George Washington Just Told a Joke
Right there on the dollar bill.
Just now. Take a look.
His eyes are half-lidded
and his mouth is a flat line,
with the corners waiting to curl.
His expression says,
“Today, before breakfast,
I founded a country
based on the ideals
of freedom, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness
and now I’ve just told
a joke involving
a milk cow,
and a priapistic gopher.”
You never know,
he might have just
slipped that wig on
for comedic effect.
You can tell he’s thinking,
“Hey pal, I founded
this country for you.
Are you going to pee
your pants with laughter
now, or what?”
He looks like he’s
going to be
a little more
if you say no.
They say I should be remembering my
dreams when I wake up.
They say that if I kept a dream journal
the dreams would slowly start presenting themselves
one by one
like bits of birdsong at dawn.
I don’t think my dreams are going
to nonchalantly flutter in like that.
The last dream I had was about a parrot,
a parrot the size of an apartment building,
a parrot that was always looking through
the glass ceiling of my house,
a parrot which repeated
in squawking thunder
whatever I said to the entire city.
To make matters worse,
the parrot always got what I said wrong.
If I said, “I love the world,”
the parrot squawked, “He plays with himself.”
If I said, “I want to help my fellow man,”
the parrot squawked, “He’s coming over with a gun.”
If I said, “Shut up, you squawking candy colored piece of crap,”
the parrot would peck through the glass ceiling
and eat one of my dream children.
So I’m not writing any damn dream journal.
I don’t care what you say
and let the parrot worry about my actions
when they speak for themselves.
Standing in front of the
Maple Bar case, I can’t help
but think of the long stones
which linger along the shore
lined with sand
in the amber afternoon.
How far away is the coast?
How long to get there if I leave now?
How warm would it be?
Warm, like a light bulb,
a heat lamp, two heat lamps,
a wall of heat lamps?
What would my body
look like laid out long
on the smooth stones
along the shore?
When was the last time
I didn’t mind being
outside, in the full
grip of nature?
How did I arrive here
with the Maple Bars
at this time and place?
How did I wander so
far from the waves?
Giant Robot Love
The giant robot was depressed
so he fell asleep too long.
He was soon covered in grass.
It wasn’t long before people
were setting sprinklers on him
and dogs were defecating on him
and birds were picking worms from his tin.
Trees grew out of his chest
and one day he cracked open
from an earthquake.
The people discovered
a cave inside him and a massive
empty heart. A heart in which they could walk
through the rusty valves
too still for their imaginations.
The giant awoke to the clanging of his heart
and all the people crashed down
to the nether reaches of his body
as he stood up and sealed his chest.
He shaved the grass off his face.
He brushed the dirt
from his eyes and teeth.
He felt quite refreshed.
Then he walked to a bus stop
and wondered where he was
and when a double-decker bus pulled up
he couldn’t stop staring at her.
He couldn’t sit still
from the knocking inside the body,
from the faint shouting,
thinking this must be love.
Scott Poole is the author of three books of poetry, The Cheap Seats, Hiding from Salesmen, and, most recently, The Sliding Glass Door (Colonus Publishing, 2011.) He is the house poet for Live Wire!, a weekly radio variety show on Oregon Public Broadcasting that airs throughout the Pacific Northwest and 35 stations across the U.S. He was the founding director of Wordstock, the Portland, Oregon, book festival. The audio book of The Sliding Glass Door will be released in the spring of 2012.
Scott Poole at Colonus Publishing
Scott Poole and The Sliding Glass Door
Scott Poole at Live Wire! Radio
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