It’s all about forgetting now. Erasing
all the marks that have been dug into
the surface of your paper-thin belief
in the future. It ain’t gonna happen.
The data are being lifted right off
the magnetic strips. The names have
been changed, including yours, which,
by the way, has been trademarked
by an idiot on a cell phone, so kiss
it good-bye, sucker. We were paying
for duplicates. We re-submitted all
the requests. As you drive by, please feel
free to give everyone the finger. If you’d like,
we’d be happy to never speak to you again.
—Previously published in Smartish Pace
Uma Thurman, I am sorry for the pain you have suffered.
You are clumsy and disorganized, but not really dangerous.
You may leave now and drink your dry martinis.
Elizabeth Taylor, the floor shakes when you walk,
you have grown so obese, but not so much as to obscure
your beauty. You may dance with Marlon Brando
into the wee hours. James Dean, I have read all your letters
analyzing the difference between transsexuality
and transgenderality. Please put down that knife:
You are not going anywhere. Tom Cruise, when they
pulled the covers off you, you received the complimentary
diagnostic exam. Good luck. Kelly McGillis, remember
our night together? How you stumbled over all the words,
but everyone loved you anyway, then you reappeared
in a translucent nightgown and we all gasped at the sight
of your bare behind? That was fun. Natalie Wood:
Warren Beatty wouldn’t fuck you, so you went crazy.
You wound up working in a second-rate art museum
in Virginia, everyone thinking you were dead. Those
were the days. John Lennon, you were such a prick,
especially after falling under the spell of evil Yoko.
That just cannot be explained. Please come back from
the dead—it’s been done before!—and rescue
Uma from herself, and yourself from Yoko,
and me from this terrible sense of alarm.
—Previously published in New American Writing
Everyone is singing in the living room.
Songs about rebellion, horse trading,
rivers that never ever sever lovers.
Some are macaronic, some moronic.
People are modulating, right there in the room.
Elsewhere, the bathroom is in use. Men
are drinking in the kitchen. The world is far
away, inside the newspaper, under a bench.
Children come racing in and out. You hear them shout.
The songs sing to each other even while we’re silent.
—Previously published in An Sionnach