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Selected Poems

Lunch Will Be Served


Just when you think that you are
on the road to success and the
medications have calmed down
your wife, plus a big sale at
the foodstore means that you
can finally buy your cat a
decent meal—that's when
you get the news that it's time
to stare calamity in the face


And what a face: it comes
at you like a speeding pie
It has three eyes. It was created
by an overdose of nuclear
radiation. Its cunning knows
no bounds. Meaning, now
you are going to pay for something
you did in a past life, or didn't
do or should have thought
about doing. If you even rated
a past life. If not, then these are
just the normal ups and downs
Which do you think is worse?


Anyway. A procession of ghosts
will carry your pencil box
down to the office from which
you will never be allowed
to retire. Lunch will be served,
but all you can expect is
a bag of blood and transfat:
In other words, to rub it in,
even the cat will get a better deal


Meanwhile, the universe remains
an incomprehensible wheel of
grave attraction. Fish, swans,
and archers lie in each other's
starry embrace while dark particles
have been driving by your house
all day in their neutrino cars,
in a hurry to do a job that will
never be revealed to us. And in
some versions of this story,
the cat has magical powers
Oh my God, you say. I had no idea

Well, now you do. In fact,
in some versions of this story,
beings of faith and light
are in the kitchen, dancing
with your wife. Then your
friends arrive, still lugging
around their own dilemmas,
hoping you will feed them
from the common pot, like
in the old days. And as tired
as you are, you think you can


"Lunch Will Be Served" by Eleanor Lerman, from The Sensual World ReEmerges. © Sarabande Books, 2010.





Karmann Ghia




broken little century

driving around in your Karmann Ghia

like all the rock and rollers,

the queer disciples who

helped me with my homework

in 1968

I am not done with you


High as a gilded lily,

slinking around with your bedroom eyes

fixed on Mexico as the

best place to die


I have the evidence, now,

that you were possessed of

too much hope

Your clothes were too beautiful;

you were, yourself, too beautiful

Gay blades indeed: that's a

gut punch, little darling

Little age of pain


So what were you doing,

drinking the last hours away

in a vicious bar, wearing your

summer suit and a panama hat?

Setting sail already, hmm?

With your suitcase

buying a ticket on a passing cloud


Were you just

waiting to see what would happen?


Well, this is what happened

At least you could have left me

the keys to the car


--Published in Book of Matches, Issue 3, September 2021

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