Two Poems by Mike Tyler

BOMB 4 Fall 1982
004 Summer Fall 1982

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

six short poems written with chicken pox

Two brooms

There are two brooms
in my closet
one broom adds dirt
when you sweep
the other broom
picks up dirt
but only the dirt
added by the
first broom

*

The donkey doesn’t have a needlenose pliers

“There are just too many skulls
just too many
I can’t do the dishes
there are just too many skulls”

*

The elephant and the anal thermometer

There isn’t one
big enough

*

Napoleon

Everybody thinks they’re Napoleon
they are right
I think I am scorched earth

*

“If people didn’t have pockets, they wouldn’t be empty”

The old man left
the white home
and the window open
the real boss
came in
and shut it

*

There are tigers in my garden

There are tigers in my garden
they erase

 

The ’80s, A TOAD

The truth is, people can be lied to, they can be scared
into being afraid, they are only as strong as their
weakness, and their weakness is strong logic, they
think completely about fear, so when the articulate
bully, with sandpaper hands, roughs them up, they take
two tablets of philosophy 101 and call themselves shithead
in the morning, they explain away any injury with a sigh,
fate,
fate is what the bully decides will happen tomorrow,

they fill your head up with a thousand wet magazines, they
fill your head up with a thousand gallons of ice cream,
they severe your head and place it, dripping sticky glossy
pages, on the petite seat of a tricycle,
and enjoy watching you pedal without legs, it is
a vibrating scalpel, up your nose, but you explain
away the pain, I cannot express my wretchedness because
I am too wretched,
freedom of speech is not a given but many times a taken away,

abstinence makes the heart grow weaker, with every
inward shrieker, disgusted at the insides of the humane
bean, comes the outward beaker, you drink down so low
(solo), that you can consort with people that consort, you know
the sort, not ex-cons, right-now-cons, fronds
of golden palm tree words cannot fan away
the odor, that con is short for conservative, of course
that’s what fronds are for,
look at least chemical addiction is only chemical,

comical, the poor, people without any
money, definition, the poor, people
without any money, let’s not throw
money at the problem, let’s give it
to the problem, here, people with a
lot of money, here have some money,
here, here
no really but that’s too sarcastic to be true,
hear me I have just begun to be droll,

swiss cheese self sainthood, doin’ nothine is
‘tific’, and a vacuum so sucky, that all the icky
stuffy, stucky, tween the toes of the couch, you know
where the foamy forms crackys, is whooshed up
into leadership roles, and the real leading actors are
assigned extra parts, as swell crowd swelling
slaves, crumbs, smelly coins, fingernail clippings,
potato chip chips, lost phone numbers, rule,
take the keys away from leaders that borrow a country and smash it up,

sometimes I wonder, shouldn’t I sniff glue, instead
of be glue, you know stick around all around all the
time, shouldn’t I vamoose on a moose, and mounty
all the bounty that would want my pure loins, why
do I so much want to entertain the troops in a
neutral zone, during peace, in a country without
an army, don’t I have better things to do than
to try to do these better things,
I’d rather be the best and have nobody know about me than the worst and,

stick I shall, but not with a plan, a plan
is always a blueprint for doing something entirely
different, and I want to do this, I know that
the good guys, left, and the bad guys stayed and had
a party, I know that the young and the restless are
resting, a diner in Greenwich Village has 7 chairs and no
customers, I know that everybody hates everybody else, and they
all have good reasons, but stick I shall, with bucket and pail,
somebody’s gotta clean up the mess

Mike Tyler was recently described by the Village Voice as a “post-punk rock philosopher.”

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A posthumous collection cements the author’s reputation as a master of the short story.

Originally published in

BOMB 4, Fall 1982

Mary Heilmann & Ellen Phelan, Georgia Marsh, Paul Bowles, Michael McClard, and Duncan Hannah. Cover by Mary Heilmann.

Read the issue
004 Summer Fall 1982