James Davis

This Poem Is So Middle-class, It's Pathetic

My mother has a word for what she's been doing since the sixties:
“piddling.” Verb, intransitive. We lick the rims of our margaritas, mine salted, hers sugared.

Fruity Pebbles, Hungry Man, everything I ate had a name more memorable than mine.
I am pretty good at a lot of things.

My obsession with thrift stores began in the ninth grade, a symptom of
my obsession with death. I wore a No. 1 Grandpa sweatshirt. My mother threw it out.

As a rule, the middle class dances worse than both the upper and lower classes.
No pain moves us, nor have we been trained at imitating pain. This is painful to us.

His mother died in the car crash. They bought a Corvette convertible with the insurance money.
We saw it every day in the high school parking lot and didn't say a word.

There's nothing sadder than a sad person who cannot clearly articulate his sadness.
I hope this poem is over soon. It's not going nearly as well as I'd imagined.

My father cried when I came out to him. It was in a Jason's Deli. I handed him a napkin
and piled my salad bowl high with artichoke hearts.

The Best American Poetry, 1487

Contributors' Notes and Comments

KAMAL T'KAK took the Datura sacrament in the foothills of Huqueamp avi, where God-son Mastamho slew the sea serpent. Last season, his harvest yielded forty pumpkins. He holds an MFA from Brown University and a PhD from the University of Houston. He lives in the Spirit Canyon.
                Of “Morningstar's Fireball Song,” Kamal T'kak writes: “This is part of a larger work. I learned to throw fireballs when performing this song so that in the future the earth might be formed.”

KOIANIMPTIWA lay for twenty days after his birth in complete darkness under the supervision of his Corn Mother; though his newborn body was of this world, his universal parents still guarded his spirit. His work has appeared in FIELD, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Ploughshares, and is forthcoming in the Nation. He was twice a Bread Loaf Fellow.
                Of “Hopi Korosta Kachina Tawi,” Koianimptiwa writes: “This song recalls the story in which the people exile Taboo-Breaking Girl, who has become Sharp-Nailed Girl. The crows paddle her out to an island, maroon her, and invoke fog to confuse her. It is too sacred to be recorded.”

TERIAQ, like his namesake the stoat, moves extremely fast over the snow considering his small stature. An orphan, he will one day rise to the position of Angakkuq with the aid of his dead loved ones. His first book is forthcoming from Graywolf Press this fall.
                Of “Approach,” Teriaq writes: “This aubade wards off sickness when there is sickness in the village, but not in the house. It requires no further gloss.”

WAXTHI'ZHI recently defeated a Sioux, Sauk, and Fox alliance near Ca'goben's village. Currently, he is praying for a red cloud to descend on Pivanhonkapi and destroy the witches there. He holds a Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
                Of “Rising of Buffalo Bull Men,” Waxthi'zhi writes: “I rise, I rise—I, whose tread makes earth rumble, in whose humped shoulders there is power, in whose thighs there is strength.”


I watched his trucker porn,
fed the cat her eye meds,
hid the keys under the doormat.
The microwave blinked
midnight, midnight, midnight.

James Davis lives in Gainesville, Florida. His work has been published by American Short Fiction, HTMLGiant, Subtropics, Pebble Lake Review, and others.
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Blogger alditalk said...

great great great - thanks! sam l.

4:16 PM  

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