UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


ROBERT LAUGHLIN

Mortality and ‘Cue

A new city and seven ‘cues in the Yellow Pages.
Simple:
go to a new one every night this week.
The thrill of discovery
conveniently marries the dictates of the carbon cycle.

I drive into the Wednesday joint’s parking lot
with my window rolled down.
It smells right;
pit-launched atoms of ribrisken and burnt hickory
anticipate the slower oxidation of my GI tract.

The joint is crowded, always a good sign.
Under the shadowless neon light
I see lots of cars, pickups, motorcy—
A hearse?!
It’s really there.
Well, I think, the food must be so good
it’s nullified the order of nature;
the customers keep coming back even when they’re dead.

My overactive fancy drags me to this vision:
standing at the counter, in his still-pressed burial suit,
the pasty, dull-eyed corpse of a regular.
“I don’t care if my veins are full a embalmin’ juice.
Gimme a slab a ribs to take out to the maus-o-leum!”

The cars behind me screech and honk
when I zoom into the street, backwards,
and make for the Tuesday joint.


Ann Beattie

What can one say
about a writer
whose characters
have orgasms
in lowercase letters?









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