Thursday, October 29, 2020

Three Poems, by Jerome Sala


Re-inflating the Corporate Bonus Bubble

I hear stomping steps across my ceiling
and the dull exhaust of a car struggling through the street.
A magazine on the table urges its readers to
hydrate, define and style their curl power. 

Lost in the mud below
I cannot see the sky
but what a party it must be. 

The gods are celebrating their resurrection
by way of reinvestment. They float again,
serene, over seas of data
that applaud their reappearance. 

Socrates exiled the poets
for denigrating the gods—
supplying them with earthly motives
until they seemed wild humans
lacking the discipline of mortality:
I worshipped Apollo a singer sang
until he murdered my family. 

We don’t talk of the gods today—
not out of reverence
but because we don’t
understand their language.
Emboldened by our incomprehension
those pricks up there can do anything they like. 



The Fly on the VP’s Head 

People read deeply into this insect—
if the camera zoomed into its blue foil back,
they imagine a message tattooed there
by the god of history. 

As it is, this dark vibrating spot
on a head of white straw
points to trouble ahead for its bearer—
that messenger ordered by the ailing king
to carry his words in a more coherent form
(a translation that only clarifies
their venomous intent,
especially as delivered by a sickly smile).

His opponent speaks with the insistence
of the future’s chic discipline.
She prosecutes the present while pointing to a time
when it may be cool again to be intelligent
and to bring the multiple into play—
that mathematics whose aporias
inspire leaps across a kingdom’s divisions. 

The fly, sly mediator between one regime
and the next, offers a philosophy of hope.
Change, it tells us, at first looks random—
an accident that results in laughter. But like a
“crocodile shows gone wrong” video
that goes on too long,
you just can’t tear your eyes away.


Every Day Is a Good Hair Day

It looks like the product is for grooming a dog
whose big white dog face stares out from the ad
with that sadness animals express when
their owners want to treat them as movie stars. 

Is that a celebrity holding him?
Her bright smile and beaming red lips
speak the language of fame
and that big black and white striped blouse —
a jockey riding the ideal of beauty toward sales. 

The headline reveals this is a tonic for both—
“Unleash the beauty of healthier hair
for you and your pooch.”
I wonder if they take a bath together? 


Jerome Sala’s books include Corporations Are People, Too! (NYQ Books), The Cheapskate (Lunar Chandelier) and Look Slimmer Instantly (Soft Skull Press). His work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions, Pleiades, Boundary 2, and many others. His blog -- on poetry and pop culture -- is espresso bongo:

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