Tag Archives: labor day

Poem for Brian McGackin

A short, simple burst of verse that appears
at first mundane, a slacker’s sonnet, a simple
twist of words that somehow still obscure these
patterns, little games of surreptitious puns and
plays on phrase that only the most astute readers
will pick up on, pick upon, between the subtle
allusions to Seal, or Harry Potter, or, inevitably,
soccer, this false banality that hides a sense
of suffering, of Guinness, of meaning that is
all too often missed though it’s clever when it
lets you in and waives its endless turnpike fees,
a strong syllabic voice that set this website
into motion, keeps my sentences on track, even
when he was kind of a dick about it; but in the end
the purpose or intention is made clear, often
through a seemingly non-sequitur saying that sneaks
in at the climax, the culmination of a short
linguistic journey that illuminates in retrospect
the bullshit lines before it: Happy Birthday.

Dad’s Diaries

Dad’s diaries are waiting in the top drawer of
a bed stand in the places that we go when we
get lonely for an hour. The paper-thin parchment
crunches when I turn the page, like autumn leaves
that fell from burning trees too soon;
translucent and impermanent, the noises
keep me company in every bawdy tomb.

I read my favorite stories to a girl that I
won’t Mary from the time when you were
thirty-two, and think of all the shit you carried
with you on your back (you never let it weigh
you down) and I am hoping to remember all
the things you taught me back when you were still around.

Dad, I see your diary was written down by
someone else’s hand, but I still remember
everything you taught me about how to be
a man. You’ll be glad to know your grand
daughter is working overseas where she is
farming in a fertile land and does it all for
free, and how I almost tied your grandson to
a fence the other day, but I just pelted him
with rocks until he bled out all the gay.

See, I’m trying hard to live my life
just the way you told me, or at least
the way I read it in this dusty little
story book where your friends had all
your best intentions written down.
But Father, I have got to ask how you
drank from that bloody glass and split
the fish while we were killing kingdoms
in your name, and how you loved the lonely
lepers and you knew your mother’s whore,
when you told me that the wicked
would not be let in your doors. But you’re
not around to give me all the answers
I might need, so I am forced to watch
as Mary takes my sixty bucks
for a fuckĀ and leaves.

The Whole SheBang

When Karen made the decision to right the wrongs of the world on her own as a costumed vigilante, she didn’t quite consider the consequences of all the choices she would have to make. Donning a purple, red, and yellow mid-riff shirt and skirt combo and a black domino mask that extended past the sides of her face with upturned devil-like wings, she armed herself with a wide range of explosives and took to calling herself SheBangs. Karen thought this codename was exceedingly clever: She, because Karen was of course a woman, and Bangs, because she planned on blowing things up. Banks, Republicans, Corrupt Cops — none were spared the wrath of SheBangs!

Yes, it was the eradication of precisely that brand of utterly American filth to which Karen had dedicated herself in this endeavor. She had committed herself with and as the whole SheBangs. Unfortunately, her costume resembled a Slutty She-Devil costume from one of those Halloween supply shops that crop up like weeds in suburbs in the weeks before the holiday only to abruptly close by Veterans Day. And with good reason: her costume was a Slutty She-Devil costume from one of those stored, customized at home with felt and curtains and a few pieces she stole from the Slutty Robin costume at the same store.

That thievery was the first act of criminal intent that she had ever committed — Karen had never received a parking ticket, let alone performed destructive acts of vigilante terrorism, and she thought that it was important to start small. She still paid for the Slutty She-Devil costume, however, as she felt that there was no reason to punish the poor store owner, himself a victim of the American system which she had come so to despise.

Unfortunately, excepting a brief stint as Assistant Stitcher on her high school production of A Streetcar Named Desire from which she was fired for spilling a bottle of Hawaiian Punch on the costumes, Karen had never stitched a thing in her life, and it showed on the sloppy, haphazard construction of her SheBangs costume. She created a symbol for herself, an emblem adorned on her breast. If anyone asked — which, no one did, but if they had she would have explained that it was meant to be an inversion of the Superman “S” and the Batman “B” (and again, if she had explained this, someone would likely point out that there was no Batman “B”). Instead, it looked like one of angular, fancified “S”s you would draw in middle school, with a pair of breasts.

This of course complimented her modified Slutty She-Devil quite eloquently. On her first bankjob, the tellers notified the police of her presence as soon as she walked in the building — less concerned about domestic vigilante terrorism, and more with general crazies. When they arrived, Karen took this as the perfect opportunity to declare her mission statement for the world. And look all good super-villains, this grandiose monologue began with her name:

Eyewitnesses say she was apprehended by the sheer force of laughter that arose from the Riot Police.