Archive for the ‘Mervis H. Squirman’ Category

It seems as though we sleep sometimes
on onionskins and coffee grounds
so that when we wake,
the gardenias will smell better.

— Mervis H. Squirman


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I have traveled the antennae
and come to a sharp stopping point.
I reach for the wall to break the fall,
but a whip of cable appears in my hand.
Double fisted at 4 a.m.
The radio is coming clear,
God is on the request line,
asking for Johnny Cash again.

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I am dripping
with saliva from the mad man
who slipped me
out of his mouth.

Regressed, a yolk from an egg shell,
I sit here incomplete.

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I. Performance

He blew the back of his skull onto the white
square titles. The walls are never clean
in the public johns.
His occipital plate contacted and shattered,
finely sprayed blood and clumsily
scattered brains. His saliva stained
the gun barrel from where he drooled,
tongue-tied to find
some decent last words other
than the note he’d written.
There was no one to hear him anyway.
He had checked under the doors
of all the shitters.
At three a.m. only
crazy fucks would be found
in a subway station.
He knew that.
The note pinned to his underwear read:
“The sharper the knife, the deeper the cut. Whether they love you
or hate you, so long as they remember your name.”

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I. The Regular

Rodale tends bar at The Dancing Artichoke.
The first night I patronized the ‘Choke,
Ants crawled my leg, the seat of my slacks
were stained and I ran out of money.
She’d interrupt me when I was trying to write
letters to win Amelia back from the cattle ranch,
or, worse, prevent from cuckolding some Texan
cowboy with a pick-up truck.
A man I gave shelter, a man who left with my sight.

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I. Secret Knowledge

I sit outside the Coach and Four
sometimes to smoke,
sometimes to acknowledge a secret love
for my Amelia. Sometimes both.

I know how people look without clothes covering
the choppy bumps and misplaced bones.
My name is Mervis H. Squirman.
I am an ornithologist,
that is, a bird

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