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    Room 76 • Poetry Hotel 

Four Poems / Richard Holeton



Another discarded couch

At the end of the dead end

Street above the primary school,


In the cool wet V of the sea valley.

Same place our local teens

Learn to drive, or make out after


Dates (wait, a couch could be useful

here. But) I write a post — I mean mentally

I rehearse a rant — all while being


Walked by my white wolf of a dog —

To post to MyNextDoors, the neighborhood

Social media exchange, where I excoriate


The couch dumper(s) and the horse

She/he/they rode in on.

Where do they get off.


Who do they think they are.

What do they think they're doing.

Why didn't they put it in front


Of their house with a FREE sign

Like everyone else does? And did I

Mention they're Repeat Offenders?


Last time it was a large appliance.

Thank You So Much for that Rusting Hulk

And Now This Moldy Eyesore Bloated Sofa.


You Knuckleheads! I should title the posting.

Then my ghostly Siberian yanks the lead.

Tightening the leather noose around my wrist, she


Nosedives into those frayed and clammy cushions,

Sniffing and snorting with reckless abandon,

Exhuming the traces of foregone pets.




— Subject headers from my junk email, September, 2014


What I wish someone had told me before I began

Enter the Internet's Algorithmic All Seeing Gaze

Ending today, 30 incredible musical nights

Your seat still reserved for Audience Segmenting


Enter the Internet's Algorithmic All Seeing Gaze

Take the Polar Bear Ice-Plunge Challenge

Your seat still reserved for Audience Segmenting

No one predicted how cool it would be


Take the Polar Bear Ice-Plunge Challenge

Let us help you now live in this moment

No one predicted how cool it would be

Holiday's over so time to get serious


Let us help you now live in this moment

Please help us to transfer these funds to your country

Holiday's over so time to get serious

Mapping your brain is the heart of our job


Please help us to transfer these funds to your country

Discover why fall makes the best escapades

Mapping your brain is the heart of our job

My time has now come to join forebears in heaven


Discover why fall makes the best escapades

Ending today, 30 incredible musical nights

My time has now come to join forebears in heaven

What I wish someone had told me before I began


2034 Q&A


— With Poem Generator by Keith Enevoldsen,



How will [2] [3] [1]?

How will [2] [3] [5] [1]?

As [2] [4]s, [1] [6] [3] [2].

[5] and [5] [2] will increasingly be [5].

All these [5] changes will [6] [3] [1] and [2]

            In 2034.


How will massive refugee movements impact Greenland sharks?

How will superlongevity decimate largely virtualized coral reefs?

As food and fuel wars peak, ethnic minorities creatively leverage future litigation.

Unprecedented and intractable constant surveillance will increasingly be bio-engineered.

All these predictable changes will quite possibly inspire robotic exosuits and moral dilemmas

            In 2034.


How will constant surveillance improve natural outdoor spaces?

How will biohacking provoke global ethnic minorities?

As social instability increases, rare sponges ominously attract constant surveillance.

Hyperbolic and unforeseen moral dilemmas will increasingly be game-changing.

All these global changes will ironically inspire Greenland sharks and Bowhead whales

            In 2034.


How will the growing underclass leverage virtual assistants?

How will voice interfaces facilitate predictable moral dilemmas?

As renewable energy accelerates, affluent immortals ironically invoke DNA-based authentication.

Fungi-based and holographic armies of nanobots will increasingly be intractable.

All these hyperbolic changes will measurably attract future scientists and social instability

            In 2034.


How will future litigation protect affluent immortals?

How will biohacking leverage unforeseen innovative textiles?

As moral dilemmas emerge, future scientists measurably improve designer blood and semen.

Global and game-changing social instability will increasingly be largely virtualized.

All these viral changes will serendipitously create rare sponges and superlongevity

            In 2034.


How will DNA-based authentication impact Bowhead whales?

How will armies of nanobots leverage holographic future scientists?

As designer blood and semen accelerate, virtual assistants quite possibly cause massive refugee movements.

Viral and bio-engineered food and fuel wars will increasingly be fungi-based.

All these unforeseen changes will creatively merge with robotic exosuits and innovative textiles

            In 2034.


WAIF OD (A WAI ̶T̶I̶N̶G̶ ̶ F ̶O̶R̶ ̶G̶OD ̶O̶T̶ Erasure)


Composed by redaction of the text of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (Grove Press, 1954/1982), "a tragicomedy

in two acts" featuring a cast of five males. Only punctuation and capitalization have been altered in the un-redacted text.


Act I: Acro daring.

At last to reflect, her Highness spent the night losing heart atop the Eiffel Tower. The details of

her story of abuse are bloody and insidious. The date was inscribed in her private nightmares. Let

them remain private. Now having drunk a little more than usual, she looks attentively at the high

erection. Curious to hear what her friends think, her Worship—she could have sworn silence—

swallows her words. They make towards the wings, say nothing. She straightens up, she takes

her bottle of wine and begins to boldly inspect the ground, look down. Her inevitable wry face

looks certain. She wants to fall, she does not need them anymore. Outwardly calm, stutteringly

resolute, her small habit or affectation of scenting charity (there is no denying it) relights her fear

and trembling. Her luck going, her bags open, her regret a constant quantity, her laugh a banana

skin, her truth frankly unforgettable—her jump to the ground luminous at this hour, her pale

hands flung wide apart—she comes to rest on this bitch of an earth. Her need of encouragement

towards the end happens to have been refused. One should have asked why.


Silence. No more agitated, lent text. Her plunge finished, she—for reasons unknown, stark

naked—appears to be so calm on the ground. Dead, on purpose! Finally her heart has stopped,

then adieu. Off stage, her face convulses . . . her mind must be asleep in the hay. She alights at

last in heaven. Nothing to do here, she is certain.


Act II: Ex-dame.

She's gone for ever. No one could have stopped her. Her moment of bewilderment was dreamt or

forgotten—the wild muckheap. To get her the name of the man, red hard man, would be not

enough, not sufficient. Her worst single night for half a century. She tried everything (even meta

despairing) to stop sagging under the weight of stupefaction. She must have had a need to shout

Ape! Pig! Moron! Abortion! She could not turn to struggle, writhe, groan, beat the ground.

Could not make him stop it, kick him in the crotch, try him with other names. Could not see the

future. She used to wonder if some menial, or God, should come flying in to the rescue from the

edge of the stage. Words finally fail, as in Act I. Again, her short legs do not move.


About the Author

Richard Holeton is author of the hypertext novel Figurski at Findhorn on Acid, newly published on the web in a 20th anniversary archival

edition by Washington State University's Electronic Literature Lab, and other widely-exhibited electronic and multimedia literature. His short

fiction, found poetry, and hybrid work have appeared in journals such as Indiana Review, Mississippi Review, ZYZZYVA, Kairos, Notre Dame

Review, Unlost, and Forklift, Ohio. His awards include fellowships from MacDowell, the National Endowment for the Arts, Brown Foundation/

Dora Maar House, California Arts Council, and Henfield Foundation. A former writing teacher and administrator at Stanford, he lives near

Half Moon Bay, California.

Acknowledgements: "Waif OD" first appeared, in slightly different form, in F(r)iction.

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