The Poem About a Machine That's Title Is As Long As A Stanza
The spaceman preferred Astromeria; the zoo keeper dandelion. The preacher bought Jack-in-the-pulpit; the ingénue, the rose. It was hydrangeas for the plumber; the banker took the stock. The mechanic bought carnations. The optician, eyed the iris. But the cyborg, poor fellow, just loitered at my kiosk Because he had no nose.
‘Tis the difference between us, he told me, as he stood staring longingly at the tulips, I end when I'm disassembled, you rot when you grow old.
But you can smell the flowers
You can smell the flowers You can smell the flowers
I have only words for tears.
Because they didn’t know Zukarov or Pushkin, Molotov, or Stravinsky, Crumrumple blocked the classroom door. Before they could hide under their desks, grab scissors, or reach the cell phones he’d confiscated in the A.M. Crumrumple shot them. Bloody mess, and for what? Left behind too many times? Unable to appreciate Art Appreciation? Sub-standard deviation? Crumrumple’s a crazy cracker bastard. Elitist. Racist. Sexist. Homophobe. But democratic. Crumrumple shot them all. Except, Before he fired the bullet of a new fifty round clip, He stopped his finger from pulling. Banta! What’re you doing in class today, When you’re usually absent? The others had no excuse, but you... You can’t help being ignorant. What would Stalin do? Crumrumple held his rifle in one hand long enough to salute the hapless beggar, Who came to get a Valentine, Before finishing the job.
How’d it happen, I wonder. Black and silver flecked marble replaced by white plush pile carpet. I heard no explosion or battering ram breaking down the ivy covered walls. Buba Moody surveying the wreckage hand holding the newest names immortalized in Chinese plastic slats to be held by faux-wood holders, to be nailed below the brass plates bolted to the side of offices, says Joe, don’t pay it lip service, there’s nothing we can do but retire like Ogden here, the last man standing, he’ll bounce when he finally falls. Wasn’t he the one who wrote the paper on Patton? Or was that Dr. Mike? No. His passion was epic poetry. Will they remove the headstones too, do you think? The way they removed our pensions and the portraits of the professors. If they do, history will be lost. Look here, the marble and brass required our attention, to keep their honor shined. Demanded that we care that it remain solid. Eternal. Joe, don’t regret. Many took heart while it lasted. Forging freedom from the ruins of tyrants. Buba slid the eight inch nameplates into their appointed dull-brown slots, new inhabitants with names like Nancy, appellations like Amy and Cheryl, under the tarnished remnants of lettered men.
Jenean McBrearty is retired teacher who spends her time taking on-line classes, drinking tea, and pretending she's a princess or, on a cloudy day, Norma Desmond. Website: Jenean-McBrearty.com