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The Poetry of Max Burbank: Part 7
by: Max Burbank
 

ZEN PITFALL


Because my mammalian brain
Can only perceive time
As linear
I will never appreciate
That part of me will always be seeing
The woman in the black hoodie
Practicing banjo
On the banks of the Charles River.

Because my mammalian brain
Can only perceive time
As linear
I will never appreciate
That part of me will always be seeing
David Hasselhoff
Trying To eat a hamburger
Off the floor.


WHAT LOVE IS


If I got a wish
It would be that
For a best friend
I could have a Big Boy Statue
Come to life

And I would say
"Big Boy,
Set your burger down"

We'd go fishin'
And ride the Staten Island Ferry at sunset
And watch a meteor shower
Layin' on the Hood of the Old Man's car
And one day we'd ride a greyhound bus
To the Grand Canyon
And when we got to some
Real picturesque view
By mutually agreed pre-arrangement
I'd blow his Big Boy Brain out
And then run out into open space
Like Wile E. Coyote.


WHILE BRIEFLY IN NEW JERSEY


Retarded Bruce
Is not a retard
In the medical sense
But is so God Damn Dumb
There's nothing else to call him.

One time he damn near blew his thumb off
Holding a Roman Candle
'Cause he wanted to see
what would happen
if you held
a Roman Candle.

Well,
He saw all right.
What a God Damn Dope.


OH, BABYLON


When I was Eighteen
I drove cross country
In a used Cadillac Hearse
With Charlie the Tuna.

"One day you'll tell
your grandkids how you
used to eat me out of a can"
He says, one fin
Tickling the wheel real light,
"and they'll think
you lived in the
time of
fuckin' miracles..."

The radiator blew outside
Of Natches Arizona
And it was F.A. hot.
Sheltering in what little shade
Our petrified ride afforded,
Waiting on the Triple A,
We swapped stories of
The first time we got laid
Which for my part
Was a total lie.

"CHICKEN OF THE SEA
MY STRICTLY ALBACORE ASS!"
He howled out the window
When some trucker
Cut us off.

"Fish right out of
a God Damn Can.
Can you feature that?"
I'll tell 'em.
"And we played polo
on Tigerback
like Oriental Kings."


MY TRIP TO THE MALL


Chick on a
Magazine cover
Got her lips painted up
So dark red
Look like chunks of
Butchershop liver,
Lookin' all DEFIANT
All I can say is
"WHADDAYA WANT FROM ME,
standin' in line at a CVS
just tryin' a buy Claritin,
I gotta get my
Manhood questioned here?"

And everybody's
Staring at me

Again.



DINER OF LIFE


So I'm sitting at the counter
And there's this thing on my plate
Like I don't know
A skinned squirrel laying
On it's back staked out at the wrists and ankles
Like a Western Movie Cowboy
Left by savages for the ants
And sun;
And it's whipping its head back and forth
Scattering mashed potatoes
And overcooked broccoli
And cussing a blue streak at me.

"You son of a bitch! You damn
three-dollar whore! Cock grabber!
I'll kill you!
I'll KILL YOU!"

It's got nasty, flashy little teeth

And I know this isn't
What I ordered.


YARTSEIT


Hey Bigshot!
It would kill you once
To maybe call?

What, is it date night
Every night with you?
You got maybe an engagement
Johnny VIP?

I'm dead now thirty years
You forget me like an old sock?
Who taught you to play Gin Rummy,
Told you that joke
About the Chicken
And the dirty postcards?

I wasn't gonna haunt you
But now I've had it up
To here with the attitude.
I am gonna haunt you now like
Shit on toast
Whatever maybe I mean by that.
Big time the haunting see how you like it.

Go, go, go, go, go
Do what you need to do it's
So important.
I'll be here when you get back
No less dead.

Only if you could
Tell your mother
I said 'hi'.


SUMMER


I remember the last day
Of school, the sun would hang
On late into the night
Like it didn't want to let
The sky go.

And then the fire flies, which
Seem to be in short supply these days,
Would come on out and wink

And all us kids would run around as if
Running was all the entertainment
We needed, which
It was

And my Dad on the porch saying "The most
Effective mosquito repellent known
To man is Gin. A couple of these
And the blood suckers
Just vanish."

Later I became a teenager and
It all fell to shit but
Of course I was
An old soul by then
Busy moaning how I'd never get
A girlfriend. And if time
Sped up a little no one said

"It just gets faster, son
Blink twice, a deep breath
And you're half the way to dead."

On June twenty-second
The days are getting shorter
and if you take the time to
take a sigh
Leaves begin to turn. They
used to let us burn them
and I loved that smell
but all of that is sold at swap meets now,
yard sales and flea markets
A bunch of crap spread out upon a blanket
'each thing here
One buck'

An eight track tape
Of Three Dog Night,
A Charlie's Angels Lunchbox
And the summer I was ten years old.


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