We Have People for That
Sometimes, when you go to the movies,
at the end, people stand up and clap.
I guess it’s because they’re proud of each other,
and why shouldn’t they be? Don’t be afraid
to join them. You look beautiful
in there, after all,
like a cowboy by the fire,
about to break into song.
Sometimes in the movie there’s a drag race,
or an old man walking alone in the desert.
Sometimes two images are shown superimposed
on each other. The effect is dizzying,
as they say in the biz. It’s important to take stock
of the sensations a movie allows you to feel
without having to get up out of your seat or even
move at all. The delights, they’re called,
another industry term.
At the end of everything, though, remember,
it’s all an illusion,
just some obscenely rich people
having a little bit of fun at their own expense
and yours, too. Do not grow a beard, dress in rags,
and wander like the face of starvation
himself into the city’s blue welter.
We have people for that.
By Our Infinite Powers Combined
the weather is a wall.
the forest is a virtual reality cage.
the endangered species list is a manifest.
the diamond is an afterthought.
the recessive gene is a double tongued forefinger.
the man sleeping on the street is a door.
the burn unit is a seminar.
the gut-shot outlaw is a fine tooth comb.
the beady-eyed double is a rodent with rights.
the harsh and unforgiving landscape is an archtop guitar.
the cluster of stinkbugs is a brooch.
the circus organ jig is a rebuttal to what made the land and sea.
the wart encrusted blister is a blessing etched in marble.
the aerosol can is a dull talon.
the dismal hollow is a perfect circle.
the delayed flight is a note sung in an empty room.
the figure of speech is a ghoul drinking from a hose.
the doted upon son is a ghost’s dragging chain.
the season of floods and ice is an editor.
the train carrying souls to hell is a tentative yes.
the halftime show is a powdered wig on the wind.
the retinal scanner is a dab of this and that.
the decommissioned shopping mall is a cub traveling by moonlight.
the glimmer of remorse is a spider more bitsy than itsy.
the warrior burning his clothes is a result near you.
the rolling thunder is an entire nation gone out for a smoke.
the vanishing point is a chisel held to god’s throat.
the common denominator is a demonic commentator.
the sip is a gulp.
the clam is a clone.
the rope is a rush.
the need to be touched is a figure thin as Nosferatu.
the family photo album is a stunning concept.
the cult of lemmings is a laughing quartet.
the first grade classroom is a digital monastery.
the groveling groveler is a grown man or me.
the last person left on Earth is a willing participant.
the room, jungle thick
with machines, is exceptionally
ugly, and even better,
I don’t see an exit, nor remember
how I got in. one machine
spits out shredded cardboard,
another is a baby incinerator,
an elf of choking coals. computer
faces burn with the faces
of people staring into the burnt
faces of other computers. I walk around
like Judy Garland, sparks and acid
drop like fruit into my hair, where
is my parasol? I like the look
of the wires and wish I could
dish myself out to them, but
No Vacancy. speaking of, there is
also a little museum of neon.
so I kneel, and notice all the little
lost voices. one of them yells
the latin word for shame. others
try harder not to be heard.
Kevin Chesser is a writer and musician living in West Virginia. He earned his MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and his poems have appeared in Hobart, Empty House Press, A Void, Still, and elsewhere. He performs frequently with the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, a West Virginia based DIY artists’ collective.