Ooh this bed’s hard, this bed’s soft, this porridge’s hot,

this porridge’s cold—well aren’t you a prissy little prima-

donna, presbyterian princess, egomaniac; eat your

porridge and go to sleep you big baby, I’m not your

domestic, gourmet cook, or mattress maker, and I

don’t care how lukewarm your bathwater is; I’ve

got my own demons, like multiple sclerosis, you

and your sensitivities; I should backhand you in the

face; Miss Perfection; besides I know you’re hymen-

less beneath that gingham dress, and shooting crack

at Cinderella’s, so don’t give me that crap about

scratchy blankets or dilapidated chairs; I’m kick-

ing butt for you at The Crackerjack for lousy tips

and you’re Miss Fuantleroy of Barracuda Street;

well, this is chez Sprats, Mother Hubbard, and you’

re, young lady, getting your ass to school, then

college, then I don’t give a rat’s what you do, I’

ll be dead to the nub, and damned if I’ll see my

only girl knocked up, drugged out, panhandling,

& conning idiots six months from now on Vul-

ture Boulevard. Give us this day, yea though I

walk, rock and my redeemer, pray you boob, hum-

ble your head in this Babylonia, this abattoir of

unforgiving deadliness, shame your butterfly ass-

tattoo with vinegar, rise through Baptismal water

new, imprinted with The Fear you postpubescent

carnal caricature, God eats fools like pinenuts.

Sweetie, Cleopatra of the Floridian blaze, leggy

topless beach-nude, Mama demands her strands

strip into you, the creole palms of her Pontche-

train hands, her cream of wheat soothe, her dou-

ble strip of pearls fusing one-by-one, like swal-

lowed light bulbs, Baby please, Mama’s poured

amber maple into you, and molasses, and cane;

I offer you Thessalonians, quartz agate, scarab

mayonnaise, sorrow portraits, Sophie Mae’s

Chiang Mai bamboo fan, boa constrictor slippers,

and Grandpa Pompadou’s molars-into-dice;

Abide by the rat’s tooth of family talismans, child;

stallion of youth’s no match for their sobriety;

clasp and see, oh darling, clasp and see; your al-

ready melting bones fill bowls with golden broth.


Gordon Massman splits his time between Medford, Massachusetts, and Frenchboro, Maine, an island off the coast. Gordon Massman: The Essential Numbers, 1991-2008 was published in 2009 by Tarpaulin Sky Press.


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.