by Zak Mucha
The Meat Empire
The sausage king of Moscow was found zip-tied and
run through with bolts like St. Sebastian in bed.
Impatient extortionists let his girlfriend slip
away to collect her cut after they ditch the
car and crossbow and do something with the other
guy they left drugged and cuffed to the bed in their flat.
One last job, just like they say in the movies,
to reach the land of Crown Royal bikini tops,
shopping mall lots filled with camouflaged Hum-vees,
and Jason Stratham movies that have a sense of humor.
The patron saint of second place check his numbers
on Wednesdays and Saturdays, knowing end times come
gently with soft thuds at twilight in fields where
men jump from barn gables to meet The Man mid-air.
Just one fly was the debate’s surprise. That guy should
have been covered head-to-toe within the hour,
choking from bees born in his mouth like Candyman,
a rain of black frogs dotting the studio floor.
Jesus could have stepped on stage, shaking the Buddha’s
other sandal from his crook like clicking batteries
into a sock, ready to sift wheat from
the tares right before the cameras cut away.
Ghazals for Fat Possum Records
They ran out of North Mississippi bluesmen grown
old with swollen ankles, bad hearts, and diabetes,
shirtless in their front yards, cigarettes dangling,
posing as if they didn’t give a damn or as
if they didn’t know any eyes were on them. Or
as if they had no say or as if maybe they
were in on the white boys’ opportunism long
after the first waves of dry recitations.
R.L. slipped from the hospital like Lazarus
calling for a wire transfer to the casino.
More white boys who couldn’t sit behind the beat
brought the first Theremin to Oxford screaming drunk.
One Rockefeller cannot feed a whole tribe.
R.L. reimagined trickster tales of late-night,
pajama-clad, panic attacks shared by Hitler
and Tojo hiding with their heads in paper sacks.
And a little monkey, who was actually
the probation officer, forcing his way into
the bigger animals’ party, badge hidden, with
a front pocket of whiskey and a ass pocket of gin.
The student’s watch and glasses were left behind on
an old canoe, his dissertation in his dorm room,
a signal to Mom buried in the scratches of
open note hillbilly music before the war.
She responded with a quarter-million dollar
reward for information on her boy. Fortune
hunters and documentarians paralleled
the shore as arrows plinked the water. Customer
survey cards would fall from Fat Possum packaging,
questions mocking embedded race and class issues:
“Where at you get this?” “Where you stay?” “How much money
you make?” And above an empty rectangle, the
instruction: “Trace your house key in this box.” The joke
died with R.L., leaving British aristocrats
to simulate music of the antebellum
south on Jumbotron screens in exchange for your rent.
© DOCKYARD PRESS