Matt Rotando

 

IN STUMBLEVILLE, A PACK OF WORLDLINGS

A pack of infantile worldings runs across visionary lobster traps. Crucifying nothing, incandescence leaves their fingers. Feet barely touch the traps. A bound fool runs behind, blunders a candle, goes out with ritual gesture. Bringer of non.

Facts keep everyone's heads cool when dead folks crowd the mayor's house. Leaders emerge from the breakfast nook, colossal haircuts in waves of comic shots. Downtown is full of honchos.

Before elections, municipal leaders switched with men in service industry. Now old janitors drink all day soda-pop, digging for clams at the mud flats.

A quick dog runs up and down every aspect of local life.

Men are steamrolled by area rug saleswomen. Your floors are too slippery, they say. Do you want your poor child, or worse, your poor wife, to break her delicate bones? A tramp, convinced he is king, keeps an eye on himself.

From the jelly factory, the sound of loudly whirring blades. Not as sharp as we could hope, but some consolation after the abuse the town received in the radio exposé.

To be alone in this world. To be accompanied, too.

At the pub, an insect wing descends from the gullible ceiling, cheered on by beer mugs. A poster of Yip Man, Bruce Lee's teacher, hangs on the wall outside the high school. Students must bow low before entering. The county is endothermic.

Villagers could something if they weren't at a loss. They've documented this shamanistic hodge-podge before, but it's penned in the attic at the old movie house.



NIGHT OF THE REFORMED PIRATE

Snapped with city and life I tore at fabric I could catch.
My head pounded, there was a rushing sound, water daddy-o'd
round my flowerpots, no whip or lock to attach
to the yellow bus or the thin diver hiding in the reeds. I bellowed

unconsciously to my fingers, "Will you work with me on this flight?
Or do I have to pole through shrubs like a tortoise
or a shroud of tortillas?" No answer so I roamed high
over Nordic skies, aloof to the rumblings of my Valhallan ancestors,

pounding their chests and shaking snow from nubby Swedish shoes,
wondering hard at things like garage doors and enamel-covered frogs.
"Why stop here?" I wondered to myself when I came upon a lonely blue
newspaper pinned to a sand bar, wailing under a sensitive lapdog,

plainly dealing out words from it's headlines such as, "Amnesiac New York
Baseball Star Found in Nevada Brothel, Working as Bellhop, Decides to Remain."
Picking up most of an old sailor's experiential knowledge, I tossed three brain-
sized coconuts high in the air, pierced them all with one sinewy report

from the barrel of my eel gun, and gulped down sweet milk before
they landed at my nickel-plated feet. Hearing the distant metallic echo
of a tag sale, I jumped back into my portable steeple and paddled off
to Cousin Island, where everyone is cousins with everyone else, even the old.

Never very chivalrous, I changed my ways then and there and presented the king,
my mother's uncle's son, with a month of Sundays and an alarming watercolor
I had painted while roaming the ocean floor in a tubercular submarine. Huge pink
tubas and Spanish galleons lay in deep sand, swaying in the pallor

of two moons. Gold was piled high in forests and men veered
about, heads in hands, libraries issuing from their ears.

 


THE GOD THAT IS WITHIN ME RECOGNIZES THE GOD THAT IS WITHIN YOU

Walking the beach with a startled face, a curious widower wonders aloud about Robert Redford: Does he go to bed happily, in his fame? After a long day of strolling, do his feet swell as much as mine? Does he, icon in his time, think about the small man, like myself, who wears the same suit to weddings and funerals?