Monday, July 10, 2006

Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (6 of 10)


Opposite the bitterness
inspired by the blunting dullness,

an absolute release of humor
opens hearts to laughter.

Laughter repeats. Humor. Thought.
Expression. Like a sense of time.

A sense of humor. Thought. Expression.
Something, somehow, somewhere.

Death like a punch line
tying things together. The ultimate

knock-knock joke. The ultimate
what-do-you-get-if-you cross joke.

The chicken’s own testimony
about crossing that damn road.

The political ramifications
of America

without any daughters of farmers.
Without burned-out light bulbs.

Without chicken soup
or spaghetti or watermelon or

Mexican water
or Canadian television shows.

Professor Martel bought
one piece of art for his apartment:

A double canvas painting –
the upper depicting a man

up-ended and tumbling,
the lower, a banana peel.

One big trip, thought Professor Martel.
An image that repeats.

Words that repeat. Expressions
of a triumvirate of thought.

Suicide, thought Professor Martel,
death by pie-in-the-face.

Cyanide whipped cream. Arsenic crust.
A bionic arm. Splat!

Breath-centered, laughter
the repeating thing celebrates breathing.

Syncopation in breathing’s meter.
Slurring grace notes and fills.

Bright eyes closed
for an exhausting solo of exhalation.

Inhaling, then, a breath and more –
an aware pause: Breath for breath.


At the party school
I remember a car-load of coeds

undressing as they raced
along fraternity row throwing

their underwear at frat boys.
Lots of loud laughs for everyone.

Here, in the city, Linda,
a waitress in the snack shop, spilled

salt one night. I pointed out
she needed to toss salt over

her shoulder to ward off bad luck.
She fell for it, tossing salt

against the chest of some guy
in the booth behind her. I laughed,

she laughed, the guy laughed.
Quiet laughter. Laughter – quiet, loud – breaths . . .

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