Issue 7: Anthony Madrid

The 1897 Edition of the Sears Roebuck Catalogue

HEART full of desire?  Heart too soft.

Eyeball always thirsty?  So water the little mint plant.

Are not all women beautiful?  Babies seem to think so.

But I’m not like the other boys—I don’t go by looks.

I’ve read my country’s Lucretius—a 700-page facsimile

Of the 1897 edition of the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

But, having searched that cornucopia, that surgical tray of tools,

Having surveyed the 10,000 objects, I closed the beautiful book.

In your culture, do you have a word for people who don’t learn from experience?

SRIKANTH REDDY’s written a treatise on it.  Sonneteer, read it and weep.

Yo los bautizo a ustedes con agua; él, con el Espíritu Santo.

And if even thát’s not enough for you, you ought to listen to the poet HAFEZ.

He says you should be like an oyster.  ‘If they cut your head, give them a pearl.’

I approve the poet Hafez for he speaks with loving, perverted sweetness . . .

And VIRTUE is not what we thought it was.  It has nothing whatever to do

With the pursuit of Athletic Athena or Jackrabbit Aphrodite.

So, twinkle, twinkle, little planet.  Don’t pretend to understand it.

It’s just a streak of gold or silver through a panel of unreflecting black.

A streak of gold or silver through a FIELD of ribonucleic black!  Don’t let it

Make what was only a lack of light into an annihilating void.

The Medical Expert Held the Floor

DISCUSSION is their wont.  Discussion have I none.  I was

Silent in assembly at the crucial moment.

The MEDICAL EXPERT held the floor.  He was holding forth on Woman.

Every syllable out of his mouth hurt my ears.

Every word made my sweet little sleeping kitty get worms.  Made WORMS

Play pinochle on-a my snout.

So, let my bulubwalata be blunt, that my protection magic be keen.

May I be vouchsafed the privilege of CATALYTIC STASIS.

’Cuz castling’s a good move—protects your King—but comes a point

When you must learn to use the King as an attack piece.

The KING has bad weather today; he has to pay his taxes.

And yóu have to pay the tax on being good-looking . . .

In this generation, the RIVAL is always a Katie or a Caitlin,

Always a hundred-pound gamine with a lot of eye makeup . . .

But cunning and eloquence in children speak the company of slaves.

A CHILD should be as plain and to the purpose as a soldier.

MADRID is smiling in his sleep; we mustn’t interrupt him.  He is

Dreaming he is bargaining for souls.

Anthony Madrid lives in Chicago. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Agni Online, Boston Review, Fence, Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, Lana Turner, LIT, Poetry, Washington Square, and Web Conjunctions. His first book, called The 580 Strophes, will be published by Canarium Books, spring 2012.