Mad Hatters' Review Issue 10, Fall 2008
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Poetry by
Steve Katz

TOTAL RECALL

Artwork by Marty Ison

I

Since 9/11 the airports ripen with human stress. Luggage is adrift. Itineraries float away, sucked into ventilators. Clothes smell of rotten tropics and spilled glue. Sour parents drenched in sweat drag ear-splitting children across the terminals on sequined leashes. Grey wanderers, ponytailed ocean hopping geriatrics, drool over their walkers as they thump to the ticket counters. Backpackers, gaunt as greyhounds, flee the drought, waving their empty water bottles, driven to their knees by thirst, edge through the concession galleries. The air is full of muttered destinations – Indianapolis, Fez, Meat Cove, Kyoto, Pitigliano. The nabobs of haute couture, naked to their labels, with their claques of bony models, also stripped to their socks, creep on hands and knees, slowly through the security gates, propelled only by their flatulence. Will they make tomorrow’s shoot? Fart – slip. Will they get to their own runways on time? Strutters of damaged glamour, of the recent pop culture, middle class MTV street monkeys, queens of punishment, peachy kids of the latest spin, pierced and tattooed, oozing infections, are sniffed by dogs as they leave slime trails down the aisles finding their assignments – 27F, 16A, 32C. The coffee cups, the sandwich bags, the foot-long and foil-wrapped, stirred into the molasses at their feet. Coughs resound like ice cracking on a lake, and nosepickers extract six inch whips of snot, and beards crusted with croissants coagulated in diet drink, and ears leaking dull yellow flux, and sodden pants, and cleavage brimming with mucus, and socks swollen with excrement. O Heathrow. O LAX.

Only some luminous ones, who dream of nowhere, drifting forth from Times Square, pass unseen in their glowing catafalques. Their golden tonsils ring like chimes, and they embark without resistance, unfrisked, unsniffed by dogs, tripping no alarms, they depart, rocking aloft to their destination, the island “tide-undone-mitten-moment” where they sleep together in tight spiral bunches of fog. Since 9/11.

 

II

Since 9/11 the frowns of all the mullahs, of the Bush president with his grim Cheneys and Ashcrofts and Rumsfelds, and those frowns too of uncovered frauds of CEO’s and CFO’s, leaking scarlet from the corners of their mouths, the blood of their swindled employees, and frowns of all the ministers and secretaries of joylessness and greed, all these frowns have been inverted like bowls to fill with flames that might glint off the armaments of true conviction did they not poison and choke with stupefying smudge. Since 9/11.

 

III

Since 9/11, barrel by barrel, the sadness of oil speaks out for itself, and soon from its Pleistocene dreaming sings songs long forgotten by the masters of deliverance. Since 9/11.

 

IV

Since 9/11 all the free dentists of the free world have convened and at their conference they’ve agreed to a policy of jaw enforcement, for the general good. Basically this will require the production of steel mouth and bite, furnished with steel teeth, which shall be installed in all the mouths of the threatened populations of the free world, and these dentists with their technicians shall conduct advanced workshops in nip, snap, grind, rip, chew. Since 9/11.

 

V

Since 9/11 all the significant American sculpture of century twenty has been rolled, folded, conceived, crunched, melted into a ball of approximately the size of Baltimore, where now it sits and eclipses the sun, multicolored, round and huge, in the inner harbor – American sculpture, ready to roll. Since 9/11

 

VI

Since 9/11 bovine or ovine or serpentine or feline or vulpine or porcine or equine or canine or porcupine or turpentine or appenine or concubine or anodyne or columbine or strychnine so inclined humankind mine and thine benign or malign. What great stories ind or ine! Will the next true speaker please transmit? Since 9/11.

 

VII

Since 9/11 all the idling virgins stalled in Los Angeles and environs have donated their veins supple and tough to braid into a line that stretches from Los Angeles to Angeles Los, and from this line we hang the consonants, all the unused fricatives and labials, so many of them, so pitifully many consonants unused -- mmmmmmmmm kkk pppppppppp xxxxxxx qqqqqqqqqq fffffffffff Since 9/11.

 

VIII

Since 9/11 the explanation of the explanation of the words of the explicator of the explanations to the confrontation of the issues confronted in the conflagrations available to the conflicted, restricted to the adversary peoples in high definition black and white or simulations in color, and in all nine dimensions. Since 9/11.

 

IX

Since 9/11 every university in the world of the serious has liquefied and overflowed its source into two large catchments, one designated pond of sorrow, the other pond of joy. Although agitation everywhere is the oxygen of choice, the surface of these ponds shines like satin bedsheet newly stretched, but underneath, visible dimly in the depths, something is being administered, something is going on, there is some administration.
Since 9/11.

 

X

Since 9/11 all the original people who once were heard before the name of god was used to separate our whelps into demonic strategies of conquest, destruction, and murder, have spun a net of indestructible human alloy, and have cast it to gather all of us head over foot, tumbled back to front. Since 9/11.

 

XI

Since 9/11 all the birds – grosbeaks and cormorants and doves and titmice and parakeets and guillemots and juncos etcetera etcetera – have left the planet and are winging in formation towards another or another place. Grace of the kindly suasions of the auk spirits and dodo ghosts they have left us the shadows of their songs, for the rabble still sweating in the smoke, in the streets. They can be accessed on line at __________. Dee dah dum dum dum, dee dah dum dum… Since 9/11.

 

XII

Since 9/11:

Osama bin Laden
Bush Bush Bush
Osama bin Laden
Bush Bush Bush

Saddam Hussein      BushBush
Saddam Hussein      BushBush
Condoleeza Condoleeza Condoleeza Rice

Yasser    Yasser    Arafat
Yasser    Yasser    Arafat
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon

Since 9/11.

 

XIII

not in service

 

XIV

And 9/11 be soon to die    and 9/11 first zip your fly
And 9/11 hello to you    and 9/11 and goodby too
And 9/ll when heaven falls    and 9/11 assume them all
And 9/11 return to god    and 9/11 give up your bod
And 9/11 get up and fight    and 9/11 sit down good night
And 9/11 come get a grip    and 9/11 let’s take a trip
We’ll go out to the Hebrides    and travel all the seven seas
And 9/11 we’re terrified    and 9/11 it’s genocide
And 9/11 come kiss your son    and 9/11 remember mom
And 9/11 we’ll escalate    and 9/11 to penetrate
And 9/11 come have a drink    and 9/11 we’re on the brink
And 9/11 we’ll start to shop    and 9/11 we’ll never stop
And 9/11 we’ll buy a goose    and 9/11 the goose is loose
And 9/11 will break your heart    and 9/11 we can’t depart
And 9/11 banality    and 9/11 criminality
And 9/11 we love love you    and 9/11 love love us too
And 9/11 go big bang boom    and 9/11 give us some room
And 9/11 it’s classified    and 9/11 now come inside
And 9/11 a planet dies    and 9/11 it’s euthanize
And 9/11 you make a wish    and 9/11 you catch some fish
And 9/11 a matzoh ball    and 9/11 the cous-cous call
And 9/11 reenter joy    and 9/11 reenter joy
And 9/11 just enter joy    and 9/11 you enter joy
And 9/11 and enter joy    and 9/11 and enter joy
And 9/11 and enter joy    and 9/11 and enter joy
And enter joy and enter joy and enter joy and enter joy

 

XV

And on the island of barbershop-mainline-fallopia-snipe those radiant ones ungather one by one and start to separate by ripping through their illuminated shells of green gold and yellow gold and platinum violet and silver blue, precious shells, and they emerge blinking slowly like turtles from their eggs. They swing their weighty heads from side to side and creep forward crying, their voices like unoiled hinges, “unique” “unique” “unique”, as they slip one by one following each other into the churning milk of these alabaster seas.

 
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