Friday, March 01, 2002

Richard Jordan

Spinning Counterclockwise

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and I took neither.
Instead, I ate a magic toadstool
and spun around counterclockwise

until I collapsed from exhaustion
and a mildly upset stomach.
When I awoke a decade later,
my stomach had settled,

my body had shrunk, my mind
had expanded, and a furry little troll
had set up house in my whiskers.
He told me: According to the Furry Troll

Handbook, I am obligated to grant you a wish.
I replied: Ummm. So he turned me into a poet.
Now, I drink vodka and Gatorade in my coffee,
and wear my beard in beaded braids.

When I venture outside,
I skip hand-in-hand with Mary Magdalene
down the sidewalks of New York City,
blowing kisses at angels and poltergeists.

Sometimes I disappear for days on end,
and they find me naked
under my bed, choking on splinters
and conversing with termites.

All the while, I feel deeply for the tall,
clean-shaven inhabitants of this world,
who have never even written a Rondelet.

I bet that when they look toward the Heavens,
all they see are shapeless popcorn clouds
and a big blue exclamation point.

Man's Best Friend

Hey, why did you lick my ear?
All the others just stepped around me,
adjusting their toupees
and making kissy faces
at fancy handheld mirrors,
while I sprawled on the pavement,
all five limbs caked in mud,
drinking from a puddle
through a crazy straw.

But you must have caught the scent
of confusion in the breeze, and bravely
came trotting to my rescue.
I believe that, had you opposable thumbs,
you would have zipped my fly
and buttoned my coat.

And if only had I been blessed
with a longer, fluffier tail,
I would have wagged it
in your direction.
I swear.

Whatever Happened?

Whatever happened to that crazy old bugger?
You know, the guy who wore a filthy wool
cap all summer long? He had torn, greasy trousers,
and his shirt was held together with safety pins.

One time, I gave him a few cigarettes,
three, I think, and he patted me on the butt
and whispered in my ear, somewhat accusingly,
"Rasputin only eats raw lamb,
and sometimes boiled carrots".

Last time I saw him, he was fishing
for bicycle tires in the Potomac River.
I was jogging by, and he adjusted his crotch
in my general direction
while giving me the one finger salute.

I suppose now that it's cold,
he's living in a shelter downtown,
passing out soap and handkerchiefs
to all the bag ladies who stop by for biscuits,
gravy, and some good, old-fashioned groping.

Every now and then, he stares
out a cracked, dirty window on the third floor
and snorts at the pathetic, gnome-like
creatures on the sidewalk below,
randomly bumping into one another
on the way to Hell.

Richard Jordan is a PhD mathematician, and also a poet. He was born in Massachusetts, and has lived in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Mexico. He currently resides in Virginia, where by day, he works on the mathematical modeling and analysis of the spread of infectious diseases, and by night, he tries his best not to contract any such diseases. His poems have been published in over a dozen print and online magazines in the past 4 months, including Kimera, GW Review, Snakeskin, Virginia Adversaria, Beginnings, Branches,Facets, and Poetry Super Highway.

Melisande Luna Kristine Karinen Richard Jordan Freada Dillon Dave Ruslander Jennifer Arbour

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