John Amen: Two Poems
Instant Message from a Bigwig | Meanwhile
Instant Message from a Bigwig
I'm playing checkers with a rabbi
while his messenger massages my feet.
The Ark has sprung a leak again.
Zebras are eating the magnolia blooms.
I was supposed to be in London
four days ago, but the mist swelled
like a snake bite, and now I'm stranded
outside this convoy of trailers, this crescent
of all-you-can-eat restaurants. Heat
pounds like a railway tie. Nothing gives.
The rabbi orders a container of turpentine
and blesses his messenger, who leaves
on a bicycle with a flat tire. A woman
late for bingo drives recklessly, hits him
head-on three minutes and forty-one seconds
later. The idiot savant predicts a famine, though
no one hears him, absorbed in wedding plans.
By the time I reach dream number one million,
I will have become God. Chased the equinox
barefoot through snow. Collected wheat
during a frog-storm. Signed Judas's petition.
Already something else is ending.
At the courthouse, a tailor was
being sentenced. It was raining tofu.
The hibiscus, like a snail, slept
inside its folded bloom. Sidewalks
groaned beneath the heels of bassinets,
mothers baring their breasts at prayer hour.
Someone cut down the hanging tree.
Somebody's son fondled a trigger.
The operation was a success.
Geese were trapped in the funeral tent,
wings burning like chandeliers.
A few days later, a clown emerged
from a darkroom, his throat on fire
for the first time. Odd things commenced.
No one believed that water flowed uphill.
The sun did not rise. Gravity lifted like an embargo.
We glued ourselves together, marched on.
John Amen's debut poetry collection, Christening the Dancer, was released by Uccelli Press in 2003, and has been nominated for various national awards, including the Oscar Arnold Young Award and the Brockman-Campbell Prize. He has published poetry and fiction in various magazines and journals, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A new musical recording, All I'll Never Need, will be released by Cool Midget Records in 2004. He is also an artist, working primarily with acrylics on canvas. Further information is available on his website: http://www.johnamen.com. Amen founded and continues to edit the award-winning literary bimonthly, The Pedestal Magazine.