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The Poetry of Max Burbank: Part 2
by: Max Burbank
 

ONE OF MANY SIGNS
ONE OF MANY SIGNS

I was thinking the other day
About Jackson Brown
Which I guess means
My medication
Is no longer working.


IT'S ME OR YOU
IT'S ME OR YOU

So I'm sitting on the couch
Reading comic books
And my daughter
Who's four
Says

"Christ, Dad;
You're fucking forty-two."

One of us
Has got to
Lay off the sauce.


PLANNING AHEAD IS USELESS
PLANNING AHEAD IS USELESS

Divorce Lawyer to the stars,
Marvin Mitchelson,
Died today.

He is survived by his wife
Of forty-five years,
Who, incidentally
Is free as of today,
Boys.

Now if I ever
Become a star
I will need
A different
Divorce lawyer.


UNTITLED #1
UNTITLED #1

In the turning of each leaf
I am reminded
How much
Winter
Sucks my butt.


PRIOR TO COMPASSION
PRIOR TO COMPASSION

Walking to the train
I noticed
I had
A dog's shadow
And not a good kind, either;
Not some happy ass wagger.
No, this was the shadow
Of a dog who'd seen
Better days
And featured
A decided limp.


PT CRUISER?
PT CRUISER?

On my way to work
I have to cross
A busy road.
Two lanes each way
No stoplight
No crosswalk.

Sometimes
I like to stop
In the middle
And think about
What make of car
I'd like to
Step in front of
One day.


GROW UP
GROW UP

People say
When you grow up
You'll stop wanting
Things you can't have
And feeling bad
About wanting
Things you can't have
But they just say
Shit like that
To keep their gums
Moist.


MY ADVICE
MY ADVICE

No, no, no.
Don't look
For people
To come back
Into your life.

Didn't you ever read
The damn "Monkey's Paw"?


MY NEW SONG
MY NEW SONG

It doesn't take much
Doesn't take much
Doesn't take much
To get me going
Oh no no no
Doesn't take much.

A lifted eyebrow
A little ankle
A saucy wink
Even if it's not to me;
An email
Or abandoned hair
A somewhat bitten pear
A 'candid' photo
Even if it's not of you;
I've got a good imagination.
It doesn't take much…

The scent of Lilacs
A falling leaf
Recycled bottles
A side of beef,
Anything you wear or touch or
Anything you've thought about,
Almost anything these days
Is dangerous;
I think I may have
Broke something
Or had a stroke
And its
Troubling

(Long pause)

(Deep Breath)

Goldfish crackers
Get me going
Desiccated Limes will
Get me going
And Eva Gardener
Gets me going
And even
Werner Klemperer;
I told you
It doesn't take much
Doesn't take much
Someone stop me
Someone stop me
Stop me

So
Thanks.


POPEYE'S LAMENT
POPEYE’S LAMENT

I knew this
Merchant Marine one time,
Retired I suppose

Living down the 'Y'
Tattoos On his
Ropy old arms so faded
Could've been anything,
An anchor, a hula girl
Maybe someone's name.

He had an old
Tin coffeepot,
Plug it in a wall;
Used to boil hotdogs in it,
Make Joe in the same damn water
Stir it with a dog
Eat the gray/red meat
Out of his own fist.

Not
A particular fella.

Says to me
"Kids today do not
Know dick.
Ink and metal hanging offa them
Twice as much
As this old Cannibal
I used to crew with
Outta Zimbabwe,
Name of Brutal Pete.
I saw that bastard
Bite a mans pinky off
As a joke one time.
We all Laughed! Safest thing.
Think one of these
Decorated Johnny Shitcakes
Got the stones to
Eat a finger?
Used to be you earned
The pictures and the scars.
I hear these A-holes
Put earrings in their nuts!
Christ!
That's not what your
Rig is for!
Call me Popeye
If you want to
What the hell, everybody else does,
Like I give a shit."

In my mind
I shrink him down
And make a dignified home
For him in an
Old "Superfriends" lunch box
I acquired at a yard sale.
Five bucks.
They had no idea.

I nail it to the wall
In my attic, kit it
Out with plastic
Furniture from
My kid's dollhouse
And a hammock
Carefully woven
Out of dental floss.

He'll have to get along
Without the thermos.
They were lined with glass
And fell to ruin easily.
It would have taken up
Too much damn space
Anyway.


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