A Long Story / Foothills Panic


Matt Cook


A Long Story

Remember that time you drank vodka and grape soda
and you vomited purple vomit on your white sport coat
and the photographer came by and took a photograph of you?
The black and white photograph of the purple vomit on the white sport coat.

I remember five minutes ago like it was yesterday.
When you were a boy, I remember, you had a strong dislike for passages
in a book where a character was making his way through the dark.
You resented printed words that wanted you to visualize not being able to see.

Remember that invisible fence you installed along your father's property?
You wanted to keep your father's dogs from running into the street.
You told me once that you had a problem with your invisible fence.
I said, What's the problem with your invisible fence?
You said, It's a long story.
I said, I don't want to hear a long story about an invisible fence.


Foothills Panic

There's a grocery store at the foot of the mountain
Where they misspell the name so you remember it better.
You drive past failed motels and successful dead chickens.
The cavemen live in houses and the housewives live in boxes.
There's nowhere good to stay except the abdominal pouch of a marsupial.
There's water leaking from a man's car, strawberry ice cream from a woman's ear,
The sound of one branch of philosophy breaking.
There goes the zoologist with his renegade speculation on sleeping bats—
It's nice to see an ineffectual man in his natural habitat,
Refusing to cooperate with local authorities,
Acknowledging only the iridescent plumage
Of the common rain gutter bird.
They have to put something at the foot of the mountain.
Lurid banner at gardening center reads: Cypress Mulch Madness.
The bread at the supermarket is always up against the wall.
The stock-boys are laughing at your descent into irrelevance.