Volume 14:4, Fall 2013
Prose Poem Issue
Call me Joe, he said, wading ashore, Ohayu gozaimasu! He spewed a pint of sweat from his suits ankle, stroked a double bass with resin-coated gutta-percha gloves. Fishing boats swamped themselves in his wake; two Toyota Celicas flew honking from his mouth. We cried, Oh, terrible gorilla-whale, spare us the frothy conflagration of your immense radioactive anger! Okey-dokey, he said as he melted radio towers with his breath, But you know what this means. And he held up thousands and thousands of hard rubber suitsgreen as Alamogordo glassall unzipped, and gaping, and waiting for us to put them on, to surrender, to join.
Leaving The City
The city is an animal that turns geometry into rubble. Before dawn, I went to the roof of our building. Highways coiled the far outskirts, twisting and roaring through the dark, serpents of light swallowing themselves. I woke my brothers. We left our building, that blind father. We started walking away, tattered rags of our breath in the cold air.
Empty lots and wide boulevards, overpasses and medians, a thousand tubes of light, the citys membrane. If there was a border we did not know when we crossed over. Damaged ground knitted itself together. Trickles of water ran through iced furrows. Under foot, shards and rocks grew smooth. The city was thinning out, wearing down, abrading at the edges. The sun peaked and lumbered down the wests steep dome. We were at the top of a bare hill salted with snow. On the far side, more hills as far as we could see.
I turned and looked back down at the city, the tall buildings, the empty sockets of their windows, the empty spaces, the grid of streetlights, their sodium glow. Everyone there was asleep, but trucks were pulling in and workers were unloading machines and wheeling them through the streets. Hundreds and hundreds of them, tall and wide and heavy. Gleaming and unknowable. These were the machines that would own us. This is where a story would begin.
Michael Gushue is co-publisher of the nanopress Poetry Mutual, and co-curator of Poetry at the Watergate. His most recent book is I Never Promised You a Sea Monkey (Editorial Pretzelcoatl, 2017), a collaboration with CL Bledsoe. His other books are the chapbooks Pachinko Mouth (Plan B Press, 2013), Conrad (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2010), and Gathering Down Women (Pudding House Press, 2007). His satirical advice column, with CL Bledsoe, How To Even, can be found at: https://medium.com/@howtoeven/. To read more by this author: Michael Gushue: Fall 2005; Michael Gushue: DC Places Issue; Michael Gushue: Audio Issue.