We light candles and are thankful for the gas stove poaching our eggs. Some in this city think the end of times is near and head to Wal-Mart for two-week supplies of necessities, as if a fortnight were eternity and salvation came in plastic bags. We're not so prepared.
There is no life beyond the permanent power outage, except for terriers and pidgeons. Our basement is no cellar. We anticipate a few good meals before our food runs out or spoils.
Two of my poems--"Auto-Collaborations" and "From the Adhesive"--were recently published in Free Verse's special supplement "New Voices of New England." Read them here. Scroll down once you get to the page. I'm just after Rob McDonald and just before John Cotter. That's quite a line-up, folks. Thanks to Chris Tonelli for choosing the poems.
The world came back from the dead to discover that humans had taken over and ruined everything. So the world smoked a lot of pot and wrote limpid little poems about spring that nobody in the world gave two shits about but the world wrote them anyway because it made him happy, and because he was so high all the time that it always felt like spring, even when the world had just been dumped on by twelve inches of snow. The ice trucks came rattling down the streets of the world, but the world didn't know it. There it sat, with its Bermuda sandles on, reclining in its giant beach chair, snow swirling about its hoary head, and nobody even noticing its decadence. The newsmen came on and spoke about apocalypse but the world knew better. He had better know better: after all, he had been to the abyss and back. To take a simile from one of the world's best poems, it had been like swallowing a strychine sandwich that had been left on the counter for weeks and then attempting to do jumpingjacks into socks lined with brass tacks. But that's the beauty of a simile, it's always just like or as, never is. The world didn't really eat that sandwich, fyi. The poem was loosely based on a real-life incident involving some rotten tuna salad and a pair of ill-fitting shoes.
I called my land land from my cell phone to hear myself in stereo. Hello, I said in both ears. It's me. How are you, I said. Fine, I said. The land line beeped with a call waiting. I put myself on hold to answer the other call. It was my friend in Rome calling me on Skype. He had gone there to convalesce in the warm Mediterranean sun, and had recently pgraded his account to call land lines. I asked how many land lines he called nowadays, since everyone was going mobile. More than you'd think, he said. I'd think you'd call about three people, I said. He said, nope. I said, about five? Wrongo, he said. Well, how many then, I asked, but before he could tell me I remembered about my other line. Hold on, I said, be right back. Sorry about that, I said aloud to myself. But I think I had stayed on the other line for so long that I had pissed me off. I was beginning to apologize when my cell phone vibrated. It was another call coming in, this one from my wife. Be right back, I said, and clicked the green phone icon. Hi Honey, I said. When are you coming home from work, she said. I don't know, I said. I'm busy. My lines have rung all day. I'll call you back, I said, and then switched back over to my first call where I'd been growing more and more impatient with myself. You put me on hold for forever. No I didn't, I said. Yes, you did, and you forgot that I had my friend in Rome on the other line the whole time, you big dickhead, I screamed. I hung up one phone and then the other. I felt superior, then inferior.
I must remember to turn on the oven in half an hour, while the bread is finishing rising, to heat up the pot that holds the dough. This poem serves as a reminder. Instead of jotting on Post-It notes stuck to the regfrigerator, I'll post poems to a blog. The string around my finger. In the breakfast nook where I type the penciled bird on the wall is still dead and there is a German print of pigs: Marschschwein and Tamworthschwein. Out the window the neighbor's dog is pointing at nothing, now barking. UPDATE: Emily has turned on the oven.