Author Archives: bpmcgackin

Music Video

Bitches be doin’ whatever bitches
be doin’ when you pay them a day rate
to subjugate themselves for the male gaze.
The visuals are extraordinary
for 4-minute social commentaries
made to persuade bored office employees
to blow their low wages on mp3s.
I may not know art, but I know that this
isn’t art, the equivalent of a
musical heart attack, bass boom cracking
in the back of a Cadillac in a
low-income neighborhood, kids up to now
good, but that’s just the world we live in, right?
and music makes us all feel so alive.

Turnip

I am out of words, as if I kept them
in an empty jam jar, long since scooped clean,
any hint of former inhabitants
soaped and rinsed away and set out to dry
by the kitchen window. And I don’t know
where to buy more, the chain grocery store
around the corner only stocking so
many as to serve their dull purposes:
pound, off, sale, fresh, frozen, produce, dairy.
It serves me right, thinking I could buy my words,
or steal them from the world that gives me breath.
Better if I grow them on my own, now,
large like a pumpkin, many like ears of
corn, harder than a round, ripened turnip.

Pancakes

These are the best goddamn airport pancakes
I’ve ever tasted, my fried egg insides
dying the griddled batter yellower,
matching with my sure, why not, orange juice.
There’s a ham steak, too (only $12!),
but my eggs and syrup can do nothing
to alter the color of this pig flesh,
pink and dead, pressed together in one bite.
I always eat that way, a little taste
of each food on every forkful, no
great flavors that don’t taste even better
when eaten together. I’ve got hours
before my flight, time to savor pages
from each of the 15 books I’m reading.

Shaving Cream

I hate shaving. That is my poetic
diary entry of the day, it seems.
Leave me be, face leaves, grass of my cheek plains.
I am not the mower you would have me
be. I do not reap or sow, only grow
and grow and grow and grow from nothingness,
and not the abstract nothingness, the word
on paper concept, but lack; growth from no,
growth unbidden, growth unwelcome, tangle
of wiry life from the void, a million
tiny razors slashing at kissed faces,
the stabbing towers of my vibrancy,
my black and red and blonde banner men spread
across the field of my chin waging war.

Beach Umbrella

It isn’t so much depression as—no,
but maybe it is. It’s not always doom
and gloom; it can also be laziness,
lack of desire, an extinguished heart fire,
a general dimming of the world and
all of the once flaring lights within it.
Not so much an emptiness as a blank
space where nothing can come to rest, a hole
with no edges or depth, only itself.
Like when I bring a book to the beach to
read, excited because it’s engrossing,
maybe summer themed, but when I turn
my eyes away, the brightness blinds me for
a moment, and the pages all look black.

Lifeboat

You are my non-inflatable life vest,
whistle and saltwater-activated
emergency light strapped to my bare chest.
You are my signal flare, my only hope
if I’m ever lost in the blue nowhere.
You are my emergency exit, left
unlocked at all times but never to be
utilized for my daily entrances.
You are my smoke detector, inspected
every few months to make sure you’re not
dead, but left alone for fear of your noise.
You are my spare tire, my AAA card,
my life insurance plan, my second, and
sorry, but I hope I’ll never need you.

Bingo Card

What’re poems if not a bingo card,
the right words punched out or daubed with colored
markers to win a certain sensation?
Because the lines are like money, like cash
prizes, meaningless except for what we
can do with them, how we ultimately
feel as a result of their slow aging,
this violent anticipation, for
only when we feel nothing, when numbers
never come up, when we aren’t even
in the game, is there frustration. A thrill
comes from being one ball away, almost
understanding the words perfectly, that
nearness often better than successes.