Jeff Bagato

Running Across Harappa

                         a civilization
                                     with excellent
    forever without
                           a word 

                                   a sign
                                         glowing red
                             that nobody
                                              reads because
                     maybe they
             don’t know they need

Your Ad Here

                                       oh nihilism
                                                     oh woe
                       oh fee fi
                                            fo fum
                                oh balderdash on cue
                                    when was the last
                            time I saw such
                                             a grape ape
                                                      strutting before
                                        the lens—
                  a raisin or four
                               backing a lengthy tune
          with bells & whistles
                                             & gosh

                          the purple Kong
                                          prances well;
                 he means well,
                                                 I think;
                               he smells well,
                                          (I mean to say),
                    as again & again
                                     he raises placard 
                                on high:
                                                           we deliver,
                    we service,
                                       we sing:
                                 cure alls &
                                                crowns &
                                        flit for the 
                                                      bigger doo dah
                         of your dee

Barcode Traps

                                                When you wish to see the
                                                            back of your
                              eyes when filled with sun
                                              give rise 
                                        to a new screen
                                                     in a new cave,

                                    the phone rings and asks
                  for your credit card number,
                                  a  number well-masked behind
                        your eyes—
                                                           a number somehow
                                      equivalent to the length from earth
                                                to the sun divided
                                                             by your life span,
               and this divided by the number
                     of your breaths
                                      during the call,
                               so foreseen—
                                                       to this figure add
                                         the average number of clicks you
                                                  make on the remote when channel 
                                   surfing—and your eyes
                                                                   fill with images
                                                           in arithmetic progression
                                                                                until they
                                                              overflow as tears

                                               The phone prompts 
                            one number choice
                                                         at a time
                                               when all other choices
                                     seem irrelevant

               Once all the numerals
                         of your life have been
                                              submitted you
                         will receive your barcode
                               by mail,

                                          the scanners hungry
                           like cockroaches for grease on a stove,
                   & phones like
                               remoras lunge for your

                                                              eyes flashing your
                                            numbers on the sky

Reaching for Mars with the Wrong End of the Stick

               Why not shoot yer mouth off
                                   when you can
                       get Uncle Sam
                                             to do all your bailing

                                                       our reach
                             overextended on police 
                                                            business and

                                       oil business and the
                  business of America
                               with a really small

                                               Mars beckons
                          where the green gods
                                    sit in utopia’s pink sand,
                                                      grinningly and 
                                           not an overcoat in sight

                                  and the nose of the market 
                        leader sniffing

                               Our mars a rocket
                                           shot away

                                                              a feast day
                                                                   without a feast
                                                       for the people who dream
                                     while those who hold 
                                                                                  the rockets
                                                          eat deeply of the pie—

                                                  it goes in green—
                                       teeth polished
                                                              & remarkably sharp,
     and the bile

                                             it goes in green
             out of a pocketbook
                                 & into a maw,
 chewed fine as sand
                                           and the bile 

                 it goes in—

                                         the rocket
                                on the launching pad,
            or just about 
                                 where it teaches
                          a lesson
                 and comes out red,

  not just the red of blood,
                          the red also
                                             of livers,
                               muscle, tongues,
                 liquefied remains, and
                                                 the heart,

                          and the heart

Jeff Bagato is a writer and electronic musician living near Washington, DC. Some of his poetry has appeared in Zoomoozophone Review, Otoliths, In Between Hangovers, Streetcake, Clockwise Cat, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite Corpse, and Chiron Review. His most recent book of poems, Savage Magic, came out in early 2016. Other poetry books include And the Trillions and Spells of Coming Day. He has also published several science fiction novels, including The Toothpick Fairy, Computing Angels, and Dishwasher on Venus. A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com.
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