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Sunday, March 7, 2010

THE FUTURE OF TERROR / 1

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The generalissimo’s glands directed him
to and fro. Geronimo! said the über-goon
we called God, and we were off to the races.
Never mind that we could only grow
grey things, that inspecting the horses’ gums
in the gymnasium predicted a jagged
road ahead.  We were tired of hard news—
it helped to turn down our hearing aids.
We could already all do impeccable imitations
of the idiot, his insistent incisors working on
a steak as he said there’s an intimacy to invasion.
That much was true. When we got jaded
about joyrides, we could always play games
in the kitchen garden with the prisoners.
Jump the Gun, Fine Kettle of Fish and Kick
the Kidney were our favorites. The laws
the linguists thought up were particularly
lissome, full of magical loopholes that
spit out medals. We had made the big time,
but night still nipped at our heels.
The navigator’s needle swung strangely,
oscillating between the oilwells
and ask again later. We tried to pull ourselves
together by practicing quarterback sneaks
along the pylons, but the race to the ravine
was starting to feel as real as the R.I.P’s
and roses carved into rock. Suddenly the sight
of a schoolbag could send us scrambling.


Matthea Harvey is the author of three collections of poetry and a children’s book,  The Little General and the Giant Snowflake.  Her most recent book, in which “The Future of  Terror/1”
appears, is Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2009).  She lived in Whitefish Bay from the ages of 8 to 18, and on March 11 at 7:30 PM she will be reading her poems at UWM’s Hefter Center, 3271 N. Lake Drive.   

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