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     Past Fiddle Creek, p.2

       RC Monson / Humor
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I think I know her well, yet I
can only explain her hows and whys
in terms of a pulsar,
smooth and firm and pulsing,
spinning out some cryptic tune
concerning heavy dark matter
and the end of time and space.
Gravity wins.

Alone at my telescope now,
the center of my universe
dances a deadly orbit round
an invisible black hole,
where everything’s torn to bits,
subatomic particles,
and then nothing,
and then less than nothing,
like what’s her name,
the one with starry eyes
and the gentle manner
of a Klingon warrior woman.
O blissful whirlwind
of compulsive self-destruction,
where will you take me next?

Somewhere off in the distant night
a star explodes and in a swirl
carbon and oxygen and iron race
toward some vast unknown potential,
roiling and moiling with mystery
that summons me
into a dark interstellar medium,
somewhere on the outskirts
of my ever-expanding universe,
where sirens sing a quasar song
and infant stars are born.
On Klamath Lake
A feverish dream starts to freeze,
first along the snow-crusted shoreline
then spreading contoured ribs
into the soft, steaming middle,
and what makes it so bright and cold
crystalizes into the severe opaque
of the wintertime of her affections

I realize she’s not finished punishing,
and I’m beginning to numb
against frostbitten waves of aversion,
for this is the moment of transition,
an instant charged with silver auras
when I no longer give a damn
and the hurting drifts off like frosted breath

I’m in a rowboat without any oars,
way out on this enormous body of water,
and the fish are flying overhead
and the birds are swimming down below.
I can barely see her on the distant shore,
a tiny hourglass, cracked and spewing out
the molten sands of an avid nemesis

The frigid air, harsh and dry as wisdom,
makes me ache just a tad, down deep,
as if I’m experiencing nothing more
than the later stage of growing pains,
and what vague little sense it all makes
seems to be more than enough
salmon eggs at the heart of the matter
The Only Truth
I breathe in sky and give it back
to plants that process sunlight into sugar.
Oxygen factories bloom springtime buds.
My nose whiffs in the pungent scents,
and crisp exuberant green
is the only truth
my body really knows.

Summertime highs pressure surge.
Arroyos rechart the course of flash floods.
Dust devils whirl round weeds atumble.
Sand dunes turn to glass as I erupt,
and red-hot raging fury
is the only truth
my body really knows.

Inky clouds blot out all heavenly hope.
In the graveyard, death’s doorsteps
line up like granite welcome mats.
Cool autumn rain mingles with warm tears,
and harsh blue darkness
is the only truth
my body really knows.

Snowdrifts gleam in frigid moonlight.
Cold drafts penetrate the walls,
but you snuggle up close, tell a good joke.
The hearth is warm, the fire crackling,
and ember-glow orange
is the only truth
my body really knows.
Orlando Begat Robert Who Then Begat Me
Faint smells of vomit and urine
Cigarette smoke and a legacy of sick-sweet perfume
I sit in a tawdry honky-tonk
Two-steppers deftly glide by
They remind me of my father
Quite a dancer in his time
He had a penchant for crying in his beer
And subsequently drank himself to death
At age fifty-three
But not you, Ole
Orlando Isadore Monson
You out-lived your only son
More than ten years
And you never let on
At Dad’s funeral you said
“It’s a good life if you don’t weaken”

I came away wondering
If you thought I was him
And now, I wonder still
I’ve heard the tales of your punch-drunk exploits
The singing, the dancing, the stories
All thick with Norwegian yodel
The old Plymouth that could find its own way home
Even your ugliest vices possessed
A simple, old-fashioned charm
Dark horse, rebel of a bygone era,
Your insatiable zeal for life made us think
You were too stubborn, too mean to die
Shot glass still wet on my whiskey lips
Hot-bellied afterglow of poisonous euphoria
Hot smoke further enhances the numbing effect
Country minstrels butcher another sad ballad
Shaded figures dance in a Day of the Dead parade
Each new death, a resurrection of past deaths

I remember the night you barged into the bathroom
Presumably unaware of my presence
There between you and your intended target
I stood shivering, mid-piss, terror stricken
My child’s eyes gazed up as you proceeded to
Blubber and fart and take a leak in the sink
Dreaming about the Catholic girl you married
How you got yourself disowned by the family
Lumber-jacking, building your own houses
Snooker at the tavern you owned in the thirties
And all the loopy Nez Perce squaws you fucked
Near my table, draped over a handrail
The mop-up towel hangs on
Like a stumbling lush trying to regain balance
Nagging pain behind one eye
It’s time to propose a toast to the memory
Of generations passing on
Banker on Your Back
Zero to sixty
like a big cat
pouncing the fast track
brilliant metallic mirror
slick and sleek
and cheetah quick
nimble coupe or convertible
swerving lane to lane
in and out of traffic
past orange barrels
flatulent buses
blazing past those
“lollygagging seniors
clueless soccer moms”
who panic and slam on the brakes
leaving in your wake
a ten-car pile up

But what do you care?
You’re living a TV commercial
moving out ahead of the pack
a cut above the rest
as long as somebody’s
sucking your fumes
you’re happy to carry
the banker on your back
you’re glad to dish out
twenty or thirty grand
as long as you can backshift
bap bap bap bap bap
and nudge your big
rectangular butt
right in front of a furious
bird-flipping taxi driver

Congratulations, fuckhead,
you’re first to get to the stop light
Haiku Postcards from the High Plains
7 June

Rustling pine needles comb back
the long striding mane
of brisk mustang winds.

16 June

Red earth
turquoise sky
Indian loaves like blistered prairie dunes
—the Jemez.

22 June

Green spiked, high-plumed,
desert urchin clutches the rocky bottom
of a long-lost sea.

30 June

Crusty boot
up side down
on a fencepost beside molted
cicada skins.
Corrida de Gallo Now
Bumble bees gather pollen
Springtime turns to summer
Mountain runoff, a dribbling trickle
Time for the village rain dance
Bold young men don Casanova masks
They swarm to nightclubs, honky tonks, taverns
All across the land

Young ladies primped and preened
Bury a live rooster up to the neck
Young men, and some not so young
Angry, frustrated, horny
We resent the meat-market atmosphere
Of the ritual but willingly do our part
We race for the rooster
On froth-clouded mounts
Swinging down low in the stirrup
Dripping sweat from dust-streaked brows
Trying to jerk that rooster by the head
From its living grave in parched soil

In the heat of excitement
Someone pulls the rooster’s head off
Women’s voices shriek and swoon
Sudden bursts of angry words
Trigger an explosion of unfettered fists
Beer bottles break
One noble rider hits the ground
The bouncer priests forcibly ejaculate
Thunderheads gather
For the seeding, and a hushed, post-violent
Awe pervades the crowd
As spattering raindrops rinse away
Drops of blood on the ground
Noelle’s Pastels
Lavish mountain landscapes jitterbug
across the canvas like gnats at play
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