Let’s call a spade a spade

or a spade a sword
or a loy or whatever
crude garden tool
Christy had thought
he could slaughter his father with—
(lost to the edge of the occident,
                    edge of the accident,
                                         accident whetted
                 to glisten with
               wicker intention)
gripple complacency
roll it out over your tongue now, twice,
and consider those
Change the way you give signs 
scrunched ‘twixt char-scarred, 
manacled, candle-snubbed 
poles of poplar preening,
       green as the virginal 
       lilacs plucked to mayoral laurels,
                       tidy as tempered teeth
                          or gods embossed in a
                      bas relief passed off as a 
                    thoroughbred’s skull or a
            pumpkin pared to a basketball
            mocking some clove-footed 
            cockswain’s hackneyed, hiccuping glans—
all the ripe-nipple sigils of clabbering lexington.
Squeeze it out over your teeth 
                              like one pans
indigestible emperor’s rice and 
obsidian out of the tortuous porcelain
dais we, idly spiting the golden kawaya
no kami now daily, take for granted 
much as a mule-kicked pulse
or the dulcet loll of the air plunged
tonguing our lungs for that feeling
of spongy sacs and the music box
bleat of our blood running rampant as
brumbies boxed in an under the table
race form, notary thumbprints forged.
                                                     Like one pans
three little foam rubber nipple ring images,
clackers on what curt bone-barbed boar
of a door-jammed dumb waiter, picking
its noose into sisal, banana peel, straws—
that fiberglass droplet of 
milk crashed into a
crown-shaped splash,
froze over with wire
and fishing line tied
to the palate of what 
quaint train stop staked
in Tukwila, like cream slipped
free from a godling’s coffee;
that bus driver 
capoing every stop with
don’t forget to pay attention,
an echoing hand-drawn sign
akin to one reading,
Will dance for ice cream,
standing so proud of the dash
it was practically floating, my
bloating reflection 
fixed in his ambered
lenses still, or a 
part of me anyway,
evermore tracing his frames
like a fish-bowled guinea pig
coiling bouts of lamaze,
massaging a wart,
upstaging The Cramps
and their fairykin cohorts—;
and that braided belt
of a semi-feral human,
summoned to life by a kashmir
fishwife’s petticoat swaddling 
three neopolitan poodles,
lapping Italian ice amid stints
at the ketamine clinic and playing
hooky, in triplicate, skirting their
Èrsh and Gaulish lessons to 
sniff out discarded z-bars
out of the Hartland Zabar’s
chapter dumpster—that
galvanized work glove
cocked on the ring
and the forefinger,
digging for black-lipped
butts in the crack of the
sidewalk—see him there,
braying, praying, bawling, maybe
bent shyly reciting Pliny the Younger’s
account of Vesuvius doing
its spin on discarded Ys or Atlantis—don’t
avert your eyes. Now,
Change the way you give, they say, 
for God or the Gorton fisherman glibly
forbid that you give him a dog-eaten quarter.
What was the plan now? Only
extinguished in that it’s illegal
to outlaw begging,
like raising the minimum wage,
or rent caps, or even, maybe, say,
adequate lodging that isn’t some 
thrown-together, glued-together,
thirty-dollar-daily chemical closet,
murder hole window, et al.?
We got a van out there, and it’s 
sweeping ’em up and it’s singing like 
Funiculì, Funiculà churned out of an
ice cream truck, “Now, we got a job
for you, Adam, my man, out picking
up parks for an honest wage. Don’t
stand there and tell me you’d rather
beg, ’cause we outlawed beggin’, anyway.”
And we get them honest folks 
that done been givin’ them beggars
their daily fixins and get ’em all
down with givin’ instead to a fund
that dares to give ’em a home, 
a forever home. Fifteen grand 
a month for just three years
and we’ll get all them homeless folk
out of here, off the streets, out on to
greener pastures, greener pastures,
Who the fuck came up with that, that
crackerjack masterclass in thoughtless
Nobody paying rent, I’d say. And nobody 
ever once wondering what it was like 
to not have a toilet to talk to.

Content Warning

The poet decided this submission may have content that's not for everyone. If you'd like to see it anyway, please click the eyeball icon.