HomeArchivesSubmissionsCorpse MallOur GangHot SitesSearch
Exquisite CorpseExquisite Corpse
Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
Eight Poems
by Ken Wainio

Author's Links

There's a hand in my garbage
I throw it out cursing my friends
It comes back lively as ever
playing solitaire. I kick the table
It scuttles away under the bed
Why do I get such hands as this
Which miss the point of no return
Which fall asleep making dead
spider fists. Only to reawaken
when another brother wants
to feel your garbage

I have to put up with many such hands
They grab you like leftovers
Like a nightshift sack lunch
Like a greasy gearshift
These hired hands
They snatch a nightstick
and crush your balls. You may see
a palm reader. You may take up boxing
But no gloved fortune operates
their touch. Lost and found
under the kitchen sink


They throw me a crust
Ok I take it
They throw me another crust
I eat the dirt right out from under them
I uncover a bag in a mass grave
It has eyes painted on it to throw off thieves
Grave thieves are rampant in this country
I open the bag but it's only a sacrificial child
Who knows what the gods expect from
such a rotten kid. Ancestor worship
Dead tribes heading into heads
so dead they have been here before
mythology. Witch doctors waiting
for the pizza to arrive


It comes at you from the side
It comes like crows afraid of mirrors
Like water upset by noon wind
By the guffaw of timeless sightseers

I never noticed how beautiful you were
until I saw you upside down
in a fountain of trapezes
wearing a necktie tightrope

I would have handed you
my oriental handkerchief
but your strawberry gaze, transcendental
as menopause, was already China blue

in a riptide living room, everybody
surfing. The refrigerator full of mermaids
The view from my lakeside cottage
directly upon your shipwreck

The Habitat of Squalls

Each molecule is a spaceship
You realize when you're dead
No speculation art poetry
This engine has no starter

Out of time are assembled fabrics
You look great today. Tomorrow
I'll dig your grave and be your six
foot flower. Pollen drifts across the

water, smoky harbor hands fish
in oblivion. Candy stars open. Dread
flags are torn up for clothing. White
whales give the password. A semi-fluid

secretion of old arithmetic shadows
How a slight child touched your dreamy
face no questions asked. How we get
away from words and live. I need you

more than Tarzan Jane. Her tranquil smile
asleep in distant lightning on a pile of
eggs. The ape man's vision saved
like a New Age crocodile

In the Bush

A tin roof with sniper
Breasts like magnets
Anyone can jam radar poetry
The cat popped the orange balloon
and worried the skin like a condom

There is no karma assigned
to being an animal. Pull back
the foreskin of aboriginal dreamtime
and follow the messiah's tracks
to the virgin waterhole

A voice in the next gas station
repeats on the restroom wall
Go find yourself in lively Jerusalem
There's a Burning Bush down there
Any cradle will do

Dear Friend

I'm sorry you're not here. Plato and Socrates
are drinking in the kitchen. The shelves
crammed with wisdom, occasionally
ransacked by lost tourists. I'm high as a fly
protected by lofty windows. Vodka is clearly
the catalyst. Why the Russians loved French
so much. A cocktail mixed with outrageous
passion noted down by ravishing nuns

I just awoke from a dream about doing time
The sky is alert. July won't tolerate vigil. Evil
eyes give off guarded flares. It takes immense
courage to go to the door. The architects are
gone and the jailers are here. They caught me
in a bat cave in Virginia with an underage bat
I was sentenced to death plus three million years
in a guano factory. Now I fuck only insects
An insect can be only a few days old
and no illegal parts attached. Dead kicking
bug legs on the bottom of manholes

The gumshoe fly is still here confused by
invisible glass. Horny sails point on the horizon
The sky is a bad painter's nightmare. Blue
void stuffed with white hotdogs. The clogged
intestines of outer space writing home. There
is no return address and the labels are upside
down. This isn't jail. It's house arrest. I know
the place inside out. A few words picked up like
specimens of a broadcast before we had ears

Rome Fell

Give me a break. What fell
Where when? Maybe it had a major operation
Lost a few hunks but the vital
signs are hitting the ceiling

Rome fell in your dreams
The real item is there
Mold all over it for sure
A Christian bacterial gravy
in huge floppy growths

Sure the cancer of lyres. Of
popular growers of disposable
pilgrims. Rome is what happened
to rock stars of mineral time

Look up Jesus in the phonebook
See the Virgin in the yellow pages
Just dial the Pope on guilty.com
Confess online. I don't know the last name
of anybody called Paul. Call Rome

Hall of Appearances

The Egyptians were terrified of rain
It was a rare occurrence
and they were terrified of change
Of water eroding their beautiful painting
Towering stone papyrus flowers rendered
so lovingly melting away multi-dimensionally

How they feared change. The exact
monumental moment opening like
the mouth of a child's sleepy mummy
This is rare this is too much. We have
been here before these flowers
We are not alone. The seeds are deadly

HomeArchivesSubmissionsCorpse MallOur GangHot SitesSearch
Exquisite Corpse Mailing List Subscribe Unsubscribe

©1999-2002 Exquisite Corpse - If you experience difficulties with this site, please contact the webmistress.