Chris Toll’s Life on Earth
Rupert Wondolowski’s Mattress in an Alley, Raft upon the Sea
Here are poems to entertain and enlighten during breaks from your last-ditch efforts to dig a luxury backyard bunker.
You’ll also find poems (such as the ones below) encoded with apocalyptic prophesies and escape hatches, a sort of missing manual to the Mayan calendar. And if you close your eyes and recite the poems three times backwards, a wormhole will open up. You’ll know what to do.
This Is How We Make a Broken Heart
Approximately 13.7 billion years ago,
an antimatter scientist
dropped an antimatter test tube.
In the summer of 1966,
Bob Dylan steered his motorcycle
into a curve.
Beneath a lilac bush,
the FBI sniper took aim.
Behind the tinted glass of a limousine,
the imposter memorized the lyrics
filed in a loose-leaf binder.
My poem comes from far away
and it’s going far away—
I’m just in the middle
like a lonesome TV station
with no employees.
The Angel of Death
has a black leather trench coat
draped around her shoulders.
She steps out of an elevator
and pulls her suitcase behind her.
An accordion folder full of legal briefs
balances on top of the suitcase.
Her black wool sport coat
lies across the accordion folder.
The sport coat falls off and hits the floor.
Side effects include unusual dreams.
When I stand up from my dead body,
my face is a howl of stars.
Some Late Night Thoughts of Mortality While Staring Glassy-Eyed at Karen Black
Look at you all chased by shin
high tribal fetish with razor sharp
spears! That little fucker wouldn’t
give up! Or bug-eyed and winsome
courageously daffy really
among a family of rich eccentrics.
The Ping Pong kept them human,
tables were everywhere in the ’70s
and the silenced Poundian father
gave them gravity.
Dithering alone to Tammy Wynette
without realizing you’re alone.
It really truly does often all
come down to trapped
in a truck stop restroom,
either puking and pregnant,
or puking and deserted
staring at what’s left
in a smeared reflection
passing for a mirror.
If you only knew
what was coming—
the global crash
the toxic air
you would grab
a few of those handy
rolls in the john
and construct what
is known as a shirker’s nest
and wait out a few nights.
If you think those hairs
on your chicken leg
were gross just wait
until Ronald Reagan
is upheld as a hero.