Paul Fericano

WE’RE OFF TO KNEE THE WIZARD

1.

as trumpkins of the ruling party
in the bowels of the land that was

we bend to you most regally
as we aim to justify you legally

to prove (with you) that you (by you)
are mentally, manfully

biblically, bullishly
prematurely, dissolutely

superstitiously and officiously sound

2.

as president you must agree
that i’m the perfect judge of me

and i’m not only merely right
i’m really most severely right

3.

then this is a proud day of incoherence
for all the trumpkins and their defendants

(so many)

yes let the simple truth be plain:
the president decrees he’s not insane

 

SHELTERING OUT

With a little luck
and knowing as I do my own history

I will be working at my desk
recreating the universe in my own image

Remembering something I never said
when I have my final emergency

Two young paramedics will arrive
to rush me to intensive care

I will struggle foolishly to speak
as they strap me to the gurney

One of them will try to restrain me
my clenched fist banging

Against the chrome railing
that keeps me from my falling on my face

The other will then look down at me
with eyes more solemn than my own

And in one last act of compassion
will lean in close to hear me whisper:

I’m a Catholic
please don’t call a priest

 

DEAN MARTIN WEARS A MASK IN STARBUCKS

Come è bella c’è la luna brilla e strette

Hear that? It’s one of those silly stupid songs
They make me sing because of some contract.
Forget about the avenue or via or street or strada
If you see lovers disappearing two by two
Check yourself into a hospital. Get tested.

A girl on my arm I wish I knew?
Not likely. Studio fat cats tell me to keep my distance.
Every night I haunt the same empty streets.
I carry tunes bigger than my Aqua Velva charm.
I shoot the breeze. I steel my nerve. I keep my cool.
I check my watch. I gotta get a tattoo.

Strette como è tutta bella a passeggiare

It makes no difference if the shoe fits.
Hollywood. Las Vegas. Rome. You name it.
I never make it out of Steubenville.
I sell bootleg liquor to drunks and dreamers.
Deal blackjack at rigged tables.
Dance in the ring and take it on the chin.
Six feet apart today. Six feet under tomorrow.

The word is out. But it makes no sense to me.
Clever rhymes I breathe are rolled into sheet music
And burn like cigarettes I inhale in my sleep.
I can tell. I’m grinning. I’m singing. I’m wringing
The Little Monkey’s neck on the Colgate Comedy Hour.
I pull back. I curl my lip. I pop a cap in my dreams.
I face whatever face is left to see.

Sotto il cielo di Roma

Look around. There’s nobody left for me to croon.
There’s no one in the plaza near anyone’s casa.
It’s true. I am only one and one is less than you.
But I don’t know what the Romans do.
I don’t know what the country’s coming to.
I don’t even know why I’m standing in this fucking line.

Would I like an espresso? Yeah. I guess so.

 

SELTZER IN PLACE

And another thing:
I can’t stand my own cooking
But I don’t miss eating out either
Before this crisis happened
Over thirty million people
Ate out every night
And all of them were at the restaurant
When I got there

And another thing:
Now that the schools have closed
Kids are driving their parents crazy
When my nephews were young
My sister joined the PTA
She volunteered for everything
She spent so much time going to meetings
Her kids became attorneys and sued her

And another thing:
I don’t mind being cooped up with family
But I’d like to quarantine my brother-in-law in cement
Six years ago he dropped in for dinner
And he hasn’t left my kitchen since
He inhales food so much
He wears a bib for a mask
I’ve seen people eat with their hands before
But not soup

And another thing:
You can never be too careful
My uncle caught the virus just standing in line
He was waiting to get into Walmart
When some guy ran out shouting
“Is there a Republican out here?”
My uncle stepped forward and said
“I’m a Republican.”
And the man rushed over and said
“Let me shake your hand!”


0-19PAUL FERICANO is a poet, satirist, social activist and editor/publisher of Yossarian Universal News Service, a parody news syndicate (yunews.com). His book, Things That Go Trump in the Night: Poems of Treason and Resistance (Poems-For-All Press, 2019), was awarded the 2020 Bulitzer Prize.

 

Link to Table of Contents.