archives spring 2008



Human Resources

Finally the printer just jig-sawed & Swiss-cheesed & otherwise minced & shredded
each memo, resume, & refusal-of-credit letter to a stubble-mulch lettuce
a hamster would love.

Something had to be done.

Debbie distracted the printer with fresh reams of paper. I dialed the company’s
emergency hot line & whispered the secret code word.


When I hung up the phone the SWAT Team was there rappelling in a shadowy
flux from the roof.

The printer sensed something was up. Ink & toner drooled from its face.
Its digital readout was reading in tongues, flashing a seizure
of stop & go.

“Debbie,” I said. “Take my hand.”

The SWAT Team swung through the windows like axes swift through the haze
with their laser scopes trained. 

They outflanked it quick.

When they had the printer blindfolded & unplugged, the CO from IT
lit a cigar. Two boys in the back went to work on the printer,
one with some pliers, one with a pipe.

The CO shook his head grimly. “We’ve seen this type of printer before.”


Presidential Debates
            after Mike Huckabee

i decided
one way or the other
this hunt was about to be over

i could not stand any more
the cold

and somehow
by the grace of God
when i squeezed the trigger
my weatherby .300 mag

(the greatest gun I think
ever made)

did its work

somehow the angels
took that bullet
and took it right to the antelope

my hunt was over
in a wonderful way

thanks to those angels
that elk was dead


Reading Wallace Stevens in the Mall

Thrown into a ball of light I nearly was
then some teenybopper jailbait
pornographically sipping an electric green slurpee
was wearing yoga pants that said
bling-bling across the ass.  I couldn’t look
without feeling a pervert uncle’s shame
and I couldn’t not look, like that time in the country
karaoke bar where Marty sang “A Day in the Life”
so wickedly out of tune, winking at the big-haired ladies in front
while their jug-eared cowboys shooting pool
shot us dirty looks.  And because a thing
need not have meaning, the point of vision and desire,
yadda yadda yadda,
I daydreamed of the teenybopper’s pants just falling off.   
And because the mind can never be satisfied,
I rounded up a posse in my head—
Marty and the cowboys and their mentholated queens;
the horny-sounding stupid-seeming teenyboppers in the mall
who looked like Swedish Gangster Rappers. 
All of us together.  Ignorance
our chief asset.  A democracy of the mind
whistling through buckshot
like an unthinking blackbird, flying off in the American night
singing country songs like “Bubba Shot the Jukebox”
and “Get Off the Stove Grandma
You’re Too Old to Ride the Range.” Everything is complicated
and depending on something else, like kidnapping
The President and strapping him to a chair
in a closet full of sensible ideas for once.  The mind is a crowd
walking on mirrors.  The President’s dirty diapers
say bling-bling across the ass.  The First Lady
is a mentholated drag-queen. 
In the malls the slurpees are glowing.  Like plutonium. 
Weapons grade.



Say the President wants to make a complete thought.
First he has to make ½ the thought. 
But before he can make ½ the thought he has to make a ¼ of the thought first.
But before he can make a ¼ of the thought he has to make ⅛ of the thought and so on.  Every attempt he makes toward a complete thought shrinks the President’s thoughts

closer to no beginning or end. 


Matthew Guenette’s first book, Sudden Anthem (Dream Horse Press, 2008), won the 2007 American Poetry Journal Book Prize. His poems have appeared recently in Pindeldyboz, Diagram, Southern Indiana Review, and Verse Daily.  He lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.