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---   B E N   M I L L E R  

Aldermen strap on horns in preparation for the big parade. There is lutesong in the

air, the chanting of a topless choir of Ben Franklin clerks: Did you? Did you? Did you

pay the chipmunk to burrow into your heart and eat what was left of me there? Did you?

Did you? Welcome to Satyr Days. Store owners excuse to empty the selves behind the

shelves, move the sapper wire, tail brushes, vermin cloth. Dance on bloody beets at the

A&P why not. Pin the Haw on the Thorne what the heck. Identify the chewing noise in the

bushes and win a trip to Sioux Falls. Snarf the skunk kebab dipped in milk chocolate.

Sniff the veal sauteeing in baby oil under the blue Methodist tent. Argue whether the oddly

hugging couple in the balcony of the Flynn Theater is married or brother and sister.

Backstroke across the lake of dry peas in the Super Mart parking lot. Pose for a

picture with a 10 foot balladeering plunger: Butt shaped like a peaaaaar, with a voice

like a beaaaaaaar, Mr. Finebine, you're miiiiiiiiine. Whack a tennis ball over the net

of blackthorn twigs. Pick up the ringing pay phone and hear an old goat on the other

end of the line whisper: Jessie Boy, Jessie, this is George Allen, from Missouri. Line

up like me and get assigned a new husband and drag that fella onto a bed of mufflers

and play Pothole. Fun for all. No matter how short, no matter how tall. Crawl single

into the hardware store and fellate Faunzie, four-legged host of the game show "$69,000

Orgy." Pose as a model for a dermatology textbook at Milo Memorial Library, no disease

required, decals supplied by the photographer. Visit the Arts & Grafts tent and get a

pot holder permanently attached to a limb or have your favorite lamentation laminated

for all of posterity to vomit on: The fury of a mixed metaphor knows no bounds!

Exhaustion without breathlessness is wastefulness! Like tomatoes, the brighter we are,

the riper we are! No matter what kind of face you put on it, it's still a big room full

of little cages! We are all missing names! Again I find myself alone with broken glass!

Ah, that intangible in the soul of a champion called professionalism! And then there's

the bake-off for which I have made a breach pie. Getting it out of the oven was hell.

In fact, most of that pie is still in the oven. Only way to eat some is to stick your

head in like Sylvia Plath. A line of Judges wait to do so. They wear leather cod

pieces, Picasso shirts. All avoid using the word contiguous. One whispers: I'm a

divert Catholic. Another waxes poetic: Splendor flashed and failed. / Wonder asunder. /

What, Butter Bean, has changed in all these years? / Where, Mayfly, is progress? /

America still a taut latex bonnet / a 3,000 mile machination / a stretch and

incoherence / static and mischief / The Ruffle unaware / of The Hood / The Hood unaware

/ of The Ruffle. That Fella of mine hands the poet a bottle of mountain-pure snot. How

lucky to be assigned such an incorrigible husband! when not renting himself out

to lonely towns like ours, he works at a Spalding plant in Chicago. No, I take that

back. What I mean to say is that Fella IS a Spalding plant. A living, breathing

producer of basketballs. Every ten hours a new orange pair between the legs. I cut them

off with garden shears and arrange them artfully on the lawn. My rock garden. Except

these rocks are rubber and smell like Old Spice. And as if one talent isn't enough

Fella has another. He is a Hemoverbiac. Bleeds words. Ask a silly question like one of

the Picasso-Plaths just did and his answer unanswers itself leading to a second answer

that unanswers itself, words pooling thus: ...oh yeah, all hours I work, just like the

guy with the only key to the mall, knock knock knock knock knock knock knock,

dereliction of duty just not possible, no basking in the masking of the body for the

ball, though here I must point out, to be perfectly clear, that it's easy to mistake

the nest for the bird and vice versa, that is: TRUTH IS A TINTED FLASK, or to put it

even more bluntly: MY JOB ISN'T BEING ME, who's job is?, WE ARE NOT US, it is not in us

to be us, never has been, never will be, the us in us is just a fraction of what we

are, akin to the sprig of thyme at the bottom of an olive oil bottle, which is always

called an olive oil bottle, never a thyme bottle, despite permeation of the oil in the

flavor of the herb, and so it is with my basketball predilection, THE ME PART OF ME

BEING AN UNBOUNCY ELSE ENTIRE, and that Got for that!, Got in Heaven, Hallowed be his

mallow creams!, GOT WHO GETS THAT WE MAY GONE!, for is not the alternative genuinely


DOING NOTHING BUT ME THINGS ALL THE LIVE DAY LONG!, that would be the soul in a vice,

the mind in a cage, cuz if you're never lost there is no industrial park and if there

is no industrial park there are no transformers parting to reveal my lap, rough as

ready, snaggled with candy and yarn...

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