GI Joe’s public service announcements protected us from
thin ice, poisonous weasels and fallen power lines, letting us
know that now we knew, and knowing was half the battle.

But we were left open to subtler foes, possibly also sent
from Cobra, double agents who infiltrated our gatherings
with filibusters on why they’re no longer Orthodox Jews and

the exact extents to which they now disagree with each of
the 613 mitzvot; with parasitic monologues about how they
gave up intercourse entirely after the last divorce, which

itself resulted from their excessive dependence on anal sex,
which if you think about it, boils down merely to muscular
drawstrings and friction, nothing uplifting: now they know;

with predatory conversations about their and our – ours,
too! – but we just met them tonight, and someone’s already
in the bathroom, so we can’t hide out there! – respective

most embarrassing moments involving preteen self-touching
and grandparents; with hostile verbal takeovers, endless hot
wordsprays of fecal-consistency indices cross-referenced

with how long it took to reconcile with their mother after she
made them wear little girls’ crotchless crocheted woolen
pantaloons well into high school, well into sophomore year,

when they learned the trick involving stuffing Q-tips up
a cat in heat: her name was Mitzi, and she strutted around
the house satisfied, to the beat of a white pussy metronome.

This is the grown-up thin ice, Joe, these are the toxic pests
laying the high-current cables in each conversation with
casual acquaintances, people they’ve really don’t know.

Why can’t they save it for someplace more suitable, some
venue akin to their poetry (which, as we both know, no one
would read anyway, besides their close friends at this party?)

And speaking of friends, what do you think of my latest one,
especially the eleventh stanza, the one subtitled “My Recent
Wet Dreams About You and a Panda”? Do all the lines scan?

Born in Flint, MI, raised in the Detroit area, and ripening in California since the fall of 1992, JOHN F. BUCKLEY lives and works in Orange County with his wife, teaching at local colleges and chasing the poetic dragon. His work has been published in a few places, one of which nominated him for a Pushcart Prize.


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