Freefall Eugenics

When Bono's private Learjet
lost its cargo hatch
at 8,000 plus, the luggage tumbled,

and one valise blossomed open
over a German spinster's garden—
muscle shirts, distressed Levis,

Nike Zooms and the scarf Elsa Hummel
recognized from a Cosmo shoot
featuring U2's global idol semi-nude.

Astute hausfrau, she embraced
the gifts that dropped into her
lavender bed like so many heaven-sent

flowers—silk socks, the star's skivvies
(azure) and a raveling Aran
jumper. E-Bay, she thought, until

she thought better, figuring if
the undies were a bit dirty
they'd be worth world's more

than at any earthly auction,
as she might scrape flakes
of DNA from his blue boxers,

and science being what
these days TV says it likely is,
she could bear the famous

shamrock songbird's baby
and petition him for child support
to live out her golden days

with mimosas and pâté
in Riviera luxury, Barcelona
cafês, Cabo or Tibet,

a sure win-win, no regrets, so
right away she dialed up on her
Galaxy Ace dear brother Dieter,

a slick Hamburg solicitor who
affirmed the whole scheme
seemed to him not inconceivable,

though his billable hours
could well mount up schnell, and her
conception chances, he admitted,

might have polled slightly higher
if she hadn't yet eclipsed sixty,
but her answer was—and quickly,

"Nein. Age is no impediment, mein
Bruder. He's Bono the omnipotent,
magnificent and nifty. He rules

and he rocks," but her brother,
loath to picture the possibly
squalid fallen togs in question or

remember any Bono lyrics
he could abide, typed right back
(translation): "Yes, yes, sis, but his

birth name is Paul Hewson,
a true black Irish gobshite
(an cat dubh), and those

high-flying micks have
always been litigious,
volatile and shifty. Since God is

devious and always scheming,
further attire/sartorial mishaps may
ensue, so my professional

position on this aspiration is
(and, Elsa dear, I'm not kidding):
Never abandon your miracle wishing,

but raise the bar, be patient
and hold out for the real
gold, something from Nikki Sixx,

Ringo, or some love-stained
thongs ditched by the Boss or
timeless Sting."

Where There's Smoke

The gunshot sound echoed across Pearl Valley
as Ruthie beat the peafowl oriental
with her wicker cane woven like a coiled snake.

She walloped that old cock with his spectacle
of rainbow feathers and headdress till a smoke
of dust rose like a trash fire,

and anyone watching would wonder
if she was thinking of Oliver, who'd been a pain—
whiskey and slatterns, games of chance

and no taste for farming—even before he left.
It was a wedding gift from her brother,
a preacher in Vilas, and hearsay had it

her husband unrolled its woven glories
on their wedding night across the parlor and took
his bride right there upon the wool fibers

until she pled "stop" and wept. Oliver—
he was a foul-tongued man, blue of eye and eager
to scuffle, a Tyrone Power sort in his blue suit,

slicked-back hair and salesman's grin. Could even
Ruth have missed him when he vanished
with a borrowed truck and the black guitar

he always swore he'd learn to strum
"to make the local fillies prance and beam"?
Not so much as a post card , nor even

a rumor—he never ventured back, and she shed
no tear seen by any local soul but smoked
her Luckies and sipped her scotch-doctored

pekoe tea at Bridge Guild with a smile
like a cat when she trumped. Some say a routine
of carpet and beater kept her sane. Maybe

the habit of scrub and dust, every lamp,
knick-knack shelf and divan speckless, the floor
under the fringed rug buffed so its white pine

shone, even the trap door to the root cellar,
cool as a spring house, forever locked,
as Ruthie canned little and stored no apples

or potatoes in the dark, hid no jugs of cider:
she'd freed the house of homebrew soon after
her nemesis left. Nights she'd rock on wicker

beside the tulip lamp to study the latest Life
and serial novels. She would not keep
guineas, chicks nor any living yardbird,

as the carpet's strutting ornament neither
gobbled feed and pansies nor shat the black
pike fence, and mornings now she's by the line

where anyone can see her batting like a bona fide
Yankee slugger, flushed face and fox red hair
making her seem a woman afire. She whips

that wedding carpet clean, smoke dust
rising, visible daily for miles. It's said she smiles
that wry cat smile as she merrily hums.

The peacock takes the shock and does not scream.



            13
               april 15, 2015