Caleb Puckett

Attenuated Monday

Imperceptible waves code the calibrations of suited bodies caught 
among the standard belts and wheels which needle their machines 
closer to critical levels. 
                                                Revolving panes strip away their reflections 
as they ambulate through the leased reception space to be shorn, 
lifted and resorted in compartments above. 
                                                                                        A body considers its task 
on a bench beyond, daggering a pen into a blank application form, but
it relapses into waiting for their alarms to detonate 
                                                                                                        the flower pots set out 
to soften the severity of that circuit from office to garage to street to home.

The body waits, waits and waits some more, but the signal never attenuates.

State of the Capitol

The brochure in the one star hotel seemed to say it all, but you still felt compelled to join the tour. Now you stare at a rigid, bleached white Goddess of Victory claiming the gleaming copper dome, its substance equivalent to 4,800,000 pennies and 6,553,000 bodies on lease or loan. Below the roof, a mass of cut stone pushes itself into windows, turning the whole structure into a desert studded with tombstones. A thickset man in a bolo tie and black vest enters the balcony, twirling a flaming pocketwatch with suggestive arcs. He points to a reddish stain on a pillar before disappearing into a shaded corner. Beyond the building, a massive pair of flags waves in passersby looking for a perfect shot for their albums. You marvel aloud at how faded the otherwise bright primary colors seem in this severe light before turning back to the other travelers. An armed militia dressed in festive pink and lavender camouflage jumpsuits flanks an approaching group of school children, seemingly offering moral support as the youngsters dutifully file closer to the building’s entrance. A searing wind follows behind them, sending 4,800,000 candy wrappers from a busted piñata and 6,553,000 partially charred social security cards twisting in waves across the sidewalk. You take a step back, temporarily abating your lust for knowledge in order to wipe sweat from your lips and regain your bearings. Your guide says, “Welcome to the Valley of the Sun” in both English and Español. He specifically focuses on you for a moment, adding that “The heat in these parts is really quite tolerable because it’s so very, very dry.” You attempt to respond, but your tongue is too dry and raw to allow for discernable speech. Even though it’s still morning, you’re seriously considering having a couple of margaritas.

Caleb Puckett lives in Kansas. Some of his recent work has appeared in Mad Hatters’ Review and New Mystics. Puckett has published several chapbooks and two book-length collections, Tales from the Hinterland (Otoliths, 2008) and Market Street Exit (Otoliths, 2010). His newest work, Fate Lines/ Desire Lines is forthcoming from Mammoth Publications. In addition to writing, Puckett edits the lit journal Futures Trading.
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