Room 70 • Poetry Hotel
Five Poems / Denton Foist
(notes from the Balloon Lady case)
-Born Fanny Mae Disch,
-Clients lovers neighbors concur,
“shape shifter, inventive, well liked.”
-Who let the air out
with a steak knife in the tub?
-Questioned, Birthday Boy
insists “she landed on my lap.”
-Recontact former spouse
* * *
To this long sad stuffy nose,
red herring stinks.
(1967, New Orleans)
YOU KNOW THE TROTTERS
He follows her around like a dog,
and why not, she has that effect
on him. He even fetches!
They’re well matched, in their way,
a fixture on the cobblestone of Soho;
the money his, command voice hers,
is how their friends explain it.
He has a dog, his own,
a Pekinese on medication
with a therapist with puppets
who makes house calls.
It’s a racket but rackets
keep the economy humming.
They draw the line at a leash.
He owns the gallery she exhibits at
and has taken a bath like a man:
he truly believes in her work.
JIMMY AND JACK AND JILL
(for my grandnephew, Denton Underwood)
Jimmy and Jack
Wanted a snack
And went to get some candy
Jill was sweet
Enough to eat
And pale and undemanding
She ran the store
From 10 to 4
They showed up at five after
She made them spin
With her smooth skin
The trees sang with her laughter
The boys were green
And strong and clean
With big dreams and no skill
Jimmy and Jack
Retraced their tracks
Their craving unfulfilled
GOLDEN STATE MEDITATION
In the crisp fluorescent dusk
the bus pulls out of Bakersfield,
leaving the yellow seashell,
the inevitable arches,
a turquoise flickering arrow
and so much more behind.
A Nissan sign beams down
upon its shining charges,
greenblack hedges line the murk,
traffic lights play referee
to the rising tide of reflux
gassed up to the rim
and good to go.
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Fields of whatnot. Bursts of nothing.
Four- and 18-wheelers eat our dust.
Night falls in a fingersnap,
painting all the windows black.
The kid with wheat-blond hair
who just signed up
says they asked if he could kill.
The wheels on the bus. . .
I close my eyes to look inside.
Kill who? By Riverside,
his head was nowhere to be seen.
I’d never been so happy
to see a Coke machine.
The wheels. . .
My “buddy” is smaller than he used to be.
Especially when not engorged.
Certain drugs cause peripheral vasoconstriction.
The penis is considered a peripheral part of the body.
Am I imagining things?
I asked my wife and she said, “Maybe.”
Cigarette smoking can also cause this.
And there’s always Raynaud’s syndrome.
She hadn’t looked at it for donkey’s years
The guys say it goes with the territory.
Consult your physician.
Don’t accept a quick brush-off.
Has my 76-year-old trombone
led its final big parade?
Hello? Do you read me? Hello?
I have abandonment issues. Say something...