UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY

JAMES VALVIS

MY WORK!

Crazy Fucker comes home from a day working
the car wash, sees his house in flames, his wife missing,
and he thinks, "My God... MY WORK! MY POEMS!"
And with fire engines howling like red fatigue
Crazy Fucker rushes the house.
He figures the hard copies are lost,
but the disks might be saved.
Suddenly he's in the house, the smoke unbearable,
nothing like it is in the movies,
and he understands now why people jumped
from that building to a certain death
minutes before they would have been saved.
Crackling beams are falling all over the place
like X's in a tic-tac-toe game.
He gets to the bedroom and opens the door
and the cat darts between his legs.
"Christ, what the fuck!" and he is on his ass,
his foot twisted and useless
as he pulls himself toward the front door,
blocked by fire and blinded by the blackest smoke.
He is gagging, coughing chunks of soot,
you have no idea, and then a charred beam
pins his legs to the floor and he thinks,
"Jesus, that's so cliché..."
but cliché or not he cannot move
and he lies there thinking of firemen,
all the taxes of a lifetime, and one fireman
asking the other, "Where the hell is Warren Street?"
Maybe Crazy Fucker thinks about the car wash too
and decides it wasn't so bad
coming home each night with his hands clean.
That's the way he dies, thinking, "It wasn't so bad."
And asking himself, "Why did I come in here anyway?"
Meanwhile, outside, his wife stands there holding the disks.
A neighbor says, "Hey, your husband's inside."
and she says, "Yeah, I know, that crazy fucker!"
Later, the poems are published posthumously
to minor acclaim by UP YOUR ASS PRESS.
You can get a copy for $1.95 plus 3 first class stamps.


James Valvis lives in Washington State with his wife, daughter, and cat. His poems or stories have recently appeared in Underground Voices, Atom Mind, Big Scream, Arts & Letters, Red Fez, Chiron Review, Hanging Loose, Pank, Rattle, River Styx, Slipstream, and is forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, Pearl, Pemmican, Verdad, and others. He will be the featured writer in Re)verb 7 and the Notable Poet at UCity Review. In addition to being a multiple Pushcart and Best of the Web nominee, a novelette was a storySouth Million Writers Notable Story. His first poetry collection, How to Say Goodbye, is due out in 2011.







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