Rambo Goes to Idaho to Study Poetry
by Scott Abels

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I know
where the Indians go.
It’s how I learned to play piano

on an island
fixed on a single greased pig

slipping through the talons
of a bald degreasing eagle
in the middle of the East China Sea.

That’s where the American phrase
spreads like wild fiber
gets totally effed in translation.


And hard to know
that whatever you say
your exit interviews
will be anthologized.


            Hang that on your head Tom Dooley.
            Poor boy you’re going to die.




I’ve been thinking about                                                                                                 
a student I hate all day

broken down to baby powder.
And if the new president

approves tickling for information, then
she will teach me

poetry.   This is a difficult moment. 
A Hollywood moment

straight as arrows. In the myth of prom
I have a decorative sword.

I wear boots with my suit for effect.
I am suddenly unresponsive to certain songs.

The graffiti says BEEF JERKY!
The punch a medical bitter.

Three times the cucumber
the recipe originally called for.

In the myth of prom
poetry means us.

I am a tile bathroom ensemble
and I am a rock wall.

Tight, knowing I have a date tonight
Lady lock your shield with mine.








Dear Diary, I spent December writing letters to Mr. Retrospect.                                     

One hundred pages of thought
referencing something that doesn’t exist.

Imagine a ghost coming into your life
and showing you your future.

What a humbug I’ve been,
playing make pretend good heaven.

It’s the same force
which tells us why an apple doesn’t go to heaven.

A part of my world begins
with improbable explanations.

I’m a big fan
of the fall of man.

I bought the T-shirt.