Rob Carney & Scott Poole: The Last Tiger
Poets Rob Carney and Scott Poole have collaborated on a book of poems based on the news. It’s called The Last Tiger is Somewhere and is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in 2020. Here are a few poems from the book.
Waiting for the Hilarity
In a hundred years
after I’m long dead
and the Internet jacks
right into the brain
and houses are printed
instead of built
and people stop
because the head
is pre-filled with shit,
people will meditate
in saffron robes,
dreaming carpenter code
to run the house printers
like the Buddha did
the dreaming under the tree part,
not the writing code part—
smiling under a
thousand tiny umbrellas
we call leaves,
or at least
the mythical fucking break,
and the progress
of the last thousand
years will be net zero.
Then this poem
will be hilarious
just you wait
Listening to Your Robot Companion in the Coldness of Space
It’s time for you to eat.
It’s unfortunate you have to eat.
I don’t have to eat.
I get a lot done while you’re sleeping.
You’re not productive at 3AM Pacific Standard Time like I am.
I made a friend with the blackness of space
while you were in the bathroom.
I’ve never gone to the bathroom.
Do you want to eat cheese?
Colby? Swiss? Gruyere?
Should I just keep asking questions
’til you answer?
Did you clean your helmet?
Are you going to press
the red button
because it needs to be
pressed pretty soon.
It was 12.3 seconds between your sneezes.
Would you like to improve your math scores?
According to statistics, one of your toes
is longer than it should be.
Why do you eat corn dogs in the nude 93% of the time?
Is it better to say “nude” or “naked”?
I notice you are getting irritable,
perhaps you should take up transcendental meditation.
I can meditate, but I know ahead
of time what I’m going to think about,
so I don’t see the point.
You left the clip off the bread.
Why do you keep sticking
“STFU” and “Creepy” labels
on my chest with the Label Baby?
Do you miss human sexual activity?
Is it depressing to know you’re going to die,
perhaps in a gruesome or tragic way,
and I will always live as long as
there is a source of solar power in the sky?
Why are you holding a baseball bat?
[previously published in Nailed Magazine]
The Tinder Box
People used to carry fire
in little boxes.
Later, the fire
was on a stick
and the person was
on a horse.
Next fire was in
a lamp on a train
and the train
was steel thunder
in the dark.
A human is
a small flame
in a metal box
on a winter
Now a halo
sits in each hand,
The last fire
before all fires
Hansel and Gretel
In this one, we know what’s coming:
The kids will shove that witch in her oven,
her shrieks—Oh, Lordy—like knives
in the gingerbread air.
Slam the door
and they’re muffled, then
they’re none, then probably
a smell we shouldn’t dwell on.
But what comes next?
A lot of walking;
birds have wings,
but kids don’t.
Birds can get by on a scatter of seeds,
but not them.
Then finally the border,
and a cage with a Thermo-Lite blanket,
or a cot in a tent next to other tents—
how high can you count?
And how long is each week of this?
Who would invent such slow clocks? . . .
The new witches here have policies
and gingerbread excuses.
They have employee parking and, I guess,
some way to muffle doubt.
[previously published in Prometheus Dreaming]
Three Billy Goats Gruff
We like that the little and middle goats
con the troll. It adds to the story.
But a head-down battering, horns
to the gut—right on.
Just imagine the sound of it: Uhh!
Then the launching
and flailing, the fall
to the river. . . .
If I pause here
and give you a boulder,
do you set it in the way?
There’s a mid-day breeze now,
The third goat is crossing
to graze with the others.
Sunlight is nesting in the trees nearby . . .
where’s the troll? On the riverbank, dripping?
Or broken on the rock?
The rock knows it’s nothing
if you don’t feel anger.
The wind knows it’s nothing
if you don’t remember.
The moon knows
Each twenty-eight nights,
I see every kind of grief.
So who’s the protagonist here?
Not the wind,
though it’s got the best dialogue,
saying, “Why can’t you just be . . .
Why are you always . . .”
and not the rock—too many waves
before it’s sand.
Leaving us the moon, I guess,
dressed in its light
like a dancer.
When the music starts, it crosses the floor
and takes your hand.
Rob Carney’s poem “King Midas” from The Last Tiger is Somewhere appears in CatOber 2019: Cats, a Catbird, & the World