Friday, November 9, 2012

Mark Laba


A sinister warning came,
carried on the wings of
a hesitant budgie.
“Capitalist pig,” it chirped.
“You said it, toots,”
I replied, beating my face like
exfoliated meat on
the typewriter keys.
What was it to be?
A speechless couple ready to punch my ticket?
A photo of Orson Welles in his underpants plucking a chicken?
A cravat with cigar burns, lying on the side of a desert highway?
All I know is that if you weighed my despair
it would be about half a pound of flank steak,
not taking into account its
parasitic twin, Frederick, heir to a hairless mole rat fortune,
all his when he turns eighteen.
Damn him. I wear the galoshes in this body.
There’s murder in the air, as imminent as
the murder of crows darkening my breakfast nook
where I eat Cap’n Crunch and stare down the budgie.
“You should’a been a crow,” I say, between satisfying and crunchy mouthfuls.
“You should’ve been Hans Christian Anderson dying of mushroom poisoning. But instead it’s just you and your carpet sample book that you pleasure yourself with on the shores of Lake Erie and that, buster, is more than anyone needs to see.”
I looked out the window.
The sky was like a giant pinball machine.
I thought, Nobody has any business being here,
especially me,
but then again, if I were a one-armed xylophone player from Baltimore,
well, that would be a whole different story.

Mark Laba is the author of many books and chapbooks of poetry, including Dummy Spit (The Mercury Press, 2002) and Movies in the Insect Temple (Proper Tales Press, 1981). His chapbook The Mack Bolan Poems (Gesture Press, 1986) won the bpNichol Chapbook Award. He is the co-author, with Stuart Ross, of the pork-noir novel The Pig Sleeps (Contra Mundo Books, 1991), and his poems were included in the anthology Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence (The Mercury Press, 2004). You can also read his highly thought-provoking work on Mark lives in Vancouver.

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