Monday, February 21, 2011

Paul Handley: Five Poems


      Had You Going

I hold out my ineptness as a badge of pride.
Here, hold your hand out and touch it
and don’t get stuck on the snap in the back pin,
held by a protective bar that puts the engineering marvels
of the car airbag to self-reproach,
and by the way (btw) would pop if the sticker was let loose,
held by the badge of courage to be
wielded like a drunken knight errant.

I don’t know what errant meant,
but the Latin nomenclature leads me to believe
is a crusade or any number of them,
that turned out to be errands of error.
Why don’t you know this?
See what I did?  I turned on the reader
to deflect my ignorance of the subject and
my implausible explanation.
Had you going for a second, didn’t I?

      Profit Motive

My fish taco in Colorado went missing.
The one with the big dorsal fin,
reminding me that growing the economy
should be left to the experts
appointed by those who have a handle on the sway,
since the business of government or a slice anyway,
is winning Nobel prizes in areas that are not profitable.

If I’m understanding correctly,
and I haven’t got in that deep to it,
the government wants to help streamline
the science necessary to transport a fish taco (what you were needing),
to an arid future, in a market nearby,
increasing walkability scores.


For now, my corduroys are in the basement bin.
As the seasons change the bin is unlatched,
spurting a puff of air that smells like dream
I usually have in April,
when what is too warm or thin
is sealed into a Tupperware coffin.
The brown cords lean in whenever I
visit, hoping Fall has come.

Will they smell burning leaves in its optimism?
I cannot take you all with me
and the hired firebug assured me
it would be quickly contained.

     Another Dollar

Early that morning I went for a jog
when I couldn’t sleep and realized
work started in a couple of hours.
To save a commute, I napped outside
the employee’s entrance in back
and woke up looking like a scarecrow jock.

The owner wanted us to feel ownership in a limited way,
so she let us try out a marketing idea each month.
I gave a little push to the revolving door after
customers entered to give them a breather.
An illusion of energy.  Strength

To pass the time I went to every aisle and tried
to look like the statue of liberty doing downward dog.
To anyone who asked, I resolved to respond
“I know” and then walk away
with head bowed and fixed lips,
as if trying to contain a smirk.

To test our desensitization we rolled in dollar bills
behind the counter, until they felt worthless
and wished for tens, etcetera.
The new clerk was cool,
but at what point does his global avowal of “rock and roll”
sound like “let’s watch a musical
featuring Flapper and Gibson girls?”
Shifts up.  I’m out.


Dumping contents of pocket,
including cell phone,

You are loaded up.
It’s amazing what society demands
of us nowadays.
You’re crazy.
No, you’re crazy.
Why are my sociological observations
fodder for fun.
Did you just say that?
Fodder?  Yes, I said fodder.
That’s just heinous isn’t it?
Listen to yourself.

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