Thirteen Mexican blackbirds
who’ve burst from a pie,
flittering and skittering,
nervously, about the scene.
Thirteen devils dancing
on the head of a ten-penny nail
driven into the skull of a snitch.
A bear in a sundress
and a bull consulting the I-Ching,
each keeping a wary eye on the other
from opposite ends of the room.
A surgeon juggling bone saws
and whistling show tunes.
A bloodhound with the boot-ass blues,
a skeleton with a fool’s cap
and a blind swordsman folding origami cranes.
3 Elvis’s eating chicken wings and playin’ spades
and a vampire sipping cappuccino,
smoking cigarillos and reading
yesterday’s USA Today.
A grand master
of the Drunken Monkey Technique
precariously balanced on the back of a chair
and a teary-eyed clown with
a fierce and elaborate network
of girdles and trusses,
holding a single red rose,
sitting atop a unicorn.
A lawyer centering her chakra,
and a lounge-singer finding his power-animal
(most likely a mountain lion
or salamander or maybe even a raven
with a cigarette in its beak).
A cheerleader purging behind a dumpster,
a preacher on the verge of kicking out
a stained glass window
and a circus-midget’s smirking ghost,
skulking under a bloody moon.
A jealous god sulking on top of
contemplating the weather and whether
to smite Mr. Jones with
a suitcase full of money
or to enlighten Mr. Brown
with a falling baby grand.
An attorney general holed up
in his secret fortress at the bottom
and senseless acts of patriotism.
And, finally, beneath the massively gothic
masonic temple, in downtown
in the hermetically sealed obscurity
of sub, sub-basement #3
a hundred cigar-smokin’ monkeys
are sitting at their big Macs and fancy PC’s,
staring blankly at the blank, glowing screens…
-Jason Ryberg, 2010