Stitches for the Yugoslavian Stage

“[S]uddenly strangely lucid, pathetically aware of his destiny as inscribed in his genealogy, in the books of the prophets.” (Danilo Kis)

Well into the early 1940s
the star honked
into the evening newspapers.
The actor employing a repertoire,
including poet, buffoon, and wandering Jew
finally plays the peasant mutt
submissive to the belly.
Dissociation satiates.

The train in thought
suffering from schedule revisions,
one liners, and habit forming distractions,
never left for the grand tour
for the global petite bourgeoisie.
Filled with scapegoats,
the boxcars arrived
at the slaughter house on time though.

A focus on streams
carrying for thought where other
devotions plop and sink
blurred to allow unhappy people
lugging mirror tablets to pharaohs
spill Rhine wine from veins.

During the poetry told by the long rain
in starless nights, mother and son,
haunted by postcards for séance,
translated to revive in vain with breath:

One daring and bold lumpenproletariot
left an ash-gray morning in the garden
“I am yours, etc.”

A Singer machine accompanies
the solitaire language game.


Austerlitz: under Siege

Dissociative amnesia: The inability to remember important personal experiences, caused by psychological factors in the absence of any organic dysfunction. (APA)

A four-year old mind
swallowed within an opened eye
when the kinder-transport
pulled from the station:
A glass globe
fixed within a small face
studied about architecture
during someone else’s life.

(Soon after chosen by the SS,
mother was trucked to a resort.)
Foster parents froze
to death in England,

so the boarder learned
a second name at school,
and a waiting room contained
all the hours from a past life.

An actor entering the stage
after the performance,
the doppelgänger watched
in re-enactment and imagination.
Daffyd wouldn’t let go
so the interior moved with care.

When cold sweat broke through
the unconscious Theresienstadt,
details threatened to bury
the outsider and the reader.

Kept for a million deeds
that produced exotic birds
and that now hang
shabby on coat racks,
satiated moths present for memory
angels while acts,
fresh from intention, slaughtered.

An orphaned mind framed
by a friend for the WWII museum
hangs for the shrug from a viewer.


Europa Jarred Silly

Depression and the death drive drove.

Poetry plugged away at the keys to dreamland.

Sibyl drooled:
The electric shock


The outlet for objective correlatives was engaged,
and power lines charged…..

Sting-a-ling-a-ling turned into goose steps.

So many bodies on London Bridge
if the sleepers stopped flowing over
the city would drown. Jug. Jug.

Going back and then forth
would need repeating against ruin.

A bit of meat for the house dog teased
until legs, arms, and whole gypsies
and Jews compensated.

So much for brilliant doctors
for reading and reflection!


The Conformist Convention 1943

A chameleon in Europe
survived by generating nimble personae
with a palette for moods to last a century.

One-trick ponies, the well-developed
leopard spots mowed down within days
by cognitive dissonant friends.

Dissociative disorder cued for roles.
Within the home for the blind
and home for crazed the sociopath disappeared.
Beautiful lies promised to deliver
mediocre marriage and Laurel and Hardy.

When a second slaughter chose for sides
in the normal state, Italo
and a priest chauffeur drove for Marcello
through the countryside Heim Actualite:
Melancholy and Its Discontents.

Cowards, homosexuals, and Jews lined up,
but the shirker and weakling abetted.
In a dream impotent intellectuals restored
for the willed-ignorance:
Hitler, a cab, and Mary inspired for “Hail.”

How does dictatorship fall into normalcy?
Not with knives and a beloved hunted down
in the forest while the unmoved “lover” watches.

The grace found in the projection: scapegoat.
With the white cane held high
and an anthem-ready tongue
the liberation parade opened for Caster oil, again.


Enlightenment Elegy

Myth says that using beauty a cherub terrified
until rumor visited to overwhelm ears.
After the Enlightenment
an angel preys in feathers
and then swoops around with gauze.

A week in Dresden might hold a match
to the flesh melting in the Hiroshima news flash:
Genshi bakudan putrescence!

Funny but books and shoes don’t matter anymore
when annihilation embraces.
A helping hand came away
with palm and finger skins.
“It’s so cold.” “Water water.”
“Excuse me for having no burden like yours.”
Seared, the eight doctors for 10,000 patients
oozed into pus and puke toward putrefaction.

Dead in rubble or strewn on grasses waiting to die
while Mr. B boasted toward Nagasaki: “That bomb had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British Grand Slam, which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.” And then boosted with debris and stubble.

Who are these acrobats?
A will which wrings, swings, twists
and catapults and when falls
through the slick and polished air
bandages to an earth bruised.

The bio-logical being imposed
for a messenger from gods,
a bird from paradise, the superman,
and in the dross at the military theater
the cave dwellers struggle to breathe.


Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy

Rich Murphy’s credits include books Body Politic (2017) by Prolific Press; Americana won Prize Americana 2013, his third book, published by The Institute for American Studies and Popular Culture; Voyeur (2008) Gival Press Poetry Award (Gival Press); and The Apple in the Monkey Tree (Codhill Press, 2017). Chapbooks include Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press). The poems published here are included in book manuscript Minds of Europe: A Genealogy to The Fat Man. In December, 2016, it was selected as a Beverly Prize short list finalist at Eyewear Publishing.

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