Thursday, July 1, 2010

Julie Babcock

The Insider's Club

Two men stand at a bus stop. The man that arrived first is twisting
balloons. The man that arrived second is setting his watch. They do
this for a long time. A woman comes and stands between them.
"This is a joke, right?" she says. "What is a joke?" the balloon
twister asks. "What is she talking about?" adds the watch man.

When the bus arrives, only the woman gets on. The balloon twister
has twisted all his yellow balloons into a giant banana and is now
working on a multi-colored wiener dog. The watch man takes two
alarm clocks out of his pocket and sets them on the bench. Another
woman comes along and stands behind them, watching. After several
minutes she lies, "Very funny. I know what you're doing." The two
men do not answer. No bus is in sight, and there is only the ticking
of clocks and the farting balloons.

Bad Writing
for Michael Martone

He didn't believe it was possible. But bad writing was very bad. It
had slept through workshop and drooled during discussions of
craft. Now it was lumbering in the middle of the Vermont College
Green without moving aside for the Frisbees and the cats and the
dogs chasing the cats. Soon it was planning on spreading, turning
gelatinous like the blob just so Steve McQueen could show up in
front of the Stone Science building with a hose and the police and
the teenagers–everyone versus bad writing. The whole well meaning
community will pour bullets and fire and dry ice over bad writing's
whole, stinky body. And bad writing will laugh and ha because
nothing, no nothing, will ever stop it.


It was a Saturday and I didn't know what to do with myself. So I gave
myself to someone else. He decided myself was good at darts, even
though I told him myself wasn't. He fed myself water and carrots. He
threw things to improve hand/eye coordination. But myself still placed
last at the dart tournament.

He brought myself back to me. He felt badly about the darts. About the
water and carrots. About the whole thing, really. "I just don't know what
myself is good for," he said as he began to cry.

I told him it was all right. I was glad to see myself again, who was
looking good a few pounds thinner and sporting a new outfit. It seemed
like a lot had happened since that Saturday.


We sit on our plastic chairs in the Jewish Community Center and hear
about women's intuition. How we will know what to do when Baby
descends through the cervix and pushes open our bones. Our instructor
twists a life-size doll through Madame Skeleton to demonstrate. The
head pops off.

Things can go wrong: placenta previa, back labor, failure to progress.
We can get through all of it.

Sniff, ha, sniff, ha, the instructor says.

-all poems previously published at No Tell Motel

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