Volume 17:4, Fall 2016
A new dance craze
is sweeping the planet.
It has many names
but only one step,
a forward stomp.
Forward means progress.
In the craze of the crush,
there’s only one beat:
the incessant shout of the name
The dance floor is paved
with verminous faces
bearing that name.
Shout. Stomp. Repeat.
It’s endlessly exciting
and endless: no time
to think or clean up, ever.
Dance shoes are evil
unless washed in blood
in the purifying crush of the craze.
Did I say this was new?
I lied, of course.
Minuend, subtrahend, remainder:
Amazing, those words they drilled into Fatslug
that he’d never use again once he reached junior high.
The only real problem was one they never taught,
but that Fatslug encountered in his math book one day,
the authors’ idea of a joke:
10 – ? = ?
But the joke was always on Fatslug.
He learned you never really graduate,
but pass out of school to a series of classrooms
where your boss + ? = ?,
where your friends – ? = ?,
where your family x ? = ?,
where the girl at the bar ÷ ? = ?,
where the guy in the alley = ???
Everyone knew the answers, or said they did,
and made Fatslug sit at the back of the class.
He was the eternal subtrahend—
always subtracted, never added—
dismissed to slink to Detention Hall,
his forehead branded with a bright red F.
Note: “Fatslug, Subtrahend” appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of MiPoesias, edited by Grace Cavalieri.
Miles David Moore was a member of the 1993 DC Slam Team. He is founder and host of the IOTA Poetry Series in Arlington, Virginia; film reviewer for the online arts magazine Scene4; and a former member of the Board of Directors of The Word Works. His books of poems are Rollercoaster (The Word Works, 2004), Buddha Isn't Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999), and The Bears of Paris (The Word Works, 1995). To read more by this author: Audio Issue, Whitman Issue, Five Poems, Volume 3:4, Fall 2002.