
many forms, you have so many forms
to fill out and file with me.
You have to prepare yourself. You have to be ready.

And then it dawns on you, after the many hills
and the many rains, that you will have to stay here
on the ground with a broken foot.
And you don’t know when it happened,
but you have an arrow in your ass.
 
 
 
 
ODE TO NEW ENGLAND

New England is a great place
for being born in February.
The shadows of the trees on the top
of long mountains are silhouetted
by a sky that is painted every night
by a sad man of medium build
who doubts himself because
the fake crooked finger of God
became all too apparent
at too young an age and he turned
to his watercolors. But as he learned
to turn the sky, a lot of people died.
A lot of people died and in his grieving pines,
New England found him and pitied
him enough to sentence him
to a life of ridiculous sunsets
so offensive to babies and poets it reeks
of the failures of human kindness
and the attempt of our small hearts to destroy
so we can draw it, to destroy
so we can have the original collector’s
edition for the original collector’s
case that we bought for just this occasion.
And any occasion will do. Birth,
the big 4-0, a bomb landing in a land
on a tv that no one is watching,
a hand under some pants on a porch swing,
oh that hand under some pants on a porch
when so overcome by lust you don’t
notice Mrs Jennings has come from around
the corner to trim the verge,
and she can see everything, and she watches,
walks away, and doesn’t ever say a word. No,
she holds it to her bitter end because she knows
the average guy who paints sunsets
for us is there for us. He sees all of it and gives
us the sadness of all we haven’t done
in one obnoxious February twilight
that February-born babies in their
dusty vision sense more than see,
and it fills them with all the jokes in the world
told to combat the silence that bedizens
our existence with very sporty rags. And it drives
the babies mad with life all coming
at once, and they can’t help but grow
up and become blue-collar fuckers
that fucking love sunsets and sports,
but stop to consider the power lines
in the twilight. Let’s look at them:
the high tension power lines
that run from here to Saskatchewan,
and farther, that run from here to Mars.
Mars. You are out there plotting your return.
We know it. Your desolate time will come.
You will crouch down with your large desolate knees
and rest your big desolate mane upon a mountainside.
Yawning in your post-apocalyptic stupor,
you raise a hand and beckon to Nerio,
Darling, this mountain is so soft.
What corner of earth have we made our home?
And Nerio, who has just cinched her apron,
spins at the question, and looking back
over her shoulder with a bold wink,
says, Darling, where else but New England.
 
 
 
 



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