by Jennifer L. Knox
Lovely to Meet You the Next Day
"A lot of people at the wedding are holding,"
said the groom, which put a big fat kibosh on
the fireworks. Ultra-stiff and seersuckered,
with matchbooks dry and missing at most two,
the loss was insurmountable—too much for one girl
to shoulder in a draw-stringed evening bag —too much
for everyone in their own special way. Loss
was ubiquitous as red and white spiraly peppermints.
Looking at our feet: wet grass with mud under it.
Too many untreatable stains of loss. Suddenly you
said psst from the bushes. You weren't invited
but I'd never been in a rowboat. I knew I liked it
when I heard my own voice up high. Afterwards
I slept, still in my stockings, for what moved
like a sated, white bear—like a year.
Speech to the Crowd at the Rodeo
I've taken the liberty of lining the chainlink fence with 47 cheapo Chinese deep-fat turkey frying machines and plugging them all into the cigarette lighter of my van. When we're ready to eat, oh man, you'll know it.
I propose we kick off the festivities by pantomiming scenes from Cotton Mather's Indian captivity narratives, specifically the one where Hannah Dustan learns how to make frybread outside the teepee, while Hannah Swarton has a totally hot three-way inside the teepee.
When it comes to enemies, some would say you have to get inside their heads. That's pure crap. Unless you get inside the head after you cut it off, stick your hand up the bloody neck hole and use it like a puppet. But cutting off a head's hard—unless you have a chainsaw. A chainsaw's God's way of evening out the playing field between you and everything, even the invisible stuff.
Speaking of which, looking in the stands tonight and seeing all your clean faces and itty bitty eyes, there's nothing I'd rather do than impregnate all you fine, fine women out there. I'd call you every day and say, "Don't cry, baby—you look real good to me." But if you need me to come over and say it person and bring some groceries�what the hell, I'd do that too.
Now please rise for the national anthem. My country sick of me, I'm going to Germany. My name is Fritz. What are you gonna do when your brain turns to poo and my brain's pooey too, boop boop bee do!
In Bangkok, each smog-clogged banyan
growing outside the nine miles of white-
washed wall around the King's palace is
bedecked with a million purple lightbulbs.
It's true. Two skinny, slow-going, barefoot
dudes in ripped jeans and t-shirts the color
of faded skin unscrew the dead ones and
screw in new ones all day long, napping
through unbearable benzene hazy noons.
Liquid blur of traffic zips by whining high.
The movement of the mouthless
characters in a Noh play from one side of the
stage to the other's hours of slight, imperceptible
steps taken beneath several red, canopic kimonos.
When finally they arrive, they are changed to
us —but do they see themselves as changed
behind their eyeless, thick masks? Likewise:
do you think the two tanned bulb men—
spent and primed for a well-deserved drunk—
head straight home before the sun dips down
and miss the darkening's chance to take in
the whole of their work (when the move-
ment they know more than most—so known
to their knotty hands—the little twist they'll take
to their graves—and maybe further) as it floods
the black gasoline-soaked streets fuchsia?
Jennifer L. Knox was born in Lancaster, California, once crystal meth capitol of the nation, and home to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and the Space Shuttle. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in 88, American Poetry Review, Barrelhouse, Conduit, Fence, Field, Forklift, Ohio, The Hat, The Iowa Review, Jubilat, Kulture Vulture, Lit, Margie, Noo Journal, Open City, Painted Bride Quarterly, Ping Pong, Ploughshares, Subtropics, and Verse. Her books are right cher.