Three Advertisements for America
by Michael Paul

Mood-lit and punch-drunk, Sisyphus in a ’67 sedan
(same rock, new hill) this puer aeternus
perennial adolescent frat boy
cum artiste, whose ears are pointed
like a leprechaun’s, displaces air
downtown; spends inordinate energy
the politics of desire
the philosophies of drunken Indians
the glide to weight ratios of butterflies, and
the history of Amanda Pays lips, fingers
tapping on the wheel.
Searches the classifieds
for a sunset to ride into.

The White Rock Fairy, having had enough
of ups and downs, puts on black pumps (and nothing else)
flies in with documents to prove her indigence.
At the Presbyterian Clinic she cops a scrip
for Prozac (the fin du siècle panacea).
She sighs, scans the tabloids:
‘Speedy Alka-Seltzer Reveals That He is Bi-
Carbonate’ ‘Smith Bros. Commit Suicide’ ‘Mr. Clean
Bagged in Crack House Bust’
There is a painful period of adjustment
becoming an obsolete trademark.

Under the bridge a gaggle of broken people
are tuning their fillings to different stations –
lining their hats to attenuate the signals.
On 17th Street a man shambles and rants:
‘When I was in the Navy…when I was in the Navy…
it was never like this when I was in the Navy!’
Eight Blocks away an old woman in brown coat and
babushka, pushing all her worldly goods in a shopping cart,
mumbles in reply: ‘Awww, you were never even in the Navy!’
All over the city there are similar transmissions
on frequencies I hope your radio
will never receive.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a free form poem which references a mythical character in the first stanza and a fairy tale character co-opted as a brand logo in the second.  Hard to describe my creative process — a non-poet read some of my work and asked incredulously “Is this how your mind works!?”

IMAGE: “Faun with Stars” by Pablo Picasso (1955).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Michael Paul is an award-winning visual artist in traditional media who came upon poetry by a happy accident in April of 1996, during the inauguration of National Poetry Month. Michael has since achieved a number of publication credits in literary journals, has been invited to be the featured reader at numerous venues, including spots in both the Los Angeles and Orange County Poetry Festivals, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is the author of six chapbooks as well as a full sized collection of poems titled Dog Whistle Politics, which his publisher, Lummox Press of Southern California, states is the micro-press’ best seller on Amazon.com. Michael currently resides in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California with his wife Claudia Licht, and is the proud father of two, and grandfather of five children.