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.

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