Three Poems by Bruce Boone

BOMB 151 Spring 2020
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Bruce B La Fontaine

from La Fontaine (1981) by Bruce Boone and Robert Glück

A MUTILATION (FUTURE APPEALED TO)

‘Now here’s one I like!’
Or—‘Stop me if you’ve heard this,’ but
this story’s the exception. It’s
vouched for by Science and actually
happened. You judge.

A tree is cut down on account of age—
too much rot. It’s the owl’s hiding place.
Inside they find
spiders and nasty bugs of all kinds,
lizards and of course mice. The mice
have huge gluttonous tummies and no feet.
Why? Our learned owl’s plied them
with grain; he’s forced nutritious seed
down gullets and mutilated their little legs.
Why not admit it? this bird reasoned.
Here’s what happened. He hunted them.
When caught, they’d escape. The owl’s
distressed. For a remedy, he cripples them.
Fine! Now Mr. Owl
can perch at leisure. His larder’s
full. Eat them at once? Health problems
surely follow. One by one then. He’s
on owl Easy Street now. Lessons? This
bird’s prudence and ours are the same—
and intelligence often comes in small
packages. Why do the Cartesians continue
their blind speculations? This bird’s
a piece of clockwork, cog and wheel and nothing
else? Learn from a philosopher with more
to teach—Nature. Nature’s your true guide.
‘Eat ’em when you get ’em—or they
run off. Too many? Pack ’em in the cooler.’
My judgment’s harsh?
Wasn’t the era? Think before condemning.
The lucky ones of the century ate the
lovely Duchesse pears, the best there were.
We breathed clean air, took walks. Our
writing hasn’t been surpassed. Our poor
were easily forgotten; we never knew them.
On my deathbed I thought of the Estate
rather than Heaven. My last Will was this—
Read my poems.

from Dark Queer Suite (2006) by Bruce Boone

STEPHEN KING POEM

“Gai” exists but boisterous too: God. Some ex-hippies
in the movie I saw at the Castro with David. The
Big Chill. Near-to-chunky William Hurt. Glenn
Close a real love. Kevin Kline. JoBeth what’s
her name. Now like my neighborhood, 24th St.

To wake up in the night and a flash (I do this
all the time actually) tells you my god there’s
a nuclear war on! If there’s visitors to the
planet or rubble of it in 2020 and there’s anything
left they’ll wonder why these poems, ours, rhymed
language with “nothing.” Señorita Presidente, whined
Baudelaire to his bitchy girlfriend, ta tête, ton geste,
ton air. Just glitter and breathe. Ice.

It grids at this point, affection’s
the invader. Space shudders, orgasms of some Other
World come out, they’re gism. Vampires in
the old US of A? The piece of flesh crawls.
Let the sombitch be, Jed. Hideous infantile giggling.

That back of his, covered with hair, creative? Mr.
Idiot of dreams’s sitting on his back porch, droolin’
or dreamin’. World out there’s a-shiver with ideas
said Baudelaire leaning out his balcony, wrinkles brow,
is there a comparison maybe? Like all those long and
solemn… huh!… can’t remember how it ends till
the sucker finishes, says he. Three Mile Island
short circuit, right? Breadlines, right? A Grenada.
Bag that.

Dearest, I’m writing this to let you know sincerely
that the brightest light we saw last night on lush back
skies was wallpaper. Just Steven Spielberg. I
hope that’s OK with you, babe. As my sentences
become more irreversible they are revealed as just
bridges collapsing—and I hope that’s OK too. What
can I say, really now? Ribs, peach cobbler.
When the children come in for dinner, doesn’t just
about everybody? When you find some good advice,
you let me know. Keep in touch, honey. You know I

“Teeth brushed very well” in a too bright voice. Oh
girl, look at yourselves in the mirror. Try to
keep saying yes, I think it helps. Sex, anger,
trophies. Little things to put in quotes. A
social syntax. I’m short on recommendations,
long on fear. Keep the circuits open, that’s all.

Shambling up to you on the road, ugh, all covered
with… what is it Charlie, gore? Wriggle ears,
make face. Looks like something botched
at McDonald’s. Irate townspeople. “Why don’t it
go back where it came from?” It can’t. It
wants to say I’m just a big reflection of
you, you know. Right now it doesn’t have
words because we don’t have words. The
big black uglies come in and I just stare. Black star
spreads its fearsome light. Oh, too cold.

BUDDIES IN SPACE

I love my man. On this piece of velvet
what’s pleasanter than twinkly lights.
In my absence I don’t compare hot breath.
The blistering limbs keep plastering our
walls. Against this determination are
three. The mind’s the body, spirit too.
Soul’s irreducible. A finishing with the
quest for mastery in the pumping of iron.
My wish is the gods grant you a long and
happy, Thor 3. This was to kiss, salute.
Same to you sincerely, Atem bar Akatan.
We grossly ignored the doubts I told him,
my plan to teach. Without resolves or
resources, I told him, these asteroids
continue to whirl. Where they have limbs,
our pride’s bolts. Look from that porthole.
The spears of light that are thrown down,
ache in. Boisterous freedom’s my
only delight. Be loving you too, true.
Emblazoned on the foreheads were stars.

Mark McKnight
Mark McKnight, If Water Forgets How To Play Mirror
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Originally published in

BOMB 151, Spring 2020

This issue features interviews with Chitra Ganesh, Tania Cypriano, Charles Atlas, Netta Yerushalmy, Vi Khi Nao, Amani Al-Thuwaini, Andrea Hasler, and Bruce Boone, as well as fiction from Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Justin Taylor, Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, and Lee Relvas, and poetry from Shuzo Takiguchi and Bruce Boone.

Read the issue
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